Also included are explanatory notes about songs, anecdotes and quotations from many musicians. Greg Benusa sharing a quick overview of how Cajun and Zydeco music sounded from it's origins to what we hear today shared at a local event with … The rollicking dance music called zydeco is a quirky invention that could only have happened in Southwest Louisiana, where descendants of French and Creole-speaking African Americans (who today call themselves Creoles) merged their ancient songs with a rhythm and blues beat. The basic step in zydeco takes 8 beats and consists of two mirrored parts 4 beats each. Today, the contrasting musical schools of Chenier and Chavis remain evident. Musicians who play the piano accordion in Chenier’s style include his son, C.J. Origins of Zydeco and Cajun music. Her grandfather was the famous zydeco musician Wilfred Chevis and her parents met at a zydeco event. with the free (unweighted) foot or a little twist on the weighted foot. In the early 1950s, two musicians fused traditional Creole dance music with rhythm and blues instruments, resulting in the music that we recognize today as zydeco. This was due to the influences of American Blues music, the advent of commercial audio recording, and a bit later, the devel… After mastering the basic rhythm, one may replace simple weight transfers by very small steps to shuffle in place or just a little sideways or the couple may rotate in either direction, usually in the clockwise direction. Later, it became one of the five competition dance genres included in International Latin dancing. Big French Dance is a landmark collection of photographs that forever preserve the history of a people and their beloved music.” The roots of zydeco are found in Jure, “a form of hand-clapping and foot-stomping used by black field hands to pray and give thanks” (Handleman). In 1929, the Creole accordion player Amédé Ardoin and the Cajun fiddle player Dennis McGee made the first recordings of Louisiana Creole music. In the days of old, the Creole Community would gather at harvest time and work together to complete their tasks. "Zydeco in the Northeast has popularity primarily with older white folks who like to dance," said Roger LaMay, WXPN general manager and co-executive director of Zydeco Crossroads. Alexis Jolivette holding up a photograph of her grandfather, zydeco musician Wilfred Chevis. This is the most complete collection of the music and lyrics (in French with English translations) to Cajun songs available. Zydeco dance can be described as the opposite of swing or ballroom since the direction or feel of the dance is down, not up like swing or ballroom. Introduction. The follower usually mirrors the steps of the leader, however, in some figures the steps may be completely different, allowing for self-expression and improvisation. By the turn of the 20th century, however, the music began to become more secular. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Zydeco_(dance)&oldid=888297295, Articles lacking in-text citations from September 2017, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 18 March 2019, at 06:44. The Kingdom of Zydeco is richly anecdotal, as moving and intimate as the music, a fine front-porch history of zydeco from the blackjack dirt farms of Louisiana to the oil refineries of coastal Texas. The crossroads of Creole and Cajun musicians, Watch a rare video of Clifton Chenier performing “Bon Ton Roulet”, One last chance to dance: RSVP for a free concert with Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band, Revisit Zydeco Crossroads’ final weekend with audio and photos of Corey Ledet, Rosie Ledet and Wayne Singleton, Revisit Zydeco Crossroads’ final weekend with audio and photos of Keith Frank and Ruben Moreno, Listen to a new Koray Broussard song called “OH I”, Stream the Zydeco Crossroads finale on VuHaus. Copyright 2014 WXPN-FM / The Trustees of The University of Pennsylvania / All Rights Reserved. Finally, the lively zydeco music with its accented 2nd (and 6th) beats will force you to do something rather than simply "pause" on counts 2 and 6. It was not until the early 1980s when, encouraged by his family, he returned to the stage at Richard’s Club in Lawtell, Louisiana. (MJ Johnson) In Houston, zydeco is inescapable. A few modernists such as Geno Delafose, Andre Thierry and Nathan Williams, Jr. have mastered both styles, using whichever instrument best suits a song. No one could have predicted that such an idiosyncratic and regional style would flourish into the twenty first century, or that Louisiana’s Creoles would hold so tightly to their music, even as English became their dominant language and as their rural lifestyle slipped mostly into the past. When the work was finished, the people would celebrate and entertain themselves with a … Zydeco, Form of dance music from southwestern Louisiana, U.S., with roots in French, African American, and Afro-Caribbean styles. Chenier, Nathan Williams, Sr., Buckwheat Zydeco and Corey Ledet. The Kingdom of Zydeco is richly anecdotal, as moving and intimate as the music, a fine front-porch history of zydeco