Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys have always been a much-loved part of Rhythm and Roots festival, and this year is no exception. Because of constraints the Covid pandemic has put on some of the Mamou Playboys’ touring ability, however, this year we are welcoming a slightly different, all acoustic version of the group— The Mamou Playboys Quartet, making their first appearance at Rhythm and Roots. The band consists of Steve Riley on accordion, fiddle, and guitar, Sam Broussard on guitar, David Greely on fiddle, and 12 year old Burke Riley on accordion and guitar.
GRAMMY award winning Steve Riley co-founded the Mamou Playboys over 30 years ago. A widely acknowledged master of the Cajun accordion, he has combined searing, emotional vocals, highly creative songwriting, soulful fiddling and onstage front man charisma to help propel the Mamou Playboys into the world music limelight, where he and the band have garnered 4 Grammy nominations and myriad other awards and accolades. Steve is also a founding member of the bands Lil Band o’ Gold, High Performance, the Racines and the Band Courtbouillon. Additionally, Steve has recorded and performed with the likes of Eric Clapton, Robert Plant, Elvis Costello, Willie Nelson and Paul Simon. In 2016 he formed the Steve Riley After School Music Program, a Cajun/Creole music instructional program for grade school and high school kids.
David Greely manifests the musical traditions and rich culture of his Louisiana home in his masterful fiddle playing and soulful vocals, taking the swampy syncopations of Cajun music and its renaissance French dialect to new levels of sophistication. Growing up, David learned Cajun music on dance hall stages throughout South Louisiana, in the archives of Cajun and Creole music at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, and from his apprenticeship to Cajun fiddle master and National Heritage Fellow Dewey Balfa. As a founding member of The Mamou Playboys, David was nominated for 4 Grammy Awards. He has received the Louisiana Artist Fellowship Award for Folklife Performance, and is an adjunct instructor of Cajun fiddle at the University of Louisiana.
Sam Broussard generates a cyclone of guitar that carries the music of his ancestry farther than it’s ever gone, and garners the lion’s share of spontaneous applause for his soloing skills. Add to that his songwriting, arranging and tenor singing, and the result is a feast of creativity that can motivate a packed dance hall or a concert audience.
As the talented son of Steve Riley, 12 year old Burke Riley began his musical journey at a very early age! He started pounding the drums at a mere 1 year of age and by 3, Burke was already drumming onstage with the band Courtbouillon and the Mamou Playboys, his natural talent undeniable even at such an early age. At 5 he transferred his rhythm skills to acoustic guitar, and at 6 picked up the accordion, regularly sitting in with the Mamou Playboys and High Performance, and placing first place in his age category at the CFMA & Rice Festival accordion contests. He has continued to sit in with his father’s bands over the years, and he has been playing online concerts regularly with the Riley Family Band. He’s one of the new musical generation, quickly taking his place among the greats among whom he was raised.