Cajun Music Features Which Culture Of People

Cajun Music in Louisiana

Cedric Watson is a button accordion player who lives in New York City. Cajun music is likely the most closely connected musical heritage with Louisiana, second only to jazz. Following their expulsion from Nova Scotia in 1755, the Acadians, also known as Cajuns, sought sanctuary in Louisiana and established a new existence in the hard terrain. As their links to their communities grew deeper, so did their traditions of storytelling, singing, and dance, which continued to flourish. While under constant pressure to adapt into American society for more than a century, the Cajuns of Louisiana have maintained their folk music traditions and remained faithful to their origins.

The Music: Cajun

Three components distinguish Cajun music from other types of music: the button accordion, the fiddle, and the use of the French language. Even today’s composers write their songs in French, having learnt the language through their parents and grandparents, as well as by engaging in French tables in their communities and via French immersion programs in schools. The vast majority of Cajun tunes are either two-steps or waltzes, and they are composed to match certain dance steps or movements. The music of the Cajun people is undeniably theirs, but it also draws on elements from other cultures, including the Irish and German cultures as well as the African, Native American, and Appalachian traditions.

It combines traditional Cajun music with influences from rock, blues and soul music, as well as zydeco.

The Cajun Music Icons

The earliest recordings of Cajun music were made in the 1920s, and they featured artists such as Joe Falcon and Cléoma Breaux, Dennis McGee, Sady Courville, and Creole accordionist Amédé Ardoin, among many others. Iry LeJeune and Lawrence Walker, Aldus Roger and the Lafayette Playboys, the Balfa Brothers, Harry Choates (known as “The Fiddle King of Cajun Swing”), and D.L. Menard (known as “The Cajun Hank Williams”) were among the musicians who contributed to the development and expansion of the sound throughout the twentieth century.

Additionally, artists such as Zachary Richard, Michael Doucet & BeauSoleil, Wayne Toups, the Red Stick Ramblers, Lost Bayou Ramblers, Balfa Toujours, The Pine Leaf Boys, and Cedric Watson rose to prominence in the decades that followed their debuts on the scene.

Hear it Here

Before making travel arrangements, please double-check the hours of operation, since they are subject to change. Today, live Cajun music can be found in dance halls across southwestern Louisiana, as well as during local festivals such as the annualFestivals Acadiens et Créoles and theBreaux Bridge Crawfish Festival. The Jolly Inn is a tavern in the town of Jolly. The Jolly Inn is located in Houma and is worth a visit. This live music venue, café, and lounge has drawn in guests from all over the world, owing in no little part to performances by Werlien Prosperie’s band Couche Couche, which is co-owned by the Jolly Inn co-owner Werlien Prosperie.

Blue Moon Saloon— Lafayette is home to a slew of Cajun music establishments, with Blue Moon Saloon being one of the most well-known.

If you’re a fan of Cajun music, you’ll want to check out the back porch, where you’ll find some of today’s biggest names in the business. Grammy Award-winning artists like Steve Riley, the Mamou Playboys, and the Lost Bayou Ramblers have all performed here.

Cajun Music

Ben Sandmel contributed to this article. Cajun music, which originates in southwestern Louisiana and eastern Texas, stands out as one of the most prominent and distinctive indigenous genres in the United States. Cajun music is most commonly played nowadays by ensembles in which the diatonic accordion is the prominent trademark instrument, which is currently in the fourth decade of a rich cultural revival. Traditional instrumentation such as fiddle and acoustic and/or electric guitars – as well as steel guitar in some cases – is used for accompaniment as well as for solos, and most bands are anchored by a rhythm section consisting of an electric bass and a full drum set.

  • A condensed variant of the word “Acadian” is used to refer to the Cajun people.
  • They had emigrated to Canada from western France, bringing with them two great musical traditions: fiddle music and a capella songs, which they had brought with them.
  • The violin repertoire was primarily intended to be played to accompany dancing and includes song genres like as waltzes, reels, contre-danses, jigs, mazurkas, and schottisches, among others.
  • Acadie was taken under British authority in 1713, and the Acadians were expelled from the province in 1755.
  • From the urbane world of French New Orleans, their rural, agricultural towns were worlds apart, and they remained geographically and culturally separated until the early twentieth century.
  • Cajun musicians engaged extensively with Africans, and then, many generations later, with African-Americans, as well as Afro-Caribbean Creoles who arrived in southwest Louisiana from Haiti and established themselves in the region.
  • During the late eighteenth century, Louisiana’s status as a Spanish colony left its mark on Cajun music, as did the musical traditions of indigenous Native American groups in the area.

