The Library of Congress (U.S. default national library) has announced that they have made available to the public the 1934 Louisiana recordings made by John and Alan Lomax.  The song index page lists title and performer by parish of origin; parish is what we call counties in Louisiana.  Within each parish are the performer’s name and the song.  These are not downloads; there is an embedded player for listening. There’s also am image of the index card used to record and track the recording.  And there are way more recordings here than what we’ve heard in the two commercial releases, so this is very exciting news for fans and musicians. Go and be inspired! 

Well, it wasn’t a Cajun accordion, but looks like a double- or triple-row used in Mexican-Texas border music, Norteño.  But it was full of meth!  This accordion was found in the possession of an eighteen-year-old, probably late for band practice.  Strange stuff!

No accordion here, this is a version of BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet’s long-time favorite song Zydeco gris gris.  Since Jimmy Breaux left the band, BEauSoleil has not had a regular accordionist.  At the June 2014 Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival, it was Jo-El Sonnier doing the honors.  Wonder if they’ll add a regular accordion player to the band.  BeauSoleil tours a lot, so look for ‘em in your town soon!  And it was recorded underground in Tennessee.  

Philadelphia radio station WXPN-FM has announced a 15-month long exploration of zydeco music.  Writers will include Herman Fuselier, Scott Billington, Ben Sandmel, Nick Spitzer, Tsitsi Jaji, and Jim Hobbs.  Here’s the press release from this week:

Multimedia project will bring significant Zydeco musicians and culture to Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (JUNE 17, 2014): Philadelphia public radio station WXPN 88.5 FM will bring the lively music and culture of Zydeco to new audiences in Philadelphia and beyond with its multimedia Zydeco Crossroads project, supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Zydeco Crossroads will present Zydeco music as a living cultural journey while examining its roots and cultural traditions through a 15-month series of concerts, educational events, radio specials, and a new documentary film.

The grant will also support the creation of a new, content-rich website launching in September that will feature exclusive, field-gathered audio and video, music streams, performance footage and regular original contributions from some of the genre’s most accomplished authorities and scholars. Additional events, some of which will be free, and elements to engage audiences such as Zydeco/Cajun dance lessons, film discussions, a sampler CD and more, will also help to illuminate the socioeconomic context of Zydeco and the Creole culture.

“The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage has made it possible for us to bring leading Zydeco artists to Philadelphia and expose them to a wider audience, which will help foster a broader understanding and appreciation of this unique American music,” said WXPN General Manager Roger LaMay. “Our project partnerships with Allons Danser, Philly’s home for Zydeco/Cajun music and dance, the Philadelphia Folksong Society, and the African American Museum in Philadelphia will also access additional audiences who connect to Zydeco in distinct ways.”

LaMay and WXPN Assistant General Manager Bruce Warren are leveraging their experience in developing innovative broadcast series concepts, live event collaborations, and digital content platforms to produce Zydeco Crossroads.

Zydeco is regional music of southwest Louisiana, known for its energetic rhythms driven by lively accordion and rub board instrumentation, joyful dancing and deep roots in Spanish, Creole and Native American cultures that are today being influenced by hip-hop and R&B. These all will be explored by WXPN’s syndicated World Cafe program host David Dye through interviews with prominent Zydeco music figures onsite in Lafayette, Louisiana. Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Robert Mugge, known for his previous documentaries about specific musicians and genres, including blues and regional Louisiana music, will join Dye there in order to capture content for a new film that will tell the story of Zydeco, using its musicians as a guide.

Attendees of WXPN’s annual XpoNential Music Festival taking place in Camden, NJ July 25 through July 27 will be introduced to Zydeco Crossroads through displays and takeaway materials, as well as a performance by noted Zydeco artist C.J. Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band, named by Billboard as “the heir to the Zydeco throne.” A rich schedule of concerts by Zydeco artists and special events will then launch in September and culminate in a Zydeco Crossroads Weekend in late 2015 that will include the screening of the new Robert Mugge documentary film.

More information will be released about Zydeco Crossroads activities and events through Fall 2015. For more information about WXPN, visit http://www.xpn.org.

