Zydeco Crossroads is a year-long celebration of Zydeco music with a series of live concerts, dances, film screenings, panel discussions, radio specials, and an audio and video, and essay rich website that showcases the history of zydeco music.
Our next Zydeco Crossroads event is the year end grand finale weekend at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia, on October 23rd and October 24th featuring 5 zydeco bands including Corey Ledet and His Zydeco Band, Rosie Ledet, Ruben Moreno, Keith Frank and the Soileau Zydeco Band. There will be a premiere of the Zydeco Crossroads documentary by filmmaker Robert Mugge, a panel discussion on the evolution, influence and future of Zydeco, moderated by World Cafe host, David Dye, Zydeco dancing, Cajun food, and more!
Get tickets for the event here.
Zydeco Crossroads reflects the diverse social and musical influences on the African-American Creole people of Southwest Louisiana, featuring the traditional sounds of Zydeco alongside the modern day influences of R&B, soul and hip-hop.
- Chubby Carrier
- Curley Taylor & Zydeco Trouble
- Rosie Ledet & The Zydeco Playboys
- Ruben Moreno & His ReEvolution
- Creole United
- Leon Chavis & The Zydeco Flames
- J. Paul Jr. & The Zydeco Nubreeds
- Corey Ledet & His Zydeco Band
- Keith Frank & The Soileau Zydeco Band
- Lil Wayne Singleton & The Same Ol’ 2 Step
- Koray Broussard & The Zydeco Unit
- Nathan Williams & The Zydeco Cha-Chas
WXPN and Allons Danser present a free Zydeco dance party with Curley Taylor and Zydeco Trouble and dance instructor Harold Guillory on Saturday, December 6th at District N9NE, 460 N. 9th St. Philadelphia, PA 19123
Zydeco Crossroads has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.
WXPN is the nationally recognized leader in Triple A radio and the premier guide for discovering new and significant artists in rock, blues, roots, and folk. A non-commercial, member-supported radio service of the University of Pennsylvania, WXPN produces World Cafe®, public radio’s most popular program of popular music hosted by David Dye and syndicated by NPR, and the Peabody Award winning Kids Corner hosted by Kathy O’Connell. WXPN serves the greater Philadelphia area at 88.5 FM, the Lehigh Valley at 104.9, Worton/Baltimore at 90.5 FM, Lancaster/York at 88.7 FM, Harrisburg at 99.7 FM, and the world via online streaming at XPN.org.
Full Artist Bios
Born in Churchpoint, Louisiana, Chubby Carrier is the third generation of an esteemed Zydeco family that includes his father Roy Carrier, grandfather Warren Carrier, and cousins Bebe and Calvin Carrier.
Chubby began his musical career at the age of 12 by playing drums with his father’s band. He began playing the accordion at the age of 15 and by age 17, Chubby had begun to play with Terrance Siemien. He toured the world for two and a half years, before forming his own band in 1989.
Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band have recorded ten CDs over the past 22 years, including the GRAMMY Award-winning Zydeco Junkie (2010). The band has performed to audiences in all parts of the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii, as well as in Canada, North Africa and Europe. Chubby and the band travel 150-175 days a year. He has still found time to launch an educational project, Zydeco A-Z, which offers a curriculum about Zydeco’s origins and Zydeco culture.
Corey Ledet was born and raised in Houston, Texas, but spent his summers with family in small-town Parks, Louisiana. Both communities provided an immersive experience in Creole culture and shaped Corey’s world significantly. He sought to incorporate the culture in all areas of his life – the traditions, the food, and most importantly, the music.
His love for the Creole/Zydeco music was instant and hard for him to ignore. He studied the originators of the music such as Clifton Chenier, John Delafose, and Boozoo Chavis. He branched out to include studying any (and all) artists of Zydeco. At the early age of 10, he began playing drums for Houston-based band Wilbert Thibodeaux and the Zydeco Rascals and slowly learned the main instrument of the music – the accordion. He became an accomplished player of single-note, triple-note and piano key accordions.
By the time he graduated from high school, he was certain that music was the focal point of his future. Corey eventually moved to Louisiana, to keep one foot firmly in tradition while exploring surrounding influences. He also appreciates the other traditional sound indigenous to Louisiana in Cajun music and has been able to expand his repertoire to include these influences as well.
Corey has released 8 CDs, including the GRAMMY nominated Nothin’ But The Best (2012). He and his band have performed at festivals across the country and around the world.