It soon gained popularity in that pre-electrified age as the only instrument capable of cutting through the din of a dance floor, and it has been a defining icon of Cajun music ever since.

At this period, accordion and violin were the primary instruments of Cajun music, which consisted mostly of two-steps and waltzes for dancers.

During the 1930s, during an age of string-band domination highlighted by the Hackberry Ramblers, the accordion fell out of favor for a brief period of time.

These recordings provide the foundation of much of what we know about the history of Cajun and Creole music today.

The use of amplified instruments, as well as the use of bass and drums, became common among Cajun bands by this period.

As a result, the general public was given the incorrect notion that Cajun music was just country music sung in French, which was incorrect.

Fiddler Dewey Balfa carried the torch of cultural preservation during this tough period, and his performance at the famed Newport Folk Festival gave Cajun music its first national exposure.

Musicians such as Zachary Richard and Michael Doucet, as well as folklorist Barry Ancelet, were instrumental in launching this trend.

Approximately a decade later, Cajun music and food were extremely popular for a number of years, coinciding with a craze for Cajun cuisine.

At the time of this writing, Cajun music has continued to thrive, starting from the bottom up at the grassroots, community level, and has been for the previous quarter century.

Musicians and bands such as Jambalaya, Ray Abshire, Robert Jardell, Belton Richard, and D.

Menard, among others, develop minor modifications on the classic, rather conservative Cajun repertoire that is popular on the south Louisiana dancehall circuit, where they perform.

World-traveling musicians such as the Savoy Family Band, Jesse Lege, and Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys perform with their traditional yet varied sound.

This bustling environment is showcased in its entirety at the Festivals Acadien et Creole, which takes place every year in Lafayette.

Sandmel is the author of Ernie K-Doe: The R B Emperor of New Orleans and Zydeco!, a book written in collaboration with photographer Rick Olivier that was published in 2012.

Reading Material Suggestions: Ancelet, Barry Jean, and Elemore, Jr.

Cajun and Creole Music Makers (also known as Cajun and Creole Musicians or Cajun and Creole Music Makers) Jackson, Mississippi.

In Accordions, Fiddles, Two-Steps, and Swing: A Cajun Music Reader, pages 197–227, there is a chapter on “Cajun Music,” which may be found on page 197.

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press published a book in 2006 titled Ancelet, Barry Jean, Cajun Music: Its Origins and Development (New Orleans: University of Louisiana Press, 1993). Lafayette, Louisiana. The University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press published this book in 1989.

Introduction to Cajun, Louisiana Creole & zydeco music

Submitted by Jim HobbsCajun, Louisiana Creole, and Zydeco Music Return to top

Who are the Cajuns?What is Cajun music and where did it come from?

The French began colonizing Canada in 1604, with many settling in what is now Nova Scotia, but was then known as Acadie, which means “Acadian land.” Because of this, the name Cajun derives from the word Acadian. Canada, on the other hand, was a disputed territory, having been inhabited by both the English and the French. Acadie was captured by the English troops in 1713. When the French immigrants refused, the British compelled them to take an oath of fealty to the British monarch. From 1755 forward, anyone who refused to leave were deported.

  1. A large number of Acadians landed in Louisiana between 1765 and 1785.
  2. In fact, the Spanish government sent 1600 Acadians from France to Louisiana in 1785, and they became known as the Acadians.
  3. The southern and northwest parts of New Orleans, as well as along the Teche, Lafourche, and Vermilion Bayous, were home to some of the settlers.
  4. They went on to become hunters, trappers, and farmers.
  5. This is a common misunderstanding.
  6. The music that these individuals presented was straightforward.
  7. It was documented in 1782 that a violinist died in the colony as a result of the introduction of musical instruments.
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One violin played the lead part, and the other provided the background beat.

