Listening to live music is a collective experience, and so musicians have been especially hard hit by the pandemic, depending as they do on live, in-person audiences. RILEY: The response at the beginning was just incredible. "I think it's in our blood to endure whatever falls upon us.". And then, as this has developed, because it's so uncertain, our entire next year is already devoid of any kind of gigs other than virtual festivals and online things. JOHN BURNETT, BYLINE: They still gather on Saturday mornings at Marc Savoy's music store in the town of Eunice, amid the rice fields and crawfish farms in what's called Cajun prairie country. Joel Savoy says he's been reluctantly selling off instruments and amplifiers for living expenses. He and their boys, Burke, 11, and Dolsy, 8, are protective of her so they limit their exposure to people. And this is something that we're enduring. COREY LEDET AND HIS ZYDECO BAND: (Singing in French). Here they are playing "The Waltz Of Sorrow" at a 2011 NPR Tiny Desk concert. It's played at dance halls on the weekends. BURNETT: Music, like seafood and family, are the nuclei of Cajun culture. The Riley family has made the most of their time quarantined at home. But since the pandemic struck, the vast majority of the live music venues down here have fallen silent, just as they have all over the country. But that's what is happening. Meanwhile, the Mamou Playboys were one of the hardest working Cajun bands in the country. COREY LEDET: But I'm not sure how long I can hold out. I mean, we are a people who like to be together. And hundreds of musicians who play Cajun and it's bluesy Black cousin, zydeco, are hurting. And the Mamou Playboys were one of the most popular Cajun bands in the country. Flannery Denny (left) and Joel Savoy play fiddle outside the Savoy Music Center. M SAVOY: Cajun people have had to endure lots. Coronavirus has squeezed the Riley family. But that's what's happening. We hope you can hear us. But since the pandemic struck, the vast majority of live music venues in Cajun country have fallen silent — just as they have all over the nation. He has been reluctantly selling off instruments and amplifiers to pay for living expenses. "This music that we play is played at weddings, at funerals, at dance halls on the weekends. Today, Steve Riley, the Playboys' 51-year old leader, seldom leaves his house. The Best of Cajun Country is a fair collection of cajun, zydeco, and country tracks, containing a couple of classics but in no way providing a definitive retrospective or introduction to the genre. ", Joel Savoy says virtual festivals and streamed performances that depend on tickets and tips pay a fraction of what a real show pays. We hope you can hear us. To take a day job is a capitulation, of sorts. BURNETT: Now he's considering driving a truck like his musician friends are doing. BURNETT: The jam sessions are diminished these days since four aged musicians - two fiddlers, a guitarist and a harmonica player - succumbed to COVID. We're about to start, but this is my first live Zoom concert ever. And I miss seeing those couples waltzing, jitterbugging around the dance floor. To take a normal job is a capitulation of sorts. It's not going away. Thanks for being here with us," Savoy says to his laptop, tuning his fiddle. It's a beautiful thing that you can't see anywhere else. It's a beautiful thing that you can't see anywhere else. Thanks for being here with us," Savoy says to his laptop, tuning his fiddle. STEVE RILEY: This music that we play is played at weddings. I can only hold out for so long. BURNETT: Cajun music comes from the Acadians, who were brutally expelled by the British from Canada more than 250 years ago. "The response at the beginning was just incredible," he says. "I can only hold out for so long," he says. It's a beautiful thing that you can't see anywhere else. BURNETT: Before the pandemic, Ledet was playing all over Louisiana and at blues festivals in Europe. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org. BURNETT: Virtual festivals and streamed performances pay a fraction of what a real show pays. where he makes his legendary Acadian accordions, Joel Savoy's musical partner, fiddler Kelli Jones. Her friend, Corey Ledet, a 39-year-old accordion player from St. Martin Parish, was leading a popular zydeco band. The Riley family has made the most of their time quarantined at home. Joel Savoy, Marc's 40-year-old son and an accomplished fiddle player and producer, says festivals are the mainstay of Cajun musicians. But since the pandemic struck, the vast majority of live music venues in Cajun country have fallen silent — just as they have all over the nation. But, since the pandemic struck, the vast majority of live music venues in Cajun country have fallen silent—just as they have all over the nation. Musicians pull chairs into a circle, outside now because of the virus, to play the French Acadian ballads they learned from their grandparents. And I miss seeing those couples waltzing, jitterbugging around the dance floor. Listening to live music is a collective experience, and so musicians have been especially hard hit by the pandemic, depending as they do on live, in-person audiences. We're just getting sorted here. They were featured performers at a virtual Cajun & Creole music festival out of the New York City borough of Brooklyn, called Swamp in the City. BURNETT: Virtual festivals and streamed performances pay a fraction of what a real show pays. They play every Sunday afternoon on Facebook Live. STEVE RILEY AND THE MAMOU PLAYBOYS: (Singing in French). BURNETT: Today, the leader, Steve Riley, 51, seldom leaves his house. 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