Lafayette filmmaker Stephen Meaux’s latest series of documentary shorts, “Le Voisinage,” explores the rich, eclectic variety of music that springs from South Louisiana — from traditional and neo-traditional Cajun to folk, blues, rock and more. French for “The Neighborhood,” “Le Voisinage” was filmed over several months beginning in 2014.
Eight local bands are the focus of the series: Cathead Biscuit Boys, Feufollet, Makers Reel, Pine Leaf Boys, Revelers, Sassafras Jubilee, T’Monde and The Amazing Nuns.
“The videos are small documentaries of each band,” explains Meaux. “You find out who the band is; their style, influences, how they came together, and you can watch them perform a few songs. Each video ends with a band performing one song filmed in one take.”
The Kaplan native, who graduated from UL’s Moving Image Arts film program in 2011, says he was inspired by other documentary films and series about music, in particular Dedans le Sud de la Louisiane and the French music series “A Take Away Show,” which is known for filming performances in a single take with a roving camera — a perspective Meaux masters in “Le Voisinage.”
“I knew I didn’t want to film each band performing live at one of their shows,” he says. “I like the idea of filming musicians performing in a variety of locations and not just on a stage somewhere — filming them with one camera and one continuous take.”
“Le Voisinage” is the third Meaux documentary series to debut on theind.com, following last year’s “Just Comme Ca,” which showcased aspects of Cajun culture, and “Dans Ma Cuisine,” which focused on everyday people cooking their favorite Cajun dishes in their own kitchens while discussing what’s simmering on the stove.
For eight Tuesdays beginning today, theind.com will post a film from “Le Voisinage” beginning with today’s featured band, Sassafras Jubilee from Lafayette.
[Full Disclosure: Independent Managing Editor Walter Pierce is a member of Sassafras Jubilee. Meaux chose the order in which the bands appear in the series.]