64 Parishes

Irván and Alvin Pérez Perform a Décima on Rendez-Vous des Cajuns

A clip from a 1987 broadcast of the variety show Rendez-Vous des Cajuns with host Barry Jean Ancelet and guests Irván and Alvin Pérez

Published: August 26, 2020
Last Updated: August 26, 2020

Perezes, Fernandezes, and other Louisiana families with Spanish last names often trace their roots back to the Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago off the North African coast. Notable as an early colonial conquest and an important waystation in the Spanish Empire, the Canary Islands provided many of the settlers who migrated to Louisiana during its time as a Spanish possession from 1762 to 1801. The Canary Islanders, or Isleños, followed the familiar pattern of balancing assimilation with cultural preservation, with many Isleños shifting away from using Spanish but retaining musical, culinary, and folkloric traditions. One of the most lasting of these traditions is the décima, a genre of satirical song making use of ten-line stanzas and complicated rhyme schemes. Here, brothers Irván and Alvin Pérez appear at the Liberty Theatre on the long-running variety show Rendez-Vous des Cajuns to introduce and perform a décima. Décimas are among the many cultural treasures preserved and celebrated at the Los Isleños Museum and Village cultural center in St. Bernard Parish.