from the blackjack dirt farms of Louisiana to the oil refineries of coastal Texas. Lafayette: Thunderstone Press, 1990. Zydeco is a popular accordion-based musical genre - the blues and dance music of Louisiana Creoles, the French-speaking blacks of the prairies of south-central and southwest Louisiana. He began playing as a teenager, when he entertained patrons at his mother’s race track and dance hall in the Dog Hill area on the outskirts Lake Charles, developing a repertoire of tradition-based songs and nursery-rhyme-like originals. Zydeco music is now as much a part of the American musical landscape as bluegrass or Chicago blues, and, perhaps, just as likely to show up in a fast food commercial. Both Cajun music and the Creole music that evolved into Zydeco are the products of a combination of influences found only in … These actions are commonly known as "eat-a-beat". Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Similar to the music of the Cajuns (displaced French Canadians who settled in Louisiana), zydeco was created by the Creoles (those of African heritage in Louisianan French culture). In the 1950s, zydeco found its first stars in Boozoo Chavis with a first hit “Paper in My Shoe” and Clifton Chenier who recorded several hits as well, earning him the title "King of Zydeco" and a GRAMMY ® award in 1983. Chenier would often say “I’m a blues man,” for, in addition to Creole dance tunes, he played R&B hits and down-home blues numbers. Zydeco, Form of dance music from southwestern Louisiana, U.S., with roots in French, African American, and Afro-Caribbean styles. In contrast, Wilson “Boozoo” Chavis used the smaller diatonic accordion, a “blusier” and louder instrument that can be played in only a few musical keys. Zydeco as a dance style has its roots in a form of folk dance that corresponds to the heavily syncopated zydeco music, originated in the beginning of the 20th century among the Francophone Creole peoples of Acadiana (south-west Louisiana). In fact, the phrase les haricots sont pas sales, signifying poverty so dire that there was no salt meat to cook, appears in several of the Lomax recordings. Their melodies remain a touchstone both for Cajun and zydeco players, as the shared legacy of their intertwining cultures, but the driving rhythm of zydeco is not there. Legend has it that the word zydeco originated in the lyrics of Les Haricots Sont Pas Salés, a popular Cajun dance tune. For over 150 years, these cultures intermingled in the extremely isolated bayou and prairie areas of Southwest Louisiana, and from this mix came a style of music known as "French Music". The slow, quick quick pattern can be seen being taught on the Zydeco Dance Lesson YouTube link below. Contrary to popular belief, it is not Cajun in origin. $2000, Zydeco Dance Competition In 2003 Curley was ready to make the move and launch his own band - Curley Taylor & Zydeco Trouble. Cajun Instrumentation. History - Southwest Louisiana Zydeco Music Festival. Horseman and musician John Delafose became well known following the 1981 release of his first album, Zydeco Man, with liner notes by the young folklorist Nick Spitzer. Bands played house dances, and while the attendees seldom mixed races, the … Michael Tisserand, the author of The Kingdom of Zydeco, considered the definitive book on the history of Zydeco music, wrote, “In America, great migrations produce great music. My love for zydeco dancing inspired researching the history of zydeco music.. After mastering the basic rhythm, one may replace simple weight transfers by very small steps to shuffle in place or just a little sideways or the couple may rotate in either direction, usually in the clockwise direction. Cajun music grew out of French acoustic folk music brought to the region from French Canadians in the 1700s. The best way to experience the history of Cajun, Creole, and Zydeco music first hand is to listen to the many historical recordings that are now available. These dance genres are to the music that originated in the early 20th century from the Francophone Creole Acadians. Excitement”–Patrick Henry. It is a partner dance that has been primarily danced socially and sometimes in performances. When a family would have a bouchere` (butchering of a hog), everyone in the community would come over and share in the work and cooking of fresh meat. Those who follow in Chavis’s footsteps include Keith Frank, Step Rideau, Chris Ardoin, Sean Ardoin and Jeffrey Broussard. Its name is thought… His debut CD "Country Boy" was released to rave reviews. Usual "fill-ins" are kicks, toe or heel taps, flicks, brush, etc. Electric bass, electric guitar and a drum kit provide the propulsive groove. The History of Zydeco You might say that the lively form of music known as zydeco is full of beans, etymologically speaking. He brought his own band, the Zodico Ramblers, to the recording sessions in Los Angeles that produced his 1955 Specialty Records hit, “Ay-Tete Fee.” When he teamed up with Arhoolie Records producer Chris Strachwitz in the 1960s, he single-handedly brought zydeco music into popular consciousness, eventually