Lost Bayou Ramblers Releasing Original Score To Film Doc Premiering On PBS 1/14
This coming Monday January 14, 10:00-11:00PM EST will see the television premier of RODENTS OF UNUSUAL SIZE - the documentary by award winning film-making team Chris Metzler and Jeff Springer (Plagues and Pleasures of the Salton Sea and Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone) and co-director Quinn Costello on PBS' Independent Lens series (check local listings: https://www.pbs.org/tv_schedules/). RODENTS OF UNUSUAL SIZE will be streaming at the Independent Lens website starting January 15 at http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/films/rodents-of-unusual-size/.
The film features a musical score performed by perversely progressive Grammy-winning Cajun traditionalists Lost Bayou Ramblers, composed and produced by singer/fiddler Louis Michot who founded the group with his brother Andre in 1999. Rodents of Unusual Size (Music from the Motion Picture) is being released by the Lost Bayou Ramblers March 29 and will be available via Bandcamp on CD, and all major streaming and paid download sites.
All the music that appears in the film was created especially for it with Michot composing 22 pieces, 21 new originals, primarily instrumentals, while a "Cajun Bounce" track was written by Bryan Webre. All selections were performed by the Lost Bayou Ramblers, and the score was engineered by Kirkland Middleton at WixMix productions in New Orleans, with additional engineering by Mark Bingham at Nina Highway in Henderson, and by Tony Daigle at Electric Comoland in Lafayette, Louisiana.
"As we began to consider potential musical collaborators for the film, Lost Bayou Ramblers was always at the top of the list given their reputation for pushing boundaries," say the filmmakers. "In telling a story about Louisiana we wanted the score to reflect the tradition and culture of the place, but also create its own unique soundscape as befitting a story about the invasion of these mysterious giant rodents. We went in with the desire to really experiment and create music with a distinct sound that matched the offbeat style of the film. The result was a unique soundtrack that was distinctly Cajun, but otherworldly."
"Composing the music for the film was a very natural process," Michot explains, "as the stories of the characters and their environment is vocalizing much of the same stories we tell through our music in Lost Bayou Ramblers. The nutria can almost be seen as a metaphor for oil industry's devastating effects on our coast line. The industry disrupted the balance that kept our marshes healthy and protected the coast from hurricanes and saltwater intrusion; the nutrias hastened the decline. This is now the fastest disappearing landmass on earth. The documentary's story is near and dear to me, and we try to convey the message through our music, of a beautiful state full of natural abundance which has supported Louisianans' way of life for centuries, disintegrating daily."
RODENTS OF UNUSUAL SIZE proved a film festival favorite throughout 2019 and won over 15 awards while screening on the festival circuit.
Produced by Tilapia Film the documentary takes us up-close into a large region south of New Orleans that survived hurricane Katrina and is now facing its latest threat-hordes of monstrous 20 pound rodents known as the nutria. Louisiana's coastal wetlands are one of the largest disappearing landmasses in the world and the voracious appetite of this curious and unexpected invasive species from South America is greatly accelerating coastal erosion, which in turn makes the area even more vulnerable to hurricanes. As the coastline disappears, the hunters and trappers, fishermen and shrimpers, storytellers and musicians that makes Louisiana a country unto itself are leaving en masse. Nonetheless, a stalwart few remain and are fighting back.
Through the offbeat and unexpected stories of the people confronting the nutria problem, the film confronts issues surrounding coastal erosion, the devastation following hurricanes, loss of culture and homeland, and the resilience of the human spirit.
Lost Bayou Ramblers' most recent album release is Kalenda which was nominated for Best Regional Roots Music Album in the upcoming Grammy Awards. Kalenda celebrates the complex history and cultural diversity of "Kalenda" - a Carribean dance, a Louisiana rhythm, a Cajun rock'n'roll song, and eventually a woman's name - that crossed both the black-white and Creole-Cajun divides in so many forms. The Ramblers channel those suggestive rhythms associated with the dance as producer Korey Richey (of LCD Soundsystem) masterfully incorporated new hues from his sonic palate into their arrangements. In both this release and their musical score for RODENTS OF UNUSUAL SIZE, the band stands at the crosscurrents of Louisiana culture by inhabiting the gray areas between Cajun and Creole as well as tradition and innovation.