# # #

ABOUT WXPN

WXPN, the nationally recognized leader in Triple A radio and the premier guide for discovering new and significant artists in rock, blues, roots and folk, is the non-commercial, member-supported radio service of the University of Pennsylvania. WXPN produces World Cafe®, public radio’s most popular program of popular music hosted by David Dye and syndicated by NPR, and the Peabody Award-winning Kids Corner hosted by Kathy O’Connell. WXPN also produces XPoNential Radio on XPN2 stream as its secondary radio channel in HD. WXPN serves the greater Philadelphia area at 88.5 FM, the Lehigh Valley at 104.9, Worton/Baltimore at 90.5 FM, Lancaster/York at 88.7 FM, Harrisburg at 99.7 FM and the world via online streaming at XPN.org.

ABOUT THE PEW CENTER FOR ARTS & HERITAGE

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage (the Center), established in 2005, is dedicated to stimulating a vibrant cultural community in the greater Philadelphia region. The Center makes project grants in two areas, Performance and Exhibitions & Public Interpretation, as well as awarding grants to individual artists through our Pew Fellowships. The Center also makes Advancement grants, substantial awards to high-performing organizations seeking to make lasting improvements to their programming, audience engagement, and financial health. Each year, Center funding makes possible numerous performing arts events, as well as history and visual arts exhibitions and other public programs for audiences in Philadelphia and its surrounding counties. The Center is also a hub for research and knowledge-sharing on issues critical to cultural practice.

Come to New Orleans for the best in Cajun and zydeco music Saturday, June 14 and Sunday, June 15, 2014!  The Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival is in Armstrong Park this year, not by the Old Mint.  There’s food and free dance lessons.  Lineup:

Saturday, June 14
11:00 am to 12:15 pm   Sean Ardoin & Zydekool
12:45 pm to 1:45 pm     Les Freres Michot
2:15 pm to 3:15 pm      Jeffery Broussard
3:45 pm to 4:45 pm      Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers
5:00 pm to 6:15 pm      Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie
6:45 pm to 8:00 pm      Buckwheat Zydeco

Sunday, June 15
11:00 am to 12:15 pm  Bruce Daigrepont
12:45 pm to 1:45 pm    Sunpie & the La. Sunspots
2:15 pm to 3:15 pm      Sweet Crude
3:45 pm to 4:45 pm      Lost Bayou Ramblers
5:15 pm to 6:15 pm      Beausoleil avec Michael Doucet with special guest Jo-El Sonnier
6:45 pm to 8:00 pm      Rosie Ledet

Best of all, it’s free!  If you snooze, you lose!

One hour and twenty-six minutes of zydeco excitement; here’s Buckwheat Zydeco in Milwaukee.  This was a student produced project with Student Ops, and they did a great job!  This isn’t someone with a single low-res camera, it’s HD all the way with student producer Morgan Kauphusman and student director Justin Avery..  There’s all the performer to audience interaction, as well as a big band, with trumpet and saxophone.  Eh toi! 

YouTube user Louisiana Stars has posted a video of a 2014 performance of “Let’s Go!” by Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas.   This is the title track of his CD “Let’s Go!” The title says it’s a Mardi Gras gig, but doesn’t say where.  Note the sax and trombone players, not a regular part of his band.  As usual, Nathan Williams wears his trademark hat and sunglasses and does a little dance step as he plays; that’s not easy with a big old piano-key accordion strapped to his chest!    Williams is an under-appreciated musician, with eight main albums released by Rounder, and three live performance at Jazz Fest, as well as many individual tracks on compilation albums.  As he says:  “You got to wonder where you’re going but never forget where you came from.”

Let’s go (Rounder, 2000)
I’m a Zydeco Hog (live at Rock ‘n’ Bowl) (Rounder, 1997)
Follow Me Chicken (Rounder, 1993)
Your Mama Don’t Know (Rounder, 1992)
Steady Rock (Rounder, 1992)

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival 2011, 2012 and 2013 (https://www.munckmusic.com/wms/jazzfest/index.html – search artist in pull-down box)

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