Goldman Thibodeaux is nominated for the Folklife Heritage Award for his untiring dedication to maintaining and promoting traditional Creole music, often referred to as “LaLa music.” Having grown up in the Opelousas/Lawtell area, Goldman has a vivid memory of when Amédé Ardoin played at a house dance in the area. He was thrilled to carry the accordion for the musician and watched every minute of the performance. That triggered an urge to play.
He first began playing with his brother-in-law’s band at age 14. He did that for about 20 years. From 1966 to 1994, he played with the Lawtell Playboys along with Eraste Carriere, Calvin Carriere, and BeBe Carriere. Just before Calvin died, he asked Goldman to continue the Lawtell Playboys, the name they used when they began the group in 1946.
Thibodeaux has received the Creole People’s Award from the Creole Heritage Center, was a 2007 Grammy Nominee, and was recognized by Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu, the LA House of Representatives, and the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana for his dedication to music and the Creole language. He has played regularly for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Vermilionville, the Natchitoches-NSU Folk Festival, and the Southwest Louisiana Zydeco Festival. He has also performed in Minnesota and Iowa. Thibodeaux has also taught about the music tradition. He has worked with Guyland Ledet, taught at the Creole Heritage Folklife Center in Opelousas, and taught at the Dewey Balfa Cajun and Creole Heritage Week. Thibodeaux has also taught at the Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins, West Virginia.
He has been called the only person who continues to play true LaLa music. He has recorded three CDs. Thibodeaux himself sums it up best:
“I play old-time LaLa Creole dance music. I can play older Zydeco . . . but I prefer the LaLa music. I’ve written 30-35 songs, mostly waltzes and two-steps.
I’m willing to help anyone who wants to learn to play the accordion, learn about LaLa music, and learn the Creole language. I think anyone who plays Creole music should be able to sing in Creole and know what the words mean. That way it comes from the heart, just the way I play.
I love playing music. Sometimes when I play, I can picture the brother-in-law who got me started. I think about all the old people who used to play LaLa music, and I still feel connected to them. I want to play as long as my health allows and try to make sure that LaLa music continues for future generations since it is true Creole Music.”
The Creole Heritage Center nominated Mr. Goldman Thibodeaux for the Folklife Heritage Award for his untiring dedication to maintaining and promoting traditional Creole music, often referred to as “LaLa music.” He has played regularly for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the Natchitoches-NSU Folk Festival, and for the Cane River Creole National Historical Park. Ms. Loletta Wynder from the Creole Heritage Center attended the event.
The Folklife Heritage Award recognizes an individual or organization that has helped create, maintain or promote Louisiana’s diverse cultural traditions or made significant contributions to the state’s folklife heritage as a tradition bearer, scholar or activist. The Office of the Lt. Governor and the Office of Cultural Development, in partnership with the Louisiana State Arts Council, the Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation, the Louisiana Archaeological Survey and Antiquities Commission, the Louisiana Folklife Commission and the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana, are sponsoring the annual Louisiana Culture Awards on Tuesday, April 22, 2014. The purpose of this awards program is to recognize individuals and organizations making outstanding contributions to Louisiana’s culture.