When I was sixteen years old, in the late 1960s, I dreamed of making records. I collected them, too, especially blues on 45 RPM discs. Yet, the men behind the records intrigued me as much as the music. Read more
Ten years ago, Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, displacing hundreds of thousands of residents and causing massive damage to the southern states. With the country recoiling from the blow, filmmaker Robert Mugge, who has been documenting our Zydeco Crossroads journey this year, captured the devastating shockwaves and glimmers of hope surrounding the hurricane in his 2006 documentary New Orleans Music in Exile. Read more
Paul Scott admits he had little interest in zydeco music when he graduated from Opelousas High School in 1982. That same year, a strange concept, something called a zydeco festival, was launched in the nearby community of Plaisance.
A year later, Scott was selling tickets to the event – the Original Southwest Louisiana Zydeco Music Festival. Thirty years later, zydeco festivals stretch from California to Raamsdonksveer, Holland. Read more
In an article for Lafayette’s The Advertiser, Zydeco Crossroads contributor Herman Fuselier highlights a new documentary called By the River of Babylon. The film airs tomorrow evening on WORLD Channel‘s America Reframed program. It will be available worldwide at worldchannel.org beginning Wednesday, June 17th. Read more
Credit: Alphonse “Bois Sec” Ardoin plays the accordion for the Duralde Mardi Gras in 1977. Photo: Nicholas R. Spitzer via Louisiana Folklife It’s true, June is National Accordion Awareness Month, a designation made in 1989 to introduce the instrument to a wider audience. Zydeco Crossroads was lucky enough to tour the Martin Accordions workshop and showroom in Scott,…
Sid Williams has been running his Lafayette club El Sido’s for thirty years now. The venue has been an integral and joyful part of the town over the last few decades, launching zydeco careers, offering a place for friends and family to gather and lending a hand to the community. But as Herman Fuselier discusses in his profile of the venue for The Advertiser, El Sido’s isn’t experiencing the level of success it once was. Read more
For the first Zydeco Crossroads concert back in December, we thought it would be important to introduce the dance aspect of the experience along with the music. So Harold Guillory, a dance instructor from Lake Charles, LA traveled up to Philadelphia with Curley Taylor to lead the sold-out Kimmel Center crowd in a dance lesson before the show. We interviewed Guillory about the dance’s ability to draw new people to the music, why it sets zydeco apart and how it allows fans to express themselves in a different way. Read more
Historians can look back to several junctures of time and place in American music when it was clear that something significant was happening. For Southern blues, it might have been Beale Street in Memphis in the early 1950s, when B.B. King and Bobby “Blue” Bland pioneered a modern blues sound that continues to resonate today. For bebop, it might have been 52nd Street in New York City in the 1940s, when Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk deconstructed jazz. For zydeco, I would argue that it was Southwest Louisiana in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when Boozoo Chavis came roaring back onto the scene at Richard’s Club in Lawtell. Read more.