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What is Zydeco?

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murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 10 Jun 99 - 08:00 AM
alison 10 Jun 99 - 08:14 AM
reggie miles 10 Jun 99 - 09:44 AM
catspaw49 10 Jun 99 - 10:00 AM
Mudjack 10 Jun 99 - 10:06 AM
Sheye 10 Jun 99 - 10:12 AM
Dale Rose 10 Jun 99 - 10:44 AM
10 Jun 99 - 11:14 AM
murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 11 Jun 99 - 12:09 AM
catspaw49 11 Jun 99 - 12:35 AM
Jo Taylor 11 Jun 99 - 07:44 PM
murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 11 Jun 99 - 09:22 PM
Dale Rose 11 Jun 99 - 10:11 PM
murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 12 Jun 99 - 04:54 AM
Azizi 14 Oct 06 - 07:31 PM
Azizi 14 Oct 06 - 07:32 PM
Azizi 14 Oct 06 - 07:40 PM
catspaw49 14 Oct 06 - 07:50 PM
GUEST,Jack Campin 14 Oct 06 - 07:57 PM
Azizi 14 Oct 06 - 08:16 PM
Peace 15 Oct 06 - 02:59 AM
Azizi 15 Oct 06 - 04:11 AM
Alexis 15 Oct 06 - 05:05 AM
Darowyn 15 Oct 06 - 05:24 AM
Barry Finn 15 Oct 06 - 12:16 PM
Azizi 15 Oct 06 - 01:59 PM
McGrath of Harlow 15 Oct 06 - 02:02 PM
Darowyn 15 Oct 06 - 06:23 PM
Azizi 15 Oct 06 - 08:24 PM
McGrath of Harlow 15 Oct 06 - 09:12 PM
Azizi 15 Oct 06 - 09:22 PM
M.Ted 15 Oct 06 - 09:38 PM
Azizi 15 Oct 06 - 10:19 PM
Azizi 15 Oct 06 - 10:45 PM
M.Ted 16 Oct 06 - 09:08 AM
Azizi 16 Oct 06 - 09:46 AM
Azizi 16 Oct 06 - 10:08 AM
GUEST,Paul Burke 16 Oct 06 - 10:13 AM
Azizi 16 Oct 06 - 10:35 AM
GUEST,Sid Perks 16 Oct 06 - 11:02 AM
Azizi 16 Oct 06 - 11:51 AM
Kaleea 16 Oct 06 - 01:43 PM
M.Ted 16 Oct 06 - 05:19 PM
GUEST,Jack Campin 16 Oct 06 - 05:41 PM
M.Ted 16 Oct 06 - 06:13 PM
McGrath of Harlow 17 Oct 06 - 06:01 PM
Azizi 18 Oct 06 - 12:19 AM
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Subject: What is Zydeco?
From: murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 10 Jun 99 - 08:00 AM

I keep running into a classification "Zydeco Music" in catalogues. It seems to be coupled with Cajun music. What is it?

Actually I was too embarassed to make a thread with this rather BS'y question; but I have run into the phrase "Playing the Air Guitar" twice in the last few weeks. In neither case was the context enough for me to guess what it means. What does it mean?

Thanks,

Murray


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: alison
Date: 10 Jun 99 - 08:14 AM

Hi Murray,

Remember when you were young and used to stand in front of the mirror playing an imaginary electric guitar along with your favourite lead breaks, (or playing a tennis racquet for that matter)? Well that is air guitar.....

I can play a pretty mean air drum kit.....

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: reggie miles
Date: 10 Jun 99 - 09:44 AM

Murray, check out Clifton Chenier the king of zydeco. He invented the now popular form but unfortunately never was able to sustain a living playing it as some who have come after have. Clifton and his band played at Tipitina's in New Orleans while I was there last and the band I was working with at the time, Washboard Jackson's Hot Damn Jug Band, opened for him at that show. I remember talking to him about why he did not play more zydeco himself and he explained he couldn't get enough work playing it so he turned to playing rock and roll. It made me feel sad that this innovative pioneering musical visionary had to support himself in this way. I remember dancing that evening like I never have before or after and everytime between songs when Clifton would ask what the crowd wanted to hear I would yell in a loud voice ZYDECO just so he would play another. Another small but interesting point about his band was that Clifton played with his brother, a washboard player, who's washboard form has now become the standard for all zydeco style bands. I'm talking about the one piece stainless washboards that hook over your shoulders. Check out any zydeco band and you'll find a washboard player playing one of them. How could one small combo from the deep south manage to be so insightful and yet never seem to truly profit from their genius? Alas, that is the bewildering side of the music business.

Bewildered and befuddled, Reggie


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: catspaw49
Date: 10 Jun 99 - 10:00 AM

Interesting Reggie. That kind of thing seems to happen in many forms of music. But hey, you didn't describe Zydeco so I'll take a shot.

One part Basin Street, one part jug band, one part 50's rock, one part Dixieland, six parts Cajun, with a dash of reggae.

Whatever it is, I like it.

catspaw


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: Mudjack
Date: 10 Jun 99 - 10:06 AM

Murray
Cajun with a lot more zest. Once your ears have absorbed its rhythms and beat, you'll be hooked. My first experience was Queen Ida and her Zydeco Band. A concert that defies setting still. We danced in our chairs.
I believe Zydeco has Cajun origins and Clifton Chenier as Reggie says gets all the credit for it's invention in the same way Bill Monroe was the father of Bluegrass.
This is not a BS category and belongs in the most serious of music threads.


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: Sheye
Date: 10 Jun 99 - 10:12 AM

Check out Buckwheat Zydeco at:

http://www.buckwheatzydeco.com/

welcome to the bayou!

Sheye


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: Dale Rose
Date: 10 Jun 99 - 10:44 AM

This takes a lot of fun out of "explaining", but here is a pretty good definition. http://www.cajunculture.com/Other/zydeco.htm Use the home link at the bottom of the page to explore other things Cajun.


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From:
Date: 10 Jun 99 - 11:14 AM

Bloody 'ard, that's what Zydeco is (at least the dance workshop I went to was!!!). It's like Cajun but with hot sweaty sex involved (not literally of course - not THAT kind of workshop...)

Kris


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 11 Jun 99 - 12:09 AM

Thanks Alison. I might be guilty of playing the air computer at times.

I know that you can't describe music with words, and I will follow the various suggestions to hear examples. When was it "invented"? I assume from what reggie says that it is not that old.

Murray


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: catspaw49
Date: 11 Jun 99 - 12:35 AM

Murray, you're right about describing music with words, but you know, I really enjoyed trying to in my previous post. Almost makes me want to start some threads like, "Describe Bluegrass" or whatever. Really does get you thinking!

catspaw


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: Jo Taylor
Date: 11 Jun 99 - 07:44 PM

Audiences contain....air guitarists...air bass players...air drummers...even air sax players.... but I never have seen an air melodeon player. Why? :-)
Jo


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 11 Jun 99 - 09:22 PM

Catspaw. I agree it is fun to try to describe music with words; because we can share our reaction to it that way; but I am not a good enough musician/folklorist/historian to take the mixture and really imagine what it sounds like.

Does anyone know where the word "zydeco" comes from. Is it an acronym, or a fusing together of several words? I'll admit, I wasn't in the New Orleans scene; but I never heard the term while I lived in America (until 1975). I have only run into it in record catalogues.

The same with the word "Klezmer". I know that kind of music and have even been involved in it; but I never heard the term until I read it in some music catalogue or other.

Murray


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: Dale Rose
Date: 11 Jun 99 - 10:11 PM

check the link I gave, Murray.


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 12 Jun 99 - 04:54 AM

Thanks Dale. That is fascinating reading. I have been hesitant to click on links when I have a slow connection and am using my text browser because after waiting forever I get the message "this site needs frames"; but the information on that site was perfectly clear without any "high tech". I notice that they refer to the phrase "the beans are not salty" showing up as far away as French colonies in the India Ocean. Sigh, maybe someday I will get up of my ol' rusty dusty and look over some of these Islands. They are not so far away. In fact some school kids go to them for their practical French speaking experience.

Murray


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: Azizi
Date: 14 Oct 06 - 07:31 PM

Here's a definition of Zydeco music that is from the link posted above:

"Zydeco is a popular accordion-based musical genre hailing from the prairies of south-central and southwest Louisiana. Contrary to popular belief, it is not Cajun in origin; rather, zydeco is the music of south Louisiana's Creoles of Color, who borrowed many of zydeco's defining elements from Cajun music. (In turn, Cajun music borrowed many of its traits from Creole music.) The word zydeco (also rendered zarico, zodico, zordico, and zologo) derives from the French expression les haricots, meaning "beans." Folk etymology holds that the genre obtained this name from the common Creole expression "Les haricots sont pas salés" ("The beans aren't salty"). This phrase has appeared in many Creole songs, and serves as the title of a popular zydeco recording (also called "Zydeco est pas salé")."

-snip-

That definition also answers the question that was asked in 1999: "What does the term 'Zydeco' mean?"

Here's another definition of Zydeco music from http://www.zydecoevents.com/History.html

"For the uninitiated, zydeco is most simply (if somewhat simplistically) described as a combination of Louisiana French accordion, Afro-Caribbean rhythms, and African American urban blues, performed by, and primarily for, the black Creoles of southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas. Notwithstanding its roots in older rural traditions, the genre as currently recognized and popularly acclaimed represents a relatively recent folk/popular syncretism forged in urban, semi-professional performance venues such as the neighborhood taverns and Catholic halls of Houston's French town district, an enclave attesting to the ongoing rural-to-urban migration of twentieth century Creoles.'"

-snip-

Also, see this description of Zydeco music from http://encarta.msn.com/media_461567966_761560280_-1_1/Zydeco_Music_of_Louisiana.html :

"...zydeco music is the accordion-driven music of Creoles living in southeastern Louisiana and eastern Texas. Early zydeco featured a one-row button accordion and a "rub board," or frottoir (a washboard played with spoons or beer-can openers). Contemporary zydeco now features drums, rhythm guitar, bass, and a larger piano-style accordion."

-snip-

http://www.cajunradio.org/listenold.html includes this information about the history of Zydeco music:

"The first known recording containing the word "Zydeco" was the recording by "Jimmy Peters and The Ring Dance Singers" in 1934 as part of the historic Alan Lomax recordings. The word "Zydeco" is actually the words "Les Haricots". Phonetically speaking, the "S" from "Les" gets rolled over to the beginning of the word "Haricots" giving a pronounciation of "Zharicots". In french, you don't hardly hear the ending "ts" resulting in Zharico. The emphasis is on the 1st and 3rd parts of the word, hence ZHAR- i -CO. The "i" in the middle is pronounced like and "e", not like a long "I". When the phonetic "Zhareco" was translated into the written version it then was easily mispelled as "zydeco". Thus, the phrase "Les Haricots" which is french for " the snapbeans" is equivalent to the present day spelling of the word "zydeco".

"The first known recording containing the word "zydeco" was the song called "J'ai fait tout Le tour du pays" and was done in a Jure' (bluesy) style of chanting. The phrase "les haricots sont pas sale' " is repeated often. This translates into the phrase "the snapbeans they are not salty". This is an old phrase that implies that times are so tough that the person could not afford any salt meat to put in their beans. Thus, the meaning that times are rough. This song is on a CD recording on the Rounder label called "J'ai Été Au Bal, Vol. 2" (I Went to the Dance, Vol. 2) Various Artists CD/CASS 332 (p.s.) The song on this CD is the same exact song, but rounder labeled the song as "Zydeco Sont Pas Sales" by Jimmy Peters and The Ring Dance Singers..."

-snip-

That last excerpt ended with mention of a website that contained a sound clip of that song. Unfortunately, that URL no longer works.


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: Azizi
Date: 14 Oct 06 - 07:32 PM

Here's some links to Internet sound clips of Zydeco music:

Cajun and Zydeco Music On-Line

Ay-Tete Fee aka Eh! Petitte Fille" (Clifton Chenier)


Also, see this listing of Zydeco musicians/groups, The specific pages include photographs and recording information:
Contemporary Cajun, Creole, and Zydeco Musicians


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: Azizi
Date: 14 Oct 06 - 07:40 PM

Mardi Gras Indian chants & songs is a genre of music that is related to Zydeco music.

Folks interested in Zydeco music may want to also read [and post to]this Mudcat thread:
Iko Iko


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: catspaw49
Date: 14 Oct 06 - 07:50 PM

Thanks for all the info and links to this older thread Azizi. The next person will have a lot more info thanks to your posts. Much appreciated. Too often after a thread answers enough to satisfy the poster (in this case Murray in Oz) it gets dropped. Glad to see your additions here.

And I'm sure my old friend Murray would thank you too but sadly he left us a few years ago to play air harp with the angels. He was a great 'Catter!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 14 Oct 06 - 07:57 PM

Further to Murray's messages: if people he knows go to the Indian Ocean French island to learn French they are going to come back with something *very* weird. I have basic French, but my dentist and his wife/assistant speak Mauritian French patois in their surgery and the only word I have ever figured out is "amalgam".

Zydeco is everything I least like about cajun with added screaming distorted amplification to make damn sure that any trace of tune that might have survived the metronomic chug of the arrangements gets thoroughly obliterated.


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: Azizi
Date: 14 Oct 06 - 08:16 PM

Thanks, catspaw!

I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to know Murray in Oz. But his memory lives on through his posts...

****

"Zydeco is everything I least like about cajun with added screaming distorted amplification to make damn sure that any trace of tune that might have survived the metronomic chug of the arrangements gets thoroughly obliterated".
-GUEST,Jack Campin

Jack, you will be happy to know that Zydeco is not Cajun music.

And with regard to your dislike of Zydeco music, there's an old African American saying-perhaps you have seen it in print if not heard it spoken-"Different strokes for different folks".
As a result of posting on Mudcat, I learned an equivalent saying YMMV "Your mileage may vary".

Best wishes,

Azizi


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: Peace
Date: 15 Oct 06 - 02:59 AM

Black Creole . . . .


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: Azizi
Date: 15 Oct 06 - 04:11 AM

Lafayette (LA) Daily Advertiser, December 19, 1996 - Creole Music has more information on the history of Zydeco music.

Here's an excerpt:

"Like Cajun music, the seeds of zydeco were planted on wooden porches, beneath shade trees, in small rural clubs or wherever Acadiana's Creole families gathered for weddings, anniversaries, holidays, or Saturday house parties.

Some of the first Creole musicians to touch the rest of the country and eventually the world with the early sounds of zydeco were accordionist Alphonse "Bois Sec" Ardoin and fiddler Canray Fontenot.

Ardoin and Fontenot were the catalysts in the transformation of so-called "la la music," that is, Creole house party music, into what is now termed "traditional zydeco music." Ardoin and Fontenot carried the zydeco standard until after World War II when the electrified sounds of the original King of Zydeco, Clifton Chenier, began attracting crowds to clubs and festivals.

Chenier added a mix of blues and jazz to the la la gumbo pot and developed a sound that today's zydeco musicians refer to as "traditional." By the mid-1970s, Chenier and his Red Hot Louisiana Band had developed a cult following, on the West Coast, England and Europe.

Peers like Good Rockin' Dopsie, Boo Zoo Chavis, John Delafose, and Good Rockin' Sydney helped Chenier spread the spice of Acadiana's Creole life through their music. However, it wasn't until Good Rockin' Sydney's "Don't Mess With My Toot-Toot" that a zydeco selection actually made it onto America's pop music charts"...
-snip-

As to the referents "Creole" and "Black Creole" as currently used in Louisiana and as historically used [for people as opposed to the linguist's term "creole language"] see the series of articles at
http://www.carencrohighschool.org/LA_Studies/Black_Creole_Articles.htm

That website also has links to articles on Cajuns. See this excerpt from the homepage of that website. That excerpt provides a definition of "Cajun" and other information about this project:

"Cultures of Acadiana; A Look at the French, Cajun, Black Creole, and Native American Cultures of Louisiana

This site is a result of ongoing study by the Louisiana Studies (Sociology) classes of Carencro High School [Carencro is pronounced karen crow] of the cultures of Acadiana. Acadiana is a 13 parish (NOTE to non-Louisianians: our parishes are the same things as your counties) area in south Louisiana where French exiles from Nova Scotia (known to them as Acadia) settled after their deportation by the British in 1755. The descendents of those exiles are now known as Cajuns (a corruption of the name "Acadians"). The town of Carencro developed from one of the earliest Cajun settlements and is located immediately north of the city of Lafayette, considered by many to be the unofficial capital of Acadiana.

The Cultures of Acadiana site contains over 425 articles and features on Cajuns, Black Creole, Native American, and "French but non-Cajun" cultures. Additional sections on Cajun/Creole Humor and Mardi Gras have been added..."

-snip-

It's noted in that page that the website was "developed by the Louisiana Studies (Sociology) classes of Carencro High School (1996-2000) and maintained by CHS' Web Mastering classes (2000-2001)."

I don't find any information about whether the site has been an ongoing project since 2002.

Since I know nothing about the geographical location of Lafayette, Louisiana compared to New Orleans, I was curious about the impact of the devastation of the 2005 hurricanes Katrina & Rita on the city of Lafayette, Louisiana, on Carencro High School. As a result of googling, I found out that Lafayette must not be near New Orleans as Baton Rouge is the nearest city to Lafayette with a population of 200,000+ and Houston, Texas is the nearest city to Lafayette of a population of 1,000,000+.

http://www.city-data.com/city/Lafayette-Louisiana.html

But there's no doubt, that Hurricane Katrina & Hurricane Rita have had a profound effect on the people who made Zydeco music and on zydeco culture.

I'm interested in learning more about the history and the present day realities of Zydeco music & other cultural indices.

I'll post what I find here and hope that others do the same.


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: Alexis
Date: 15 Oct 06 - 05:05 AM

Just a slight digression - annie proux wrote a book called Accordion Crimes that mentions this type of music a lot -
Alex


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: Darowyn
Date: 15 Oct 06 - 05:24 AM

At a cajun/zydeco dance weekend, we were taught that the difference between cajun and zydeco was about six inches. Cajun dances maintain a touch of propriety. Zydeco is ABOUT touch!
There is another sub genre too- Fay do do . Just like Zydeco, it takes its name from a single song. "Fais dodo" is French baby talk for "go to sleep", and the song became so popular that it became the name of the style.
Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 15 Oct 06 - 12:16 PM

In the British West Indies & neighborhoor island groups "DoDo" is a term from an attractive woman.

"Darling dudu I'm taking yo with me
St. Peter St. Peter down at Courland Bay"

from the BWI shanty 'Down AT Courland Bay'

Barry


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: Azizi
Date: 15 Oct 06 - 01:59 PM

Re: the term dudu- I remember asking someone in the Caribbean about that term, but can't remember who it was or where they were from. I wonder if that word is still used. There's no entry for it {either spelled dodo or dudu in Internet glossaries of Jamaican patois {patwa}such as http://www.jamaicans.com/speakja/glossary.shtml or http://destee.com/forums/showthread.php?t=35287 or
http://www.jamaicans.com/speakja/glossary.htm

Of course, the word dudu could have come from a Caribbean patois other than Jamiaca.

I had a book on Jamaican slang but it seems to have "jumped up" and hid itself from me. If it ever decides to show up, I'll check to see if this word is included.


By the way, the term "ndudu" was used to "brother" {and ndada} ws used to mean "sister" in an afrocentric after-school & summer school program which was led by a woman I know. Those referent were said to be from the Swahili language [East & Central Africa]. It will come as no surprise to note that the word "ndudu" caused countless sniggers from the children who were supposed to use it with a straight face.

Not that it matters, but my opinion is that some names and words don't work well in other languages for sometimes obvious reasons-"dudu" is one of those words.

Perhaps off topic-and perhaps not-see this information on
Dudu Tucci, Brazilian percussionist:

"Dudu Tucci da Silva, was born 1955 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Both
parents were opera singers; he was thus introduced to music at a very early age. While still a child, he drummed for Umbanda ceremonies. After school, he studied classical percussion, flute and musical science at Brooklin's Paulista conservatory. Traveling through Latin America in the mid seventies, he studied the musical traditions of various and the spirituality embedded in the music.

His friendship with the Brazilian composer Arrigo Barnabé, which began the 80s, led him to the Berlin Jazz Festival, invited by George Gruntz. Since then, he has lived in Germany.

Working with the dancer Ismael Ivo in an acclaimed production
"Ritual of a Body in the Moon" between 1982 and 1985, he became a member of Reinhard Flahtischler's ethnic percussion project "Megadrums", touring through Germany, Switzerland and Australia. He was honored as well on the Asia tour with the Korean drum group Samul Nori.

Dudu Tucci is a very popular teacher in Germany, many if not most of the 50 Samba schools now in existence in Germany were opened on his initiative. Together with Tiago de Oliveira Pinto he published his book "Samba and Sambistas in Brazil".

"In a tour de force through Brazil" street rhythms, Dudu Tucci presents a selection of sophisticated Samba arrangements and Samba Reggaes, as well as contemporary Afoxé, with Wolfgang Puschnig on saxophone and Kay Eckhardt de Camargo on bass. However, the master drummer's 18 (!) compositions, always recorded with compassion and with a virtuoso performance, are the main focus of attention, rendered here on conga drums, surdo and timbales, pandeiro, talking drums, berimbau and a whole range of other percussion instruments. A true celebration of rhythm!"

http://tcd.freehosting.net/djembemande/tucci.html

Dudu Tucci is also referred to as Obatimale Dudu Tucci in this website about one of his CDs: http://www.knockonwood.co.uk/details.asp/percussion/842/buy/Obatimale_Dudu_Tucci_CD.htm

The name: Obatimale is Yoruba {oba means king; I'm not sure what the other elements mean}... I'm wondering if the Caribbean term "dudu" originally came from the Yoruba language. There are oral traditions of people of Yoruba descent migrating to East Africa [and I believe there are traditions of the Yorubas originally being from Egypt/ancient Sudan].

Could the Swahili term "ndudu" and/or the Caribbean term "dudu" be traced to West Africa?

Some may be asking what does any of this have to do with Zydeco music?

My response is that you just gotta take a wide view of things and let it flow.

;O)


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Oct 06 - 02:02 PM

Interesting article here about Zydeco and Cajun music, and related stuff - "Let the Good Times Unroll: Music and Race Relations in Southwest Louisiana", from the Black Music Research Journal:

"In this article, I use music as a window into relations between black Creoles and Cajuns, interpreting music as a social arena in which relations between the two groups are partly determined."


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: Darowyn
Date: 15 Oct 06 - 06:23 PM

I have noticed that Cajuns and Creoles come in for the same sort of jokes in the US that people in the UK would think of as Irish jokes.
The jokes go on the lines of "Boudreaux and Thibodeaux go into a bar..."
They then say something in a "funny" accent or do something stupid.
Ethnic stereotypes strike again!
Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: Azizi
Date: 15 Oct 06 - 08:24 PM

McGrath of Harlow, the next time that you recommend an article that folks have to be a paid subscriber to read, could you please add a notice of that with your post.

And would you please post fair use excerpts of that particular article [and any other one that you recommend], if that's allowed and if you have a notion to do so.

Thanks.

Color me disappointed. I was looking forward to reading that article without "selling the farm" to do so.


Azizi

{And yes, it might be worth it to subscribe to that online research service. But imho, it's the principle of the thing}.


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Oct 06 - 09:12 PM

Sorry I should have indicated it was a subscription site.

I'm afraid I haven't subscribed myself - I just came across the intro, and it looks as if it would be interesting.   But I see they've got a free introductory seven days days sub. I'll probably sign up to that sometime - I was looking at a list of articles, and there's clearly a lot of good stuff in there.


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: Azizi
Date: 15 Oct 06 - 09:22 PM

Oh, well. I guess I just have to do it the old fashioned way and look that article up in the library.

Or, I could go ahead and subscribe to that service. I haven't decided yet.

Anyway, thanks, McGrath for letting us know about that article.

Best wishes,

Azizi


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: M.Ted
Date: 15 Oct 06 - 09:38 PM

Before jumping to any conclusions about the origins of the word "Zydeco", let me direct you to the following vinyl album, onBellot Records
out of Nigeria--
Prince Thony Adex and his sedico system - Juju funk explosion - Vol. II
LP, M 2386

I have this album--the music is a bit in the vein of King Sunny Ade--Prince Ade is called a "funky juju guitarist", and this music is, in fact juju ritual music--although juju ritual music is a lot like party music--what they call juju, we call voodoo--

The peculiar business about flags and flag boys that comes up in songs like "Iko,Iko" is less peculiar when you know about the Haitian Voodoo Flags --

At any rate, "sideco" is a word that means "ritual" in either Yoruba or Swahili--I looked it up once, and saved the whole dictionary that it was in to one of four hard drives, can't find it now--

Some knows, and some thinks they knows.


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: Azizi
Date: 15 Oct 06 - 10:19 PM

M Ted, thanks for the Haitian flags link.

With regard to your comment on the African origin of the word "sideco", if it is associated with juju music, and if the choice of which African language dictionary you saw that word listed is either Yoruba or Swahili, I'd pick door #1.

Swahili is a Eastern Africa & Central African language. Yoruba is a language is a West African language. Nigeria, West Africa is the birthplace of the music/dance genre "juju".

But just because the word "juju" is listed in a Yoruba dictionary does not mean it comes from that language. "Sideco" could have been [and I think probably was] adopted [borrowed]by Yoruba speakers who heard Louisiana/Texas, USA Zydeco music. I figured they're allowed to do that. Look at English. It borrows a heck of a lot of words from other languages.

See this excerpt from Afro-pop Worldwide-juju:

"For many years the most popular style in Nigeria, juju music evolved from Yoruba folklore and a variety of international elements. Early in the century, Lagos was a place where local peoples encountered freed slaves from the New World. Together they created a recreational music that came to be known as palm wine music, as it usually accompanied drinking. Banjos, guitars, shakers and hand drums supported lilting topical songs and produced local celebrities, notably "Baba" Tunde King, apparently the first to call his music juju."

-snip-

Note the comment about juju music evolving from Yoruba folklore and a variety of international elements.

This comment identifies "Latin American rhythms" as the 'international elements' that Yorubas incoporated to make juju music.

"Juju music surfaced from the lower classes of Nigeria as an alternative to the Highlife style that was played in urban hotels and costly nightclubs. Juju, on the other hand, named after the sound of the talking drum, was Yoruban street music played in working class palm wine bars, villages and at traditional events. Juju came to mean common, unsophisticated music, an exciting fusion of Western pop, Latin American rhythms and traditional African music and praise poetry that incorporates electric guitars and synthesizers with such indigenous instruments as talking drums. Lyrically, juju is rooted in the Yoruba tradition of singing about social and cultural issues through proverbs and parables."
http://www.worldmusiccentral.org/staticpages/index.php/jujumusic

-snip-

All of this to say, until I hear and read more about whether sideco is a traditional or borrowed Yoruba word, I'm stickin with the
"les haricots sont pas sale'/"the snapbeans they are not salty" story.

I guess it helps to also know that French was the language used for the earliest Zydeco songs. I'm not sure if that's been mentioned yet.

Anyway, I'm loving how all these different music genres have become a part of a Zydeco thread.

It takes a village to---sorry that's a whole nuther subject.

:o)


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: Azizi
Date: 15 Oct 06 - 10:45 PM

Sorry. I meant to write that "This comment identifies "Western pop" and "Latin American rhythms" as the 'international elements' that Yorubas incoporated to make juju music.

In this context, Zydeco music can be considered a form of "Western pop".

Btw-the traditional meaning for the word "juju" is "magic". Juju is not the formal name of the Yoruba traditional religion with which it is associated. The formal name is "Ifa". Two other terms that are used for this traditional religion is "Vodoun" and "Orisha Vodoun".

See Ifa Religon

However, Harry's Blues Online-Blues language page gives this definition of juju:

1 - a fetish, charm, or amulet of West African people. Juju as well as gris-gris are the African terms for the more commonly used mojo or mojo hand, see also mojo;
2 - the magic attributed to or associated with jujus

-snip-

If you're not hip to Harry's Blues Online, what are you waitin for?
Harry's where it's at. [In more ways than one].


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: M.Ted
Date: 16 Oct 06 - 09:08 AM

So there were a lot of Yoruba speakers listening to Zydeco music? and they borrowed the word, only misunderstood what it meant, and, instead of "beans" they thought that it meant "ritual"? Ooookay.

Me, Myself, I think that the Zydeco music is more likely than not marginally connected to voudou, and that the word "zydeco" is an artifact, like" Jockomo fi na ne"--And I once asked the Wild Tchoupitoulas what that meant, and they didn't know. They didn't really know much about where the flag rituals had come from, either, except of course that the were part of Mardi Gras tradition. This was back in the late 70's, when nobody outside of a few places had even heard the music, let alone the word "Zydeco"--

This was in the Bay Area--in Richmond, there were a lot of families from Louisiana who'd come to build ships in WWII-so there were resident Zydeco bands, including Queen Ida, and La performers, like Clifton and Cleveland Chenier played in the area as well.


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: Azizi
Date: 16 Oct 06 - 09:46 AM

Wirh all due respect, M Ted, I've met a number of Yoruba persons in the USA as university students and otherwise.

Imo, it's highly possible that at least one person from Nigeria could have traveled to Louisiana and heard Zydeco music and brought back that word-if not the music style-to Nigeria and used it there.

But I'm not convinced that serico means "ritual" in the Yoruba language. I've not seen any proof of that statement.

However, it's possible that 'serico' is Yoruba and your definition is right and that Black Creoles in Louisiana heard that word from some Yoruba person or retained a memory of that word from way back when since some of their ancestors might have been Yoruba.

And I suppose it is also possible that these same French speaking Black Creoles used that word that you say means ritual as a refrain in decidedly unreligious party music and that eventually this dance music was called Zydeco which you say comes from serico.

Hey, anything is possible.

As for me, I'm still sticking with the beans aren't salty story until more evidence of an African origin-Yoruba or otherwise-is provided by you or anyone else.

Best wishes,

Azizi


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: Azizi
Date: 16 Oct 06 - 10:08 AM

As to the meaning of the line "Jockomo fi na ne", and other words from Iko Iko and Mardi Gras Indian chants, see posts in the Iko Iko thread whose link is provided in my 14 Oct 06 - 07:40 PM post.

One of those posts includes this comment by Guest Bob Bob Coltman, which was originally posted in Mudcat thread RE: Cajun Music, 17 Jan 06

"By the way, a "Jockamo" = a jester, jokester."

-snip-

Also, if interested, this page of my website http://www.cocojams.com/mardi_gras_indian_chants1.htm provides additional comments on the meaning of words & phrases that are found in Iko Iko and other Mardi Gras Indian chants.


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: GUEST,Paul Burke
Date: 16 Oct 06 - 10:13 AM

But just because the word "juju" is listed in a Yoruba dictionary does not mean it comes from that language said Azizi.

I'd always understood (though I haven't got a citation by me) that "juju" came from the French "jou-jou", a childish word for a toy, and referred to the doll- like figures used in some religious contexts. Quite a lot of words considered to be of exotic origin are actually boomeranged European words, such as joss-house (a temple) from "Dios".

I recently had the pleasure of showing a local Asian shopkeeper that his name, Mistry, was in fact European, and comes from the same root as "maestro".

There's an excellent dictionary of Imperial-English words, "Hobson-Jobson", which is available in the UK on the budget Wordsworth imprint, and lists many such examples.


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: Azizi
Date: 16 Oct 06 - 10:35 AM

Actually, Paul, I mistyped.

I meant to write that just because "sideco" is listed in a Yoruba dictionary, it doesn't mean it originally comes from that language.

As to the origin of the word juju-I always thought that it came from Yoruba or some other African language. But I've no proof of that.

Of course, words with the same or similar spelling and the same or similar pronuciation can be in more than one language and have entