Jeanette Aguillard, Janet Aguillard, Lisa Aguillard and Donna
Thibodeaux were all raised in Acadian (Cajun) families in Southwest
Louisiana. When Jeanette was a little girl she lived near Welsh
where the legendary Cajun singer and accordionist Iry LeJeune lived
with her family (the family of Milton Vanicor). After Iry
married, he continued to live in Ardoin Cove near the Vanicor family.
Jeanette's father and several members of her family formed the group
"The Lacassine Playboys", the band which helped to launch the short
but memorable musical career of Iry LeJeune.
Janet's father, Cleadis Mott, played and recorded Cajun and
Country music and Janet's grandmother sang her old children's songs
which came from France. The father of Donna, Jessie Arabie,
played fiddle; her grandfather played the accordion and there were
numerous other musicians in the family. Any excuse was good to gather
the family together for a house dance. They would take the
kitchen table outside to make the kitchen into a dance floor.
Lisa is the daughter of Jeanette. The father
of Jeanette and the
grandfather of Lisa, Milton Vanicor, is one of the last links to the
renaissance of Cajun music after the Second World War. He often
gives fiddle classes to teach les old songs to young musicians who are
eager to learn this traditional music.
Lisa's uncle, Jimmy Aguillard, is a Cajun musician
who is a very
talented composer and singer of Cajun songs in French.
And, of course, during their youth the four Amies
heard Cajun music around them, in dances, at festivals and on the
radio. But the tradition was that girls did not sing Cajun
music. Les Amies met when they were part of a church choir.
When Les Amies began to sing together, they wanted to present the
unique music of their Acadian/Cajun heritage to a larger audience.
That presented certain problems because traditional Cajun music was
almost always sung by a man and the voices were rarely harmonized.