Friday, January 16, 2009

Lagniappe Band Members; Three To Get Ready

James “Chico” Converse grew up in Lake Forest, Illinois, which is about 35 miles north of Chicago. He graduated from Lake Forest College with a B.A. in French. While in college Chico began playing "folk" fiddle. He lived in Louisiana, residing for 10 years in Franklin and Lafayette.

While there he learned to play Cajun music with the band File'. Cajun music is an integral part of the culture of Southwest LA. He now lives in Cincinnati, and teaches at AMIS, which is a magnet Cincinnati Public Schools foreign language academy. He is a founding member of Lagniappe.

Chris Carmichael, a Cincinnati native, plays trumpet and guitar in a variety of musical styles including jazz and Cajun. Chris and Chico began playing with Lagniappe in 1992. His original songs include “Bobby”, a song about Bob Marley and “Trans Siberian Express.” Chris is a cyclist who rides for transportation and recreation. He graduated from Miami University with a BA in English.
**Guitar picture from World Fair Trade day courtesy of Matt. Trumpet picture from Rabbit Hash General Store is courtesy of Michael Garrity.**

Yvan Verbesselt was born in Brussels, Belgium and came to the U.S in 1977 to teach French, in Louisiana. He started with percussion instruments around 1978, mainly spoons and refined his spoon skills with a French blues/rock/folk guitarist. Gradually adding, the 'ti fer (cajun triangle), frottoir (zydeco washboard), bongos, congas, his skills.

Between 1982 and 1987, he had the opportunity to sit in with a variety of cajun musicians while in Louisiana: the Clement Brothers (composers of “Diggy Liggy Lo”) accordionists Larry Miller & Donald Fontenot, and drummer Lesa Cormier.

He moved to Cincinnati in 1989 to teach French for the Cincinnati Public Schools, where he ran into Chico, whom he had met in Louisiana. Yvan hired Lagniappe to play for a Mardi-Gras event at his school, and sat in with them. In the fall of 1992, Yvan joined the band as percussionist and drummer.

**Please note, the other three band members bios, Dick Franz, John Mooter and Jessie Berne will be posted in a few days.


Joan said...

What a band! We love Chico!

Anonymous said...

i was a former student of chicos.... and now im a bassist.... some of your old students are coming to find you..... and jaques (sp)

Sophia said...


WOW. this is an old post (17 months old) but nice to see a former student of Chico's stopping by. Thanks for the comment.