winning a Grammy® award. I learned that over several generations, Acadians became “Cajuns” and the word “Creole” changed meaning several times.In rural isolation, the music of Creole and Cajun people evolved roughly in parallel until about the 1940s. The origins of zydeco are difficult to trace. Because of the very lively music, the overall style is small sidewise steps with relatively steady upper body and no hip swinging, wiggling or jumping. Dancing by the Bayou™ established in 2008 by Sharon Schiliro and Michael Hart, promotes Cajun and Zydeco music and dance in the Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia metropolitan areas. The rollicking dance music called zydeco is a quirky invention that could only have happened in Southwest Louisiana, where descendants of French and Creole-speaking African Americans (who today call themselves Creoles) merged their ancient songs with a rhythm and blues beat. Traditional Cajun Dance Music. Just as Delta musicians took Highway 61 to Chicago and electrified their blues, so did the Creoles and Cajuns migrate to California and establish vital dance communities. It is a partner dance that has been primarily danced socially and sometimes in performances. Zydeco as a dance style has its roots in a form of folk dance that corresponds to the heavily syncopated zydeco music, originated in the beginning of the 20th century among the Francophone Creole peoples of Acadiana (south-west Louisiana). by Tom Dempsey, Seattle, Washington. The word “zydeco” is a phonetic corruption of the French les haricots, or snap beans. Zydeco can be described as the music of Louisiana “Creoles of Color.” While it’s distinct, it does borrow many of its own defining elements from Cajun music. The zydeco dance is one of the many Cajun dance styles. Nonetheless, Chavis became disenchanted with the music business, and he returned to his trade of training racehorses. Though songs were not directly transferred, West African influences and roots are found in pieces of language, stories, Zydeco dance, foods like yams and rice, and early Black Creole cowboy history, which Andrew Sluyter's research discovers in the 1766 Louisiana Census (Sluyter 2012:41, 57–60). There are exceptions to this rule, but feel of the zydeco is very real and consistent. Another way to start learning that for some is simpler is to keep time with music, and track the weight shifts is using the cues - slow, quick quick. Today, the zydeco scene in Houston is filled with dancers of all ages; newcomers dance alongside the descendants of legendary musicians and performers. During the early to mid-1980s, Cajun music (as well as zydeco) experienced a worldwide boom in popularity that continues to the present. History of Cajun and Zydeco Music by Alex Cosper (12/17/12) Cajun and Zydeco music both are a popular part of Louisiana culture with distinct French roots. For example, there is a Cajun waltz, Cajun two-step and Cajun jitterbug. Learn how and when to remove this template message, ARNB.ORG, Cajun and Zydeco Music Event Schedules for the World, Clarence's Baton Rouge Cajun & Zydeco Schedule. His re-emergence was a phenomenon, drawing capacity crowds and setting in motion a scene that would soon explode with new talent. Similarly, Alexis Jolivette’s family history is steeped in zydeco. Zydeco is a style of popular dance music played by African Americans of Francophone descent in the Gulf Coast region, particularly in the bayou country of southwestern Louisiana. The pattern therefore is for the leader (opposite foot for follower) to transfer weight to left foot saying slow (2 beats, 1,2) and then quick as you shift onto right foot (1 beat, 3) and then, quick, as you shift back to left foot (1 beat, 4). Zydeco dancing is type of Cajun dancing performed to zydeco music. "Michael Tisserand has given us a good one. Birthed at Saturday night gatherings where families and friends came to dance around a room pulsing with accordion-driven beats, zydeco, a music genre created by Southwest Louisiana’s Black Creoles (a group of people of mixed African, Afro-Caribbean, Native American, and European descent), offered the rural poor a way to express themselves and escape the hardships of everyday life in the South with … It involves a syncopated rhythm, which means an uneven rhythm. Next post: The crossroads of Creole and Cajun musicians, Previous post: Watch a rare video of Clifton Chenier performing “Bon Ton Roulet”, A year-long showcase of traditional Creole music, dancing & culture alongside the modern day influences of R&B, soul and hip-hop. There can also be a pulse on these second and sixth beats; by bending the knee, dropping the butt, etc., ... and these accents can be strong or subtle depending on the inclination of the dancer and the feeling of the music. It’s a sound that’s here to stay. Additionally, there are several other dance styles that incorporate the term including: hand jive … Similar to the music of the Cajun s (displaced French Canadians who settled in Louisiana), zydeco was created by the Creoles (those of African heritage in Louisianan French culture). In