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Most strands of American music have an iconic instrument. Horns for jazz, banjos for bluegrass, and electric guitars for rock and roll.

But few are as essential and unmistakable as the diatonic accordion and its role in the music of south Louisiana. And few know the instrument as intimately as world-renowned accordion player, builder, and author, Marc Savoy.

Upon seeing a Louisiana-handmade diatonic accordion for the first time in 1957, a teenage Marc Savoy began his life quest: to build the perfect Cajun accordion.

For Savoy, the story of his favorite instrument – and longtime livelihood – was one that deserved to be told, and so he has.

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press will release Savoy’s new book, Made in Louisiana: The Story of the Acadian Accordion on Nov. 15.

Told in Savoy’s own words, Made in Louisiana is the story of the evolution of his Acadian brand accordions – from being a young prodigy to a self-made businessman to a music store owner to a definitive figure in Cajun music – but it is also the story of how an instrument once known as the “German-style” accordion became the iconic image of Louisiana’s Cajun culture.

“Marc Savoy, in his own inimitable way as a crusty, creative perfectionist, has given us a book that is at once a history of the accordion globally as well as in French Louisiana in his and his ancestors’ lives,” said Nick Spitzer, a professor of anthropology at Tulane University and producer of American Routes, a nationally syndicated radio show.

“A master accordion-maker and Cajun music virtuoso, Savoy engages the complex evolution in Cajun culture from a lived point of view – family, touring, and running a small, but influential business from Eunice, Louisiana. He forcefully asserts that Cajun and Creole music is the ‘glue’ that will hold French Louisiana culture and communities together into the future. The Savoy family of musicians, producers, writers, and educators are living proof.”

Born in 1940, Savoy grew up in a rural French-speaking community outside Eunice. He started playing the accordion at age 12.

By 20, he was building and selling his own Acadian-brand Cajun accordions. In 1966, he opened the doors to the iconic Savoy Music Center in his hometown.

Today, he is considered one of the finest builders and players of the instrument in the world.

To date, UL Press has produced over 300 titles pertaining to all facets of Louisiana’s history, culture, art, society, politics, religion, ethnicities, and environment. It also welcomes works of fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction.

To pre-order Made in Louisiana or explore other UL Press titles, visit ulpress.org.

Photo caption: The University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press will release Marc Savoy’s Made in Louisiana: The Story of the Acadian Accordion on Nov. 15. (Photo courtesy of UL Press)

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