The first Acadian songs were extended ballads that were derived from French folklore.

Acadians carried influences from their neighbors, Native Americans, and the Scots-Irish with them when they emigrated to Canada.

Their new location in Louisiana allowed them to learn more from their new neighbors, who included Spaniards, Germans, and Caribbeans.

It was a nice respite to learn that Boudreaux or Landry was hosting an abal de maison, or housedance, on a Saturday night, after a long week of toiling in the fields.

Children were separated from the rest of the group and persuaded to sleep, earning these dances the namefais do-do,orgo, which means “to sleep.” Original songs were written by musicians to express the story of their lives in the new planet.

After going past his beloved’s door and receiving no response to his appeal, Thesinger recalls the experience.

The accordion was created in Vienna in 1828, and it was carried to Louisiana by German immigrants, many of whom lived next to or among the Cajuns, who played the instrument.

The early accordions could only be played in the keys of A or F, and that was all.

The first C and D accordions were introduced into the United States about 1925 and were rapidly welcomed by the Cajun community.

In addition to being loud and durable, the accordion could resist the semi-tropical weather that blankets south Louisiana for half of the year.

A violin would be deafeningly quiet if even one of its strings snapped, but the accordion has four reeds that each produce a distinct melody.

The popularity of this instrument, on the other hand, has undoubtedly resulted in the extinction of many fiddle melodies, as it is incapable of handling the complexity and bending notes of the ancient violin tunes.

The first recording of Cajun music was made in New Orleans in 1928.

A limited number of 78s were produced and sold in the places where they were recorded in order to boost the sales of record players in those areas.

The men from the record business laughed at the couple.

One of the men stated he’d never heard such a large amount of sound coming from a single instrument before.

The discovery of oil in Texas and Louisiana in the 1930s, as well as World War II, were watershed moments in the history of the Cajuns.

Western swing, a musical trend that originated in the United States, had a significant impact on Cajun music.

These groups often consisted of one or two fiddles, one or two guitars, an acoustic bass, and occasionally a pedal steel guitar.

During the 1930s, the introduction of drums and electric amplification was made possible.

The accordion renaissance began in earnest in the late 1940s and early 1950s, thanks to the influx of Cajun troops returning from World War II, who were hungry for Cajun music after their service.

Outside influences are still being incorporated into Cajun music.

Country music may be found in a variety of instruments, such as the pedal steel guitar, and in vocal styles, such as Vin Bruce’s.

Even when other societal forces attempted to keep them apart, Cajun and Creole artists have collaborated to create music.

Dennis McGee was a member of the Creole Am d Ardoin.

The blues music genre has also had an impact.

More lately rockmusic has been an impact.

Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival has been Cajunized by Bruce Daigrepont, while Van Morrison songs are performed by Wayne Toups.

Master violinist Dewey Balfa has stated that it is important to irrigate the roots of the plant but that it is not necessary to clip off every new branch that sprouts.

Who are the Creoles? What is zydeco?

The name Creole derives from the Spanishcriollo, which refers to a kid born in the New World to parents who were born in Spain. Creole is a term that was acquired by the French. Creole is a term that can apply to someone who is of European descent and was born in Louisiana. Over the course of two centuries, it came to be used to refer to a person who was of mixed foreign and indigenous parentage. Today, it is commonly used to indicate to someone who is totally or partially of African heritage, while many people still use it in the sense that it was intended.

  • In 1720, African slaves were introduced to the colony from Africa.
  • Some free people of color migrated from the French colony of Haiti, where they worked in a variety of trades or ran small businesses.
  • They were free to drum and dance as they pleased, keeping some of the African musical traditions and customs in the process.
  • A cross-fertilization of musical styles occurred as a result of this process.
  • Cajun music were taught to blacks who spoke French.
  • Jolé blonde, Allons a Lafayette, as well as Allons a Grand Couteau are among the numerous Cajun classics that Clifton Chenier himself recorded and performed frequently.
  • In most cases, the term zydeco is explained as an abbreviation of the song’s title.

Snap beans are not salted in any way.

In fact, folklorist Barry Jean Ancelet has written about the term z-a-r-i-c-o with the letters z-a-r-i-c-o.

It is the type of music that is played during picnics, dances, and special events such as trail rides.

Musicians frequently organize their own rides.

Many Creoles dress in cowboy costume, which includes blue jeans, a western-style shirt, cowboy boots, and large-brimmed white straw cowboy hats, among other things.

The Lomaxes went out of their way to seek out these older, less marketable traditions, knowing that Creoles were also performing instrumental music at the time.

The combination of accordion and violin has survived in Cajun music, despite the fact that it has practically disappeared from zydeco music.

After suffering a heart attack and receiving medical advice that the heavy instrument might be detrimental to his health, accordionist John Delafose decided to convert to violin in the early 1990s.

Many elder Creole artists are dismissive of the term “zydeco” when referring to the music they perform.

Something began to take place in the late 1940s and early 1950s: the emergence of a new musical style known as zydeco.

The saxophone was one of the instruments used in this new style, which included elements of rhythm and blues.

As the final term suggests, the early ones were simplecorrugated metal surfaces in a wooden frame.

The late 1970s saw a boom of zydeco music, which was spurred in part by increasing exposure to zydeco to the general public in the United States.

After Bois-sec Ardoin’s death, his son Lawrence “Black” Ardoin took over the family business, which has since been passed on to Chris Ardoin.

When John Delafose passed away a few years ago, his son Geno was well-versed in the game and was able to step in with relative ease.

For many years, Queen Ida was the sole female performer in zydeco; she has just been joined by Rosie Ledet.

He created a double backbeat that spread like wildfire across the zydeco community. Almost all zydeco concerts now feature at least one Beau Jocue-style tune, which has become standard. Zydeco has incorporated elements of funk, reggae, and rap.

What’s the point of the project?What is it good for?

This initiative will be beneficial to a variety of organizations. The majority of the time, I view it as a tool for musicologists who are interested in Cajun and Zydeco music. A database will enable a researcher to access recordings by musician, song title, or album title using a variety of search criteria. “How many times has Michael Doucet recorded theValse de Kaplan?” and “Has Nathan Abshire ever recorded theQuelle Etoile?” are examples of questions that may be answered by searching. Despite the fact that Cajun and Zydeco music are rich terrain, there have been little scientific research on the genres.

It may also be used by musicians to seek recordings of songs in order to learn how to play them.

One listing that is analogous to this one is Richard Spottswood’s mammothEthnic Music on Record, which is a multi-volume printed work that lists all recordings of ethnic and foreign language music that have been released in the United States.

It is only available for a limited time period and cannot be searched as readily as a computerized database.


Barry Jean is wearing an acelet. This book examines the history and development of Cajun music. The University of Southwestern Louisiana’s Center forLouisiana Studies was established in 1989. John Broven is the author of this work. Louisiana’s Cajun Bayous are alive with music, so head south to hear it. Pelican Publishing Company, Gretna, Louisiana, 1983. French, Raymond E. Yaille, and the French language! Thunderstone Press, located in Lafayette, Louisiana, published this book in 1990. A total of 491 pages of transcribed Cajun music and lyrics for more than 250 songs are included.

  1. Crawfish Music: A Representation of a People Bluebird Press, Eunice, Louisiana, 1984.
  2. The hardcover version was republished in 1986.
  3. Richard Spottswood is a fictional character created by author Richard Spottswood.
  4. 1990, University of Illinois Press (Urbana, Illinois).
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Nathan Abshire is a writer who lives in the United Kingdom. Nathan Abshire is a Cajun legend, and this is his greatest work. Swallow CD SW-CD-6061, manufactured in 1991. Balfa, Dewey, and Marc Savoy are three of the most famous actors in the world. D. L. Menard is a fictional character created by D. L. Menard. In the midst of a green chene. Arhoolie CD 312, released in 1989. Balfa Brothers are a family of tavern owners and operators in the Balfa region of northern Italy. The Balfa Brothers perform traditional Cajun music in volumes I and II of their album.

  • Balfa Toujours.
  • Swallow CD 6110-2, released in 1993.
  • Let’s go to Lafayette.
  • Iry LeJeune is the author of this article.
  • Ace 428 was released in 1992.

Finally, it’s Friday. Swallow 6139 was released in 1997. Tasso. Come on over to my place. Swallow CD SW 6113-2, manufactured in 1994. Various artists are included. Fais do-do is a Cajun dancing gathering. Columbia University Press, CK 46784, 1994.

Louisiana Creole and Zydeco

Nathan Abshire is a writer who lives in Abshire, Massachusetts. Nathan Abshire’s greatest work. a Cajun legend. CD by Swallow, model number SW-CD-6061, released in 1991. Balfa, Dewey, and Marc Savoy are three of the most well-known figures in the world of fashion. D. L. Menard is a fictional character created by author D. L. Menard in the 1960s. A vert chene sits at the bottom of the stairs. 1989, Arhoolie CD 312, a self-titled release. Balfa Brothers are a family of tavern owners and operators in the Balfa region in southern Italy.

  1. Balfa Toujours.
  2. 1993, Swallow CD 6110-2 (Computerized Drum Set).
  3. Lafayette, here we come!
  4. Mr.
  5. Ace 428 was published in 1992.
  6. At long last, it’s Friday!
  7. Tasso.
  8. Swallow CD SW 6113-2, manufactured in 1994.
  9. It was published by Columbia in 1994 with the number CK 46784.

Mail order sources

Down Home Music Store is located at 10341 San Pablo Avenue in El Cerrito, California 94530 and can be reached at 510-525-2129 or 510-525-4819. Floyd’s Record Shop is located at P.O. Drawer 10, Ville Platte, LA 70586-4610 and may be reached at 800-738-8668, 318-363-2185, or by mail at Floyd’s Record Shop. SwallowMaison de Soul’s retail division is called SwallowMaison de Soul. It may be reached at 504-586-1094 or by fax at 504-586-8818. Louisiana Music Factory is located at 210 Decatur Street in New Orleans, Louisiana 70130.

A wealth of more material may be found at Wikipedia:Cajuns, which includes information on music, zydeco, and Louisiana Creole.

Bernard is the editor of TheEncyclopedia of Cajun Culture, which is available online.

Cajun and Zydeco Music Traditions

ARTICLESESSAYSThis article includes audio, video, and photographs. “>By Barry J. Ancelet Cajun music and zydeco music are two closely linked parallel music traditions that are often performed together. White Cajuns in south Louisiana create cajun music, while black Creoles of the same region create zydeco music. Cajun music and zydeco are two distinct genres of music. Both have common origins and inspirations, and there is a great deal of overlap in their respective repertoires and styles. While at the same time, each culture takes great pride in and care in preserving the unique individuality of its own musical expression, J’ai Ete Au Bal: Cajun and Zydeco Music of Louisiana is an excerpt from the film J’ai Ete Au Bal: Cajun and Zydeco Music of Louisiana.

  • Les Blank is in charge of the direction.
  • Cajun music is a fusion of the various cultural elements that may be found in southern Louisiana.
  • Wailing, terraced singing form was brought to the world by Native American Indians.
  • The guitar and a few of songs were subsequently given by the Spanish.
  • Dewey Balfa is the author of this piece.
  • From the album ‘Tit galop pour Mamou,’ which was released in 1992 by Rounder Records under the Trademark and label (CD6048).

The violin, which was a popular new instrument in France during the 17th century when the French emigrated to the New World, continued to dominate the instrumental tradition until German Jewish merchants on the south Louisiana prairies began importing diatonic accordions from Austria in the early 19th century, when the French emigrated from the New World to the Old World.

  1. A new generation of Anglo-American fiddle tunes and dances (reels, jigs, and hoedowns) were created by immigrants, while vocalists adapted English songs into their own language.
  2. Chris Ardoin is the author of this article.
  3. Regional and ethnic music was first recorded in the early twentieth century by commercial recording firms such as Decca, Columbia, RCA Victor, and Bluebird, which were based throughout the United States.
  4. At the start of the nineteenth century, popular and traditional culture were almost interchangeable in south Louisiana, but it wasn’t long until recorded musicians began to set the tone.
  5. Everyone was eager to hear the Cajun musicians who had recorded a record for the first time.
  6. Soon after, musicians such as the Breaux Brothers, the Walker Brothers, Dennis McGee and Sady Courville, Angelas Lejeune, and Mayus Lafleur joined the Falcons in establishing the style and repertory of Cajun music on record.
  7. At the Dewey Balfa Cajun and Creole Heritage Week at Chicot State Park, David Greely and Milton Vanicor were in attendance.

