A Musical Staple In The Gulf Coast Region
A musician for over 40 years Major Handy was born and raised as the oldest of seven children in St. Martinville, Louisiana, the parish seat of St. Martin Parish and right on the Bayou Teche. It's a rural town about 15 miles southeast of Lafayette and is generally considered the heart of the Creole and Cajun melting pot that makes this specific sub-region unique to anywhere else in the world. It's from right here that so much of the culture - the food, music, swamp life - that people associate with Louisiana comes. Like with many people from St. Martinville, Handy's heritage is Creole.
Handy's earliest musical inspiration came from his father, who had an old accordion that he toyed with as nothing more than a pastime, and some cousins who were "fooling around" with music. "I saw that, and I wanted to take it and be better," Handy says. "The first thing I picked up was a guitar. And I took it from there." His first professional gig came on bass in a cousin's band. From there it was back to guitar and eventually accordion as a bandleader. In between, he played in the bands of Rockin' Dopsie for many years as well as in the very first incarnation of Buckwheat Zydeco just after Buckwheat had left Clifton Chenier.Over his 40 years in music Major Handy has toured much of the world and a number of his own bands, including seven years working as a bandleader in northern Canada.