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Roots music: Cajun and Zydeco from South West Lousianna

by Dave Riley

It's the weekend! Maybe only for another couple of hours perhaps... but that means that Friday has come and gone and the Twin Cities of St Paul and Minneapolis via their local community radio station KFAI
has made available on the web the latest episode of Louisiana Rhythms.
Louisiana Rhythms is hosted by 4 alternating hosts: Karl Smelker, Eric Mohring, Maurine McCort & Mick Novak. We feature music from Louisiana, especially southwest Louisiana. That means lots of Cajun, Zydeco, and Swamp Pop, old and new. We might also sneak in some second line from New Orleans or some blues from Baton Rouge, or who knows what. If it comes outta south Louisiana, then you'll hear it here.
I'm no country booy but as a once upon a time clawhammer banjo player I like my roots music very rooty. And when you get your ears into South West Louisiana it's the Real McCoy.

I like my Cajun very Frenchie and if you want to dance it up a little bit more with the rattle and roll you can get a faster moving swing from Zydeco. And 'swings' the word. Aside from the Afro American influence Cajun music and Cajun dance has roots in French music, Native American music, and country music. It's a melange of elements fused by a chances of history and ethnic co-habitation.

Out of this melting pot pops Zydeco which involved among the black and mutriracial Creoles of south and southwest Louisiana. Both styles are dominated by the button or piano accordion. While Zydeco arose as a synthesis of traditional Creole music, some Cajun music influences, and African-American traditions it's very easy to cross over from one to the other -- Cajun to Zydeco.

Perhaps purists will disagree -- but when they serve up the tunes on Louisiana Rhythms it's mix and match. So you can sit there in far off Brisbane town, a world away from Louisiana, and SWING. When you're not sitting you can also waltz, two-step, jig, shuffle and blues it up such that the music never stops growing and changing and that bod of yours can't help but move along.

But aside from all that -- behind the music is a great story of very poor and ethnically oppressed working people trying to make their own fun. That's the real roots. Cajun at times can seem so amateurish because it comes across so raw and sounds a bit harsh to the ear. But both Zydeco and Cajun are driven by the beat and that serves to drive the music.

So get on over to Louisiana Rhythms to catch your surfeit of Cajun et al. Doesn't matter where you are at -- even Minneapolis/St Paul is along way from the hot swamps of Louisiana.

1 Com:

Watash1 | July 28, 2008

I'm originaly from Beauregard Parish, southwestern La.
Here's some music of the area.

Don Rich

Charles Mann

Bruce Daigrepont

Chris Miller_-_Bayou_Roots

Kevin Naquin

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