This article originally appeared in The Southern Illinoisan.
PINCKNEYVILLE — Illinois Humanities Council Road Scholars Bureau the Foundation for Pinckneyville are pleased to announce that acclaimed musician and historian Dennis Stroughmatt is coming to Pinckneyville. He will be performing “In Fiddle Music and Tall Tales: French Creole Culture in the Illinois Country of Upper Louisiana,” his acclaimed musical history of Illinois Creoles.
The performance will be at 2 p.m. June 8 at Methodist Church at 215 W. South St. in Pinckneyville.
Dennis Stroughmatt was born and raised in southeastern Illinois. Stroughmatt is an authority on French Creole music and the culture of “Upper Louisiana,” aka Illinois and Missouri. First introduced to local French history as a teenager in Indiana, Dennis later moved to southeast Missouri and spent over three years studying and learning to speak Illinois French Creole, to play the fiddle, and to sing many of the traditional songs that have permeated the region for over three hundred years.
He would also go on to live, work, and play music in the “Cajun country” of Louisiana and study in Quebec, thus completing the circle of French culture in North America.
The first European culture to establish roots in Illinois, French Creoles along the Illinois, Wabash, and Mississippi Rivers would in many places be supplanted by later Anglo and German American settlers.
Instrumental in winning Illinois for the U.S. during the American Revolution and important to the success of the Lewis and Clark expedition, Illinois Creoles have a strong cultural history that opens a door to their effect in the Midwest.
“In Fiddle Music and Tall Tales” will explore what brought the French here, their fiddle music, a few of their exploits, and their lasting influence on the Illinois Country.
This event is free and open to the public. For more information about this event please call the Foundation for Pinckneyville at 618-571-1171.