Inducted on September 05, 2015
For many years, Ray Landry has been a major force in efforts to promote Cajun music and culture. A musician who performed and recorded with Nonc Allie Young’s Basile Cajun Band, he has been a longstanding leader in the Cajun French Music Association, serving terms as president and vice-president of the Lafayette chapter, as well as being a national board representative. For three years he directed the Le Cajun Music Festival in Lafayette, LA, and has served as president and vice-president of the Bayou Vermilion District commission, the parent commission of Vermilionville Living History Museum and Folklife Park, a premier facility that preserves and represents the cultural resources of the Acadian, Native American, and Creole cultures.
Landry currently hosts a musical jam session at Vermilionville each Saturday and is one of the hosts of Rendez-Vous Des Cajuns, a weekly live music show at the Liberty Theater in Eunice, LA, which features both Cajun and Zydeco music in the Grand Old Opry/Louisiana Hayride format. He also emcees the Jennings Squeezebox Shootout Accordion Contest held every year during Mardi Gras at the Strand Theater in Jennings, LA.
For many years, Landry played accordion and vocals with the Basile Cajun Band. In 1999, the band released their first CD on the Swallow record label, subtitled La musique que viens du Beaubassin, which was a reference to the place where the music ultimately came from: the locale in Canada where the Acadian odyssey began in the mid-18th century. The album was nominated by the CFMA in 2000 as Best First Recording of the Year, and Landry received a nomination as Best Male Vocalist of the Year.
In 2008, Landry invited friends and fellow musicians to perform with him on a CD that entitled Mes raciness cadien sont creaux (My Cajun Roots Are Deep), from a song written by Helen Boudreaux and sung by Landry. The CD won Male Vocalist of the Year, Female Vocalist of the Year, and Song of the Year. In the title cut, he sings about playing the accordion like his grandfather and learning French from his mother and grandmother, who could not speak English. On this CD, he decided to include some of the friends he has performed with over the years, including Sheryl Cormier, Al Berard, Feren Serrett, Blake Miller, Mitch Reed, Terry Huval, and Junior Martin.
Landry’s latest work is a compilation CD released by the National Park Service in 2013, From One Generation to the Next: A Legacy Preserved, a mixture of older and younger musicians that aims to capture the innocence of yesterday sprinkled with the influence of today. Both songs by Landry on this CD (Eunice Two Step and Valse du Vacher) include Sheryl Cormier, known as “the Queen” of the Cajun accordion.
Landry, a veteran of the area's Cajun music scene, often says, "playing Cajun music, singing the songs and jamming with good friends can be described as my heaven on earth."