The Evolution of Zydeco Music

The Evolution of Zydeco Music

Learn how zydeco as we know it came to be.

Zydeco music is an integral part of Louisiana’s culture and its colourful traditions and history makes it stand out from any other style of music.  Read on to learn more about how this incredibly unique style of music evolved over time.

Zydeco music originated in the swampy bayous of Louisiana in the early 20th century.  While considered the dance music of the black Creoles of southwest Louisiana, the style of music quickly caught on and spread throughout the country due to its infectious sound.

While often confused with Cajun music, Zydeco is unique as it reflects the African-Caribbean roots of its original players.  Additionally, while modern Cajun music gets inspiration from country music, zydeco seems to pick up its influences from contemporary blues and R&B.  However, despite these differences, the history of Cajun and zydeco music are closely intertwined.  In fact, many Cajun musicians regular perform zydeco and vice versa.

Even the name “zydeco” has its own fascinating history.  Apparently, the term originates from the word “les haricots” or beans in French.  A popular explanation associates the origin of the word zydeco with the phrase “les haricots sont pas sales” or “the beans aren’t salty.”  This phrase references when families were unable to season their beans with salted meat.

Some of the great zydeco musicians of history include Amede Ardoin, one of the first recognized zydeco artists.  Ardoin made numerus recording in the 20s and 30s and set the stage for generations of zydeco musicians to come.  In fact, his descendants Sean and Chris Ardoin keep the family legacy by performing zydeco with their respective bands.  Another influential artist was Clifton Chenier who was dubbed the “king of zydeco” during the 50s and 60s.  Chenier’s music incorporated R&B and rock sounds to foster the evolution of zydeco into the music we know today.

This is just a brief overview of how zydeco music came to be.  Still can’t get enough of zydeco?  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.