doing so, he laid out the malleable parameters of zydeco that have always made room for the popular music of the day—R&B, soul, hip-hop and pop—filtered through the perspective of an accordion-driven dance band. Delafose’s singing didn’t have a wide range, but it was warm and full of feeling, and his accordion style crackled with bundles of fast notes separated by long, mournful ones. Learn More >>. Chavis’s first recording sessions were a forced marriage, when local record producer Eddie Shuler teamed him with the guitarist Classie Ballou’s rhythm and blues band. Moreover, it was a term used for swing dance in the early nineteenth century. Yet, at trail rides, rodeos, dance halls, church dances and almost any celebration, zydeco is a rallying point of the culture, and if many zydeco musicians have enjoyed the opportunity to tour the world, the music is most vibrant at home. There the French culture permeated those of the Irish, Spanish, Native Indian and German peoples already populating the area. From a 2008 Ind article, The House That Zydeco Built, by Nathan Stubbs: "People of all ages, and from all across the country, hang out on tailgates in the parking lot and around the front step’s of the Zydeco Hall of Fame.A giant smoker churns out barbecue pork sandwiches, while a film crew from Denmark conducts interviews. Artists familiar with Zydeco compared Curley's music to that of the late, great Beau Jocque. Early Reactions to Big French Dance “Ron Stanford’s powerful black and white photographs capture the heart of Cajun and Zydeco worlds, in which all ages dance, sing, and celebrate life in deeply grounded ways. This repeats on beats 5-8 starting with weight transfer on to right foot, etc.. Once this is mastered it is easy to progress to other skills, including accenting, as discussed below, the second and sixth beats. Gradually, the term came to represent both the music and the event, as in “I’m going to the zydeco.” Until the Houston folklorist Mack McCormack promoted the current spelling of the word in the 1960s, it was variously written as zorigo, zarico or zodico on posters advertising weekend dances. Zydeco music originated from Creole music — today's rubboard or frottoir ("rubbing the washboard") is a stylized version of the early washboard. The contents of the CD jukebox trace the history of the club itself, with albums by blues icon Bobby Blue Bland, mid- 60s funk soul by Joe Tex, the latest offerings from nouveau zydeco artist Chris Ardoin, “Zydeco Boss”–Keith Frank, as well as no less than six albums by the evening’s entertainment, “Mr. "Part of the challenge of this project is trying to attract a wider audience to it." Gould, Philip. The step pattern is often memorized as "SPSS SPSS", "S" is for "step", "P" is for pause. Arriving in New Orleans on seven ships, the settlers quickly moved into the bayous and swamps. Clifton Chenier, widely recognized as the King of Zydeco, was a virtuoso of the piano accordion, an instrument with a full range of musical possibilities. In 1929, Creole accordionist Amédé Ardoin made the first recordings of la-la music, laying the groundwork for the genre. Many audiences even began to prefer the smaller instrument, for the raw edge and pulsating groove it set up for dancing. The unevenness of the beat can make it harder for some people to learn than other dances, but it really is a basic dance where you shift back and forth on … Cajun and Zydeco Music. The essential instruments are an amplified accordion, and a frottoir or scrub board, a corrugated sheet-metal vest played with bottle openers that is surely one of the loudest percussion instruments every invented. The mission of Dancing by the Bayou is to promote the musical style, dance and unique history and traditions of Southwest Louisiana . Button Accordion, fiddle, triangle (aka ’ tit fer, bostrang), guitar (sometimes slide guitar/peddle steel), bass, drums. The original French settlers came to Louisiana in the late 1600s, sent by the Regent of France, Philippe d'Orléans, Duke of Orléans, to help settle the Louisiana Territory. The resulting “Paper In My Shoe” is an odd record, since Boozoo’s primal accordion and the band appear to be playing in different keys, but it became a regional hit that reputedly sold 100,000 copies after it was leased to the nationally-distributed Imperial label. Other notable Louisiana performers have included Rockin' … A closer antecedent might be the call-and-response music called juré, with its syncopated hand clapping, but the only glimpse we have of this traditional style is on a few recordings made by the ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax in 1934. Startingin the 1950s, Clifton Chenierpioneered the modern sound of zydeco and eventually became one of the genre's best … GatorBoyProductions.com, Your source for Cajun & Zydeco music & dance in the Great Northwest! www.LearnZydeco.com This is the first part of our "Workshop #1" DVD. Its name is thought… zydeco dancing inspired researching the history of zydeco music, Native Indian German... 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