The History of the Accordion in Cajun Music

The History of the Accordion in Cajun Music

Learn how the accordion came to have such a major role in Cajun music.

While most people don’t consider the accordion a classic instrument, the accordion has a long history of being a key component in Cajun music.  Read on to learn more about how the accordion made a place for itself in Cajun music and the culture of Louisiana as a whole.

Truth be told, no one is sure how, when, or by whom the accordion was introduced to Louisiana.  But by the latter half of the 19th century, the accordion was influencing the music of black musicians in South Louisiana.  By the 1920s, the accordion became wildly popular in Cajun music.  This is partially due to the new ability to import accordions that played in keys that were compatible with fiddles.

Because the accordion was limited in the amount of keys and notes it could produce, its introduction greatly simplified old Cajun songs, and any songs that could not be played on the accordion were ultimately abandoned.  While accordions temporarily lost favour in the 1930s, by the 40s there was a great resurgence in the accordion’s popularity.  This resurgence was partially attributed to the political statement that accordion playing gave off.  Rather than being ashamed by their Cajun roots, many musicians began to play the accordion proudly to celebrate their heritage.

The accordion is still an integral component in the Cajun music of today.  With sounds constantly evolving, the accordion has evolved as well.  New accordions with an improved range are being made and young, aspiring Cajun musicians are eager to learn how to play.  It seems that even with changing time, the accordion will continue to remain a prominent feature in the culture of South Louisiana and Cajun music as a whole.

If you enjoyed this brief overview of the accordion’s history in Cajun music, but still want to know more about Cajun music, then mark your calendar for the next Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival.  In summer of 2018, Simi Valley will come alive with Cajun music and food, zydeco music, blues music, a Mardi Gras parade, zydeco dance lessons, and more!  To learn more about this exciting local event, contact Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival today.