Accordion Dreams: A Journey into Cajun and Creole Music is author Blair Kilpatrick's memoir of her life-changing passion for Louisiana French music - and her unlikely obsession with the accordion.
author bio
the book
news and reviews
Blair's schedule
lagniappe (extras)
Blair's blog

News & Reviews

"Accordion Dreams is for anyone who has ever fallen under the spell of a place and people (and) experienced the thrill of obsession. By the conclusion of this warm and winning memoir, the reader is likely to agree with Kilpatrick's eldest son, Alec. 'Lucky thing Dad didn't take you to Milwaukee,' he told her, years later. 'You might be playing polkas.' "

--Susan Larson, New Orleans Times-Picayune

"She describes her foray into Cajun music in a delightful, lyrical style...The book resonates with the joy that Cajun music brings to its audience. I always tell visitors that it's impossible not to smile while dancing to an upbeat two-step (although a waltz might tear your heart out), and Kilpatrick understands this passion wholeheartedly. Reading her memoir makes one wonder if she had passed a good time in another life."

--Cheré Coen, Lafayette (LA) Daily Advertiser

"Kilpatrick’s well-written memoir gushes over local culture like a school girl experiencing her first crush. But her story is also very honest and intimate, touching on race relations, religion and those never-ending voices in the heads of artists... Accordion Dreams is a great read, even if local music is noisy and embarrasses you. For Kilpatrick and friends, the music is a dream and journey that never ends."

--Herman Fuselier, The Times of Acadiana

"... a beautifully written personal account...Anyone interested in Louisiana French music will especially enjoy this narrative, but, beyond that, Blair Kilpatrick’s account of the way her life was transformed pursuing her dream should appeal to all readers."

-- David Simpson, Contemporary Cajun, Creole & Zydeco Musicians

"Kilpatrick's not so concerned with technique and hardware, like most guys with their guitars. To her, both music and the accordion are social instruments. Through her struggles and triumphs in music, she learns an appreciation for the history and people who play Cajun and zydeco music, and details both for her readers. And being a psychotherapist, she also explores both her anxiety at taking up music at a late age and her eventual blossoming into a relatively confident bandleader."

--Jeffery R. Lindholm, Dirty Linen Magazine

“A lyrical, deeply felt, and beautifully rendered memoir of a mid-life love affair with Cajun music that ultimately transforms a psychologist’s life, while enriching those of its readers.”

—Doreen Orion, best-selling author of Queen of the Road

“Kilpatrick’s passion for Cajun and Creole music and culture, and her efforts to nurture it in places like Chicago and Berkeley, make me realize how much I take for granted living in south Louisiana. Her book is a great compliment to the Cajun and Creole people, and it provides a rare glimpse into the lives of those who play Cajun and Creole music even while residing far from the music’s semitropical homeland.”

—Shane K. Bernard, author of Swamp Pop: Cajun and Creole Rhythm and Blues and The Cajuns: Americanization of a People

“...makes an important contribution to Louisiana Cajun and zydeco music and culture. (...) Accordion Dreams will resonate with anyone who has ever taken on the task of getting past their fears in order to learn a new skill, especially later in life. It is a detailed guidebook for those who have been standing on the edge of the dance floor waiting for a solid partner to lead them through the Cajun Two Step and into the culture. She deftly reveals the history of the music and its lineage of musicians (...). Connoisseurs of folk music all over the world should have this book in their libraries.”

—Anne Galjour, author of Hurricane, Creative Writing Department at San Francisco State University.

BOOK TOUR NEWS: The first book launch event for Accordion Dreams was at Booksmith, an independent bookstore in San Francisco, on January 23. That began a month long local tour: four more bookstores, along with a wonderful book release/Sauce Piquante show at Ashkenaz, Berkeley's famed world music club. Now it's on to points south! I'll be going to Dallas for the National Accordion Association annual convention the weekend of March 13-16. Then, in April, I'll be spending ten days in the place where it all began: Louisiana. So far, I have lined up a couple of bookstore events in New Orleans and Lafayette, a radio show, and a performance at LSU-Eunice. For details, see the calendar page. I'll also be blogging about my travels.

BUY THE BOOK: In the San Francisco Bay Area, Accordion Dreams can be found at Mrs. Dalloways, University Press Books, Clayton Books, Booksmith, Down Home Music, and other fine stores. If your local bookstore doesn't have it on the shelves, they will be happy to order you a copy. It's also available directly from the University Press of Mississippi, and from all the major online sellers.