A couple of weeks ago, I jumped on a bike left behind by my friend Rick Krumwiede, who grew tired of hauling his (and Becky’s, too) to Lafayette at another friend’s home before they returned to Wisconsin for the summer after six weeks winterizing in balmy Louisiana.
They’ll be back for Festivals Acadiens, but in the meantime, I try to get some pedal pushing time in when I can, and, like I did a couple of weeks ago.
It was on that fateful Friday evening from the seat of the bike I noticed Tante Marie’s had Sam Broussard and Chynna Huval entertaining in the window of the restaurant turn dance hall (on the weekends).
Sam, guitarist with Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys, is a solid singer/songwriter in his own right. You ought to check out his “Servant of the People,” it almost makes you feel for politicians.
I’ve heard about Chynna’s voice and once saw a video of her singing. What a voice, then again, one shouldn’t be surprised once one becomes aware of her pedigree. But I hadn’t heard her sing in person and here was my opportunity.
In a word: Wow.
At 20 years old, Chynna has been singing her whole life, or, as she put it, “As long as I can remember.”
No surprise, music runs in her family.
“My family plays a big part,” said Chynna. “It was amazing to be raised here. I grew up with all these different musicians and all the different types of music that they all do.
“It was amazing,” she said.
Her mother is Callie Guidry, who’s on drums and vocals with Sweet Cecilia, that trio of women whose harmonies are magic. There’s also her cousins and the late Al Berard’s daughters; Laura Huval (vocals, mandolin, guitar) and Maegan Berard Rankin (vocals, bass and guitars).
So, it came as no surprise that she doesn’t have a fave genre.
“I really love everything,” said Chynna, noting that the set list with Broussard speaks to that. “We have a little bit of everything.”
But if she had to narrow it down, she prefers something “maybe between country and Cajun?” she volunteered. “That’s like the best way I can describe it.”
Chynna and Sam have played together for about four months. She also teams up with her mom sometimes, and then Sam will occasionally sit in, making it a trio.
“He inspires me a lot and he knows so much,” said Chynna. “I’m just excited to just be able to take in all he knows - all the knowledge that he can give me.”
I caught up with Sam, via phone, in Atlanta on his way to Congrès mondial acadien 2019 in New Brunswick.
He has a gig with Zachary Richard, Barry Ancelet and Melissa Bonin at a poetry reading commemorating the gathering.
“I’ll be providing some improvisational atmosphere,” Sam said. “And Barry and I are probably going to a couple of songs.”
Those songs will be off of the 2017 Grammy-nominated “Broken Promised Land” in the Best Regional Roots Music Album.
BTW, other locals are up there, too, including Jourdan Thibodeaux et les Rodailleurs, Savoy Family Band, Roddie Romero, Wayne Toups, Waylon Thibodeaux, and Cajun Country Revival, as well as a bunch of Canadian bands that have graced the stages at Festival International de Louisiana at one time or another.
Anyway, I asked Sam about working with Chynna.
“We seem to perform at the same level,” said Sam. “I don’t feel like I’m pulling her behind me. And I don’t feel like I’m behind her singing talent. It just feels perfectly matched.
“She’s the kind of singer I like working with,” he said. “Extremely proficient and soulful and prepared. And easy to be with; a very easy going personality.”
I can speak to Chynna’s personality. She’s always been kind and patient with customers at the grocery store where she works. She’s driven, too, as she also attends South Louisiana Community College working toward an associate business degree.
But music is in her heart, with songwriting a growing part of it. Chynna attended Brazos Huval of Music in Breaux Bridge where she had the opportunity to co-write with other students.
“I’ll just write and maybe try to write with other people. That’s something I’ve been interested in,” said Chynna. “I’m looking to start doing stuff with people my own age and co-writing is something I’m interested in doing in the future.
“Co-writing and solo writing,” she continued, adding that she mostly writes lyrics more than music.
“Music has always been my thing,” said Chynna, who sings along with the songs. “Even when I’m just alone, all I want to do is listen to music, listen to music. That’s my biggest inspiration.”
Acadiana Business Today: Market Eatz restaurant to open in E Broussard Road shopping center; PHI Inc. reports $32 million loss
A new fast-casual restaurant that specializes in burgers, bowls, cocktails, tacos and more will be opening in the McLain MarketPlace at 819 E.…
Louisiana will enter into a complex agreement that could lead to the widespread privatization of energy systems at state agencies and universi…
Touchstone ABA, which offers applied behavior analysis therapy to children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder, is moving to 812 E. St. M…
Brent Hebert has been named chief administrative officer for Dupré Logistics, the company announced this week.
A couple of weeks ago, I jumped on a bike left behind by my friend Rick Krumwiede, who grew tired of hauling his (and Becky’s, too) to Lafayet…