By the mid-1930s, the Americanization of south Louisiana had begun in earnest, and Cajun music reflected the strain on Cajun culture that had resulted from this process.

With the advent of rural electricity, country dance halls had access to sound amplification, which resulted in a shift in the forms of instrumental and vocal music.

However, it was only after World War II that Cajun culture and music began to revive.

Cajun musicians such as Iry Lejeune, Lawrence Walter, Austin Pitre, and Nathan Abshire responded to the growing need from Cajuns who were becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the loss of their cultural basis by creating their own music.

It did not, on the other hand, fully lose its rough, rustic character.

The rock and roll craze that erupted in the mid-1950s posed a direct danger to the revival’s survival.

Geno Delafose is a fictional character created by author Geno Delafose.

Country music, rock & roll, and Beatlemania were among the popular commercial sounds that threatened to supplant traditional Cajun music in the 1960s.

With the appearance of Cajun performers on the folk festival circuit, the tradition gained acceptance from a wider audience and became more well known.

It took him some time to persuade local recording firms to release traditional music alongside their more commercial offerings.

He also assisted in the organization of festivals and special performances to give new venues for Cajun artists and to reach out to a younger demographic.

In today’s world, when given the option, many young Cajuns choose to perform the music of their ancestors while also remaining connected to the popular American music scene.

Willis Prudhomme provided the photo for this article.

For his Bayou de Mysteres band, Richard recorded soulful renditions of traditional Cajun dance tunes as well as original arrangements of Cajun dance tunes.

As a result of their exhilarating fusion of traditional Cajun music and southern rockroll, Coteau attracted a significant number of young people.

Player de msica Clifton Chenier performs the Zydeco song “Zydeco are not salé.” Clifton Chenier is the author of this piece.

From the albums Zydeco Sont Pas Salé.

Permission has made use of this phrase.

Zachary Richard has kept his version of Cajun music current by incorporating contemporary trends such as reggae and rap into his performances.

At the same time, Wayne Toups is developing his own hard-driving ZydeCajun sound, preserving the spirit of his heroes.

The heavy metal Cajun band Mamou, led by Steve Lafleur, performs traditional waltzes through an electronic labyrinth of synthesizers and wa-wa pedals.

Steve Riley and Cory McCauley are two young musicians who purposefully play in the old-time traditional style, but they also incorporate innovative harmonies and arrangements into their performances.

CD B00005KJ15.


Cajun music is no longer considered a niche or a self-conscious choice; it is now considered a part of the mainstream music scene.

Cajun music may be heard at restaurants, on the radio, on television, and at weekend jam sessions, among other places.

J’ai Ete Au Bal: Cajun and Zydeco Music of Louisiana is an excerpt from the film J’ai Ete Au Bal: Cajun and Zydeco Music of Louisiana.

Les Blank is in charge of the direction.

In their attempts to transcribe the word performers used to describe Louisiana’s black French Creole music, ethnomusicologists, record producers, and filmmakers have used a variety of spellings.

The spelling zydeco was first used in print by ethnomusicologist MacCormack in the early 1960s, and it was the first time the term was used in print.

Outsiders have had a difficult time understanding the zydeco tradition because the language is either French or Creole.

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Native Louisiana Creoles explain that the wordzydeco comes from the expression ” Les haricots sont pas sale ” (“The beans aren’t salty”), which can be heard in many of the tradition’s songs and translates as “The beans aren’t salty.” According to Alan and John Lomaz’s recent research, the term, as well as the tradition, may have originated in Africa.

  1. It is possible that zydeco’s origins can be traced back to the languages of West African tribes that were impacted by the slave trade.
  2. Nathan Williams and the Zydeco Cha Chas are a Zydeco band from New Orleans.
  3. Throughout South Louisiana, the meaning of zydeco has expanded (or at least survived) to include dance as a social event as well as dance styles and the music that goes along with them.
  4. When zydeco is used in a more general sense, as a verb, it appears to have additional meanings, such as “Let’s zydeco them,” or “Let’s go zydeco.” Community musicians are referred to as zydeco kings, queens, and princes, among other titles.
  5. Zydeco is also a term that alludes to difficult times and, by extension, the music that helped people get through such times.
  6. Some of the bluesier elements of Zydeco are derived from the melodies and rhythms of the delta blues heritage.
  7. When Amédé Ardoin became the world’s first black Creole artist to record in the late 1920s, he played a pivotal role in the creation of Zydeco music and culture.

Ardoin’s enormously popular regional recordings paved the way for subsequent black performers and influenced many Cajun musicians as well, most notably Austin Pitre, Iry Lejuene, and later Michael Doucet.

What we now know as zydeco is the culmination of years of experimenting that took place between the late 1940s and the early 1950s.

Clifton Chenier was a pivotal influence in the development of current zydeco music and culture.

Also a pioneer in using the piano accordion, he provided access to the entire chromatic scale, allowing the tradition to expand its repertoire.

Some black Creole duos, such Delton Broussard and Calvin Carriere, as well as Bois-sec Ardoin and Canray Fontenot, have preserved an early pre-zydeco rural black Creole sound that predates the arrival of Zydeco.

Over the last few years, second and third generation performers (Alton “Rocking Dopsie” Rubin, Lawrence Ardoin, John Delafosse, Leo Thomas, the Sam Brothers, Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural, Sidney Semien, Lynn August, and Terrance Semien) have pushed zydeco in bold new directions.

The rest of the band leaves the stage while the accordionist and the percussionists beat out a bouncing rhythm on their instruments.

These indispensible elements reveal the origins of the style, which can be traced back to the cultural creolization of Afro-Caribbean and Franco-American traditions.

He is also the chair of the department.

Written in 1991 for a booklet called Musical Roots of the South, which followed a series of regional music tours featuring traditional performers funded by the Southern Arts Federation’s Regional Folk Arts Program, which is now known as South Arts, this piece was initially published in 1991.

Cajun Music

David Simpson’s Cajun and Zydeco Photos provided the images for this post. D.L. Menard is a fictional character created by D.L. Menard. David Simpson is a writer who lives in the United Kingdom (Photographer) C ajun music is a type of folk music that originated in southwestern Louisiana and is characterized by the use of accordion and violin. While the majority of people associate Cajun music with Louisiana’s Acadian settlers and their descendants, the Cajuns, in reality, Cajun music refers to an indigenous combination with complicated origins in Irish, African, German, Appalachian, and Acadian traditions, as well as Acadian culture.

  1. Zydeco music, on the other hand, has traditionally been inspired by Western swing, rock ‘n’ roll, and country music, while Cajun music has historically been influenced by rock ‘n’ roll, blues, and hip hop.
  2. Instrumentation Cajun music is distinguished by the sole use of the diatonic accordion in its compositions (zydeco musicians, in contrast, use either the triple-row, chromatic, or diatonic accordion).
  3. They may have been brought to Louisiana by German settlers, though the earliest documentary evidence finds them in the hands of African American musicians.
  4. Accordions are the most prominent instrument in Cajun music, and they are frequently used to open and close a song.
  5. Despite the fact that a number of tunings may be used, Cajun artists often play in standard violin tuning (GDAE) or “tuned-down,” which is one whole step lower than standard tuning, respectively.
  6. Other instruments, such as the pedal steel guitar and the triangle (sometimes known as the ‘tit fer), are also often used.
  7. A special twin-fiddling technique connected with Cajun music also exists, in which one fiddler performs a melody while the other adds rhythmic accompaniment, often known as “seconding,” to the song.

Melodic instruments like as steel and six-string guitars, on the other hand, can also be employed.

Two-steps are quicker songs that are played in a 2/4 time signature, whereas waltzes are slower songs that are played in a 3/4 time signature.

The “swing” vibe of Cajun two-steps is also possible, a result of the historical impact of Western swing on the Cajun style.

A cappella ballads, some of which date back hundreds of years, have survived into the twentieth century, mostly in the private, domestic repertory of female singers, who have performed them in their homes and on their radio shows.

Songs Cajun music’s present repertoire comprises hundreds of traditional tunes as well as an ever-expanding list of newer compositions and arrangements.

Famous composers, such as D.L.

Young composers are continuing to produce songs in French and contribute new songs to the repertory, despite the fact that proficiency in southwestern Louisiana’s vernacular French is declining as a result of the extinction of local speakers.

In particular, the song ” Jolie Blonde,” which was initially recorded in 1946 by Cajun swing fiddler Harry Choates and afterwards recorded by a variety of other singers, became a national smash and was covered by a number of other performers.

Newman’s “Lâche pas la Patate” and D.L.

Despite the fact that these hits have waned in favor among the general public, they have been preserved as part of the traditional repertory.

Due to the fact that they were among the first recordings of the music to become publicly available, these early recordings have come to represent a “classic” time in music history.

Following World War II, Iry LeJeune’s tremendous accordion playing and singing rekindled interest in the accordion once more.

As part of the nationwide folk revival, Aldus Roger and the Lafayette Playboys contributed to the fusion of LeJeune’s driving accordion style and Walker’s smoother sensibilities in the 1960s.

The Cajun Hank Williams was a title given to D.L.

Beginning with the triumphant performance of Dewey Balfa, Louis Lejeune, and Gladdy Thibodeaux at the 1964 Newport Folk Festival, Cajun musicians began increasingly traveling and performing abroad, typically through the newly established folk festival circuit, which became increasingly popular in the 1970s.

The Mamou Playboys, a husband and wife combo that formed in the late 1980s and continued into the 1990s, explore both traditional and progressive sounds, while Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys explore both traditional and progressive sounds.

Balfa Toujours (led by Dewey Balfa’s daughter, Christine), the Pine Leaf Boys, and other groups harkened back to the early swing era’s experimentation, while Balfa Toujours (led by Dewey Balfa’s daughter, Christine) and the Lost Bayou Ramblers harkened back to the dancehall styles of the previous decades.

Local events such as the annualFestivals Acadien et Créoleor the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival, as well as dance halls such as La Poussièrein Breaux Bridge and Randol’s Restaurant in Lafayette, feature live Cajun music.


Joshua C. Caffery is an American author and poet.

Suggested Reading

Barry Jean is wearing an acelet. Cajun and Creole Music Makers (also known as Cajun and Creole Musicians or Cajun and Creole Music Makers) 2nd printing. The University Press of Mississippi published a book in Jackson in 1999 titled “Cajun Music,” written by Barry Jean Ancelet. In the Spring 1994 issue of The Journal of American Folklore, vol. 107, no. 424, pp. 285–303. Brasseaux, Ryan A., and Kevin S. Fontenot are the editors of this volume. Two StepSwing, Accordions, Fiddles, and Other Instruments: A Cajun Music Reader.

Francois, Raymond E.Yé Yaille Chère: Traditional Cajun Dance Music.

Ann A.

It is the music of the Cajuns that reflects the people who make it.

Listening Recommendations Balfa, Dewey, Marc Savoy, and D.L.

Under the shade of a green oak tree.

Arhoolie Records released the album in 1993 in El Cerrito.

The Best of Beausoleil is a collection of short stories.

Arhoolie Records, El Cerrito, California, 1997.

Cajun’s Greatest: The Definitive Collection is a compilation of Cajun’s greatest works.

Dennis McGee is the author of this work.

Yazoo Records released an audio CD in 1994.

Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys are among the best in the business.

Rounder / Umgd, published in 2008.

Additional Data

Entry Published January 4, 2011
Entry Last Updated September 25, 2020
Category Music
Regions Southwest Louisiana (Acadiana)
Time Periods Antebellum Period,Bourbon Era,Civil War Period,Contemporary Period,French Colonial Period,Late-20th Century,Long Era,Pre-Columbian Era,Reconstruction Period,Spanish Colonial Period,U.S. Territorial Period
Index letter C

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