The members of Creole United are bandleaders representing three generations of Creole Music culture. They describe their new album Non Jamais Fait saying that they believe by “using classic Creole Music styles of the past, and being careful to include Creole French, [they can] create new Creole standards.” The band includes Andre Thierry, Sean Ardoin, Lawrence Ardoin, Rusty Metoyer, Jeffery Broussard, and Edward Poullard.
The Ardoin name is one of the most revered in Zydeco music. The family legacy began with legendary Creole musician Amedee’ Ardoin, the first Louisiana Cajun or Creole accordionist to record. Sean represents the fifth generation and has co-led the band Double Clutchin’ with his younger brother Chris for many years. As the leader of Zydekool (1999-2005), Ardoin’s music has been around the county. His personal and musical journey has now led him to express himself through Christian Zydeco; his band is called Sean Ardoin + R.O.G.K. (Reflections Of God’s Kingdom). Sean believes his music will cross over all denominational, racial, and economic lines. Sean’s own son, age 15, is featured on his newest CD – the family tradition continues.
The son of Creole accordion legend Alphonse “Bois Sec” Ardoin, Lawrence “Black” Ardoin not only carried on the family’s musical traditions, but passed on the torch to his own sons. Born in Duralde, Louisiana in 1946, Ardoin joined his father and siblings Morris and Gustave in the Ardoin Brothers Band; originally a drummer, he took over accordion duties when Gustave was killed in a 1974 auto accident. Upon his father’s mid-1970s retirement, he assumed full leadership of the group. In time, he formed a new combo, the French Zydeco Band, which also allowed him to pursue his interests in Cajun and swamp-pop sounds. He continued to play music with son Chris and now joins son Sean in Creole United.
Jeffery Broussard was a leading member in Zydeco Force, a pioneer of the nouveau zydeco movement. His accordion and vocals defined this new style of Creole music, incorporating the soulful sounds of R&B into contemporary Zydeco music and dance. The son of esteemed accordionist Delton Broussard, young Jeffery began by playing the drums in his father’s legendary band, the Lawtell Playboys. Today, leading the Creole Cowboys, he sustains the essence of this musical heritage.
Rusty Metoyer and his band The Zydeco Krush hail from Lake Charles, LA. They play traditional Creole French songs and nouveau Zydeco music. Metoyer grew up with musical influences from some of his uncles as well as both of his grandfathers. All were self taught musicians in Creole French, Zydeco, Jazz, & Blues. Staying true to his roots, Rusty learned to play the accordion through the traditional style of French music, and he is passionate about keeping his Creole heritage alive. Rusty is self taught on other instruments as well, including drums, guitar, scrub board, and bass.
Ed Poullard was born in Eunice, LA and raised in Southeast Texas. By the time he was in grade school, he was playing in his father’s band at house parties and parish dances. Ed started out on drums and guitar before moving on to accordion and fiddle, studying the latter with the legendary Canray Fontenot. Ed often performed with his late brother Danny on accordion, showcasing tunes they learned from their father. One of the few Creole fiddlers still playing, Ed is considered a “living legend” of Zydeco.
Frontman of the Zydeco Magic, Thierry is a standard bearer of a new generation of Zydeco artists. Thierry grew up in a Creole community in California as part of a family with deep Louisiana roots. His grandparents held French Creole dances at their church parish, a destination for Louisiana artists. On one such visit, Zydeco legend Clifton Chenier deemed three-year old Andre a future accordion player. Andre taught himself to play by listening to Clifton’s music, and started his own band at age twelve. He sings traditional songs in original Creole French and has also composed many of his own tunes. His musical mastery enables him to create a unique sound for his and future generations while staying true to the past.
Curley Taylor was born and raised in Louisiana and has been around music all of his life. At the age of sixteen, Curley started playing drums in his father’s band, Jude Taylor & His Burning Flames. By the age of 25, Curley had played drums for some of Louisiana’s finest legends, including C.C. Adcock, Steve Riley, John Hart, Lil’ Bob of the Lollipops, and his uncles “Lil’ Buck” Senegal and Wayne “Blue” Burns. He also traveled with Zydeco legend CJ Chenier. While traveling with Mr. Chenier, Curley found an interest in playing the accordion – he purchased one and learned to play it in about six months. During this time, friends Keith Clements (keyboard) and Erick Minix (drums) approached Curley and asked him to start his own band. Soon after agreeing to record an album with them, Geno Delafose offered Curley a job playing the drums in his band, Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie. Curley worked for Mr. Delafose for several years, but found it hard to focus on his own music while traveling and touring. He soon began on his own band, Zydeco Trouble, and now plays and travels with them full-time. Curly has recorded five albums to date.
Known as “The Zydeco Boss,” Keith Frank was born and raised in Soileau, LA, and is a member of a family of Creole musicians who trace their lineage back to the 1860s. He performed in his father’s Swallow Family Band at the age of three, and continued to perform with local bands throughout his teenage years. While studying at McNeese State University, he re-formed his family band with his sister Jennifer (bass) and brother Brad (drums). For more than two decades, they have been sharing a sound that has changed the face of Zydeco, reconnecting younger generations to the music, and raising the genre’s profile on the national scene. Today, the band also includes Chuck Leday on scrubboard, Lucien Hayes on guitar, and Aquais Benoit on various instruments. The Soileau Zydeco Band has recorded more than a dozen albums. Frank also helped to found the Creole Renaissance Festival in Opeousas, which features music as well as other celebrations of Creole traditions.
Koray takes his musical heritage both from his forebears and from his musical mentor, Curley Taylor, in whose band he played. Koray Broussard’s grandfather, Delton Broussard, led the Lawtell Playboys, and his uncle Jeffery Broussard was a major force behind the nouveau Zydeco movement.
A multi-instrumentalist, Koray plays the single and triple-row accordion, as well as rhythm guitar and bass. His music reflects contemporary R&B and gospel influences. His young band, the Z-Unit, released their first album in 2010.
This young accordionist from Lawtell, LA and former trumpet player in the world-famous Southern University Jaguar Marching Band is the self proclaimed “Zydeco Soul Child.”
In addition to releasing four albums with his band the Zydeco Flames, Chavis hosts a weekly program on Opelousas community radio station KOCZ 107.7 FM and frequently plays on the Creole “Trail Ride” scene, a series of events that unite Creole communities’ horse culture and Zydeco music. Chavis has also toured widely in the United States and Europe.
The Zydeco Flames include Leon’s father Joseph “Chopper” Chavis (scrubboard, keyboard, vocals), Russell Labbe (scrubboard), Gabriel “Pandy” Perrodin (guitar, vocals), Ronald Carrier (bass), Eric Singleton (drums), and Bryan Phillips (scrubboard).
Wayne Singleton and his band, Same Ol’ 2 Step, maintain the tradition of Zydeco as it originated in Opelousas-
Lawtell, Louisiana. Raised in Lewisburg, Louisiana, Singleton has been playing Zydeco music since the age of seven.
Wayne writes most of the band’s songs and has mastered all of the traditional Zydeco instruments. He has experience playing with many of Zydeco’s masters, starting with his mentor, Roy Carrier, and including Beau Jocque, Zydeco Force, Keith Frank, Chris Ardoin, Sean Ardoin, Andre Thierry and many more.
Singleton has toured extensively in the U.S. and Europe, playing major festivals. He is also an active educational ambassador for Zydeco, visiting local schools to teach about the genre’s history and instruments, and careers in music.
He and his band have released four albums: Something for the Young & Old (2005); Who Want It? (2007) Gotta Be Me (2009), and I Bring It! (2011). The band participates in the Louisiana Let’s Be Totally Clear campaign for a smoke-free environment for musicians.
Growing up in a Creole-speaking home in St. Martinville, Nathan Williams was exposed to the music of Zydeco originators such as Clifton Chenier early on. Later, while recovering from a serious illness, Nathan decided to dedicate himself to learning the accordion. That dedication blossomed into a career which now spans three decades.
The music of Nathan and the Zydeco Cha-Chas is the expression of a remarkable South Louisiana family. Dennis Paul Williams, Nathan’s brother, brings his jazz-influenced guitar chops to the band. He’s also a well-known painter whose work has been shown throughout the country. Rub-board player Mark Anthony Williams (aka ‘Chukka’) is their first cousin, and has been with the band since its inception. The eldest Williams brother, Sid “El Sid O” Williams, is a Lafayette legend unto himself and the owner of a popular nightclub where many Zydeco artists play.
Nathan formed The Cha-Chas back in 1985, and since then has brought his unique take on this regional South Louisiana music to all corners of the globe. From Lincoln Center in New York to The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Nathan’s music has crossed all barriers to speak to the very heart of his audience.
Inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2005, he was honored in 2012 with the Zydeco Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The Cha-Chas have been voted the top Festival Band in the country, and have received the Big Easy Award for Best Zydeco Band for several years running. They have released 10 albums which include both original songs and Zydeco standards.
Nathan and his band have been featured in the New York Times, Essence and People magazines, and on the cover of USA Today. They’ve appeared in films including In The Electric Mist and The Kingdom of Zydeco, and worked with artists as diverse as Cindy Lauper, Michael Doucet and Buddy Guy.
Hailing from the rural town of Church Point, Louisiana, Rosie Ledet grew up listening to rock and roll. At age 16, she attended a dance where she heard the legendary BooZoo Chavis and met her husband, Morris Ledet – her love for Zydeco was also born.
She learned to play the accordion by watching her husband and then practicing on his accordion while he worked during the day. She played along with recordings, learning the music by ear. With Morris’ encouragement, she continued to develop her talent, produced a demo, and secured a record deal.
With her self-penned tunes, Ledet provides a unique female presence in the male-dominated Zydeco world. Known as “The Zydeco Sweetheart,” she sings in both Creole French and in English, in a bluesy singing voice that is often sly and lusty. The songs featured on her 10 CDs and in her live performances are sometimes sassy and humorous.
Ms. Ledet has toured throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. She has opened for Bob Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival and inspired none other than James Brown to dance in Birmingham, Alabama. She has been honored by the Black Heritage Association of Louisiana, the Southwest Louisiana Music Association, and OffBeat Magazine, and has received multiple Zydeco Music & Creole Heritage Awards.
Ruben Moreno, a native of Houston, Texas, is fulfilling a musical destiny. His grandmother owned Henry’s Lounge, a bar in Houston’s East End, and Ruben lived in an adjacent apartment. “I have memories of falling asleep in my bed while listening to Clifton Chenier blare out of the jukebox on the other side of the wall,” he says. His grandmother’s establishment was a popular gathering place and Ruben grew up with a strong sense of community, which included many musicians who were family friends. His grandmother encouraged him to pursue his interest in music from an early age, and he started with the washboard and Zydeco.
At age 10, he appeared on stage with Leroy Thomas at the Continental Club, an experience which cemented his desire to be not just a musician, but an entertainer. Ruben began to play the accordion as well, and at age 13 he opened for Mary Thomas and Roy Carrier on tour around Houston.
Music continued to sustain Moreno through a difficult personal period. In 2007, Zydeco legend CJ Chenier invited Moreno to join him on a national tour, and his true career began. He then toured with Leroy Thomas, and learned more about how to make a successful career in the music industry. In 2009, following a brief East Coast tour with Andre Thierry, Moreno decided to join Thierry in California, and benefited from his musical tutelage. With Thierry’s encouragement, Moreno began recording original songs in a home studio and was able to release his own album in 2011; several award nominations followed.
Now launching his own band, Zydeco Re-Evolution, Moreno is excited to use his music for social change and to empower others. Drawing inspiration from Martin Luther King, Jr., Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix, he hopes to confront today’s pressing issues with peaceful protest.
J Paul Jr & the Zydeco Nubreeds have taken the French Creole music of rural Southwest Louisiana and blended it with sounds of blues, R & B, Hip Hop, and Gospel. The band was formed in 1994. Enjoying much success with band members: J Paul Jr (band leader, writer, producer,vocalist & accordion player), John John (vocalist & scrub board player), Rambo (music director, vocalist, & guitar), & drummer Bphlatt. With the release of 13 cd’s, and a live concert DVD, J Paul and his band’s new album is Uno. J Paul is an exciting live performer and is in high demand to perform at major festivals, clubs, church events, fundraisers. The band has been on stage with Zydeco Legends Beau Jocque, Boozoo, and Buckwheat. The Nubreeds have performed on stage with artists ranging from Hip Hop to Gospel artists, such as major artists like Cupid, Robin Thicke, Mel Waiters, Patrick Henry, Johnny Taylor, Tyrone Davis, Marvin Cease, Bobby Bluebland, The Ojays, Lenny Williams, Clarence Carter, Ludacris, Earth, Wind & Fire, J Blackfoot, Third World, Lucky Dube-Reggae and many more!. They have had an honor of having musicians like Scarface, Madhatter (97.9FM Houston, TX), Vicious, Big Mike, Pastor Elvin Stewart, Shawn & Rhonda McClemore, and Street Military on numerous tracks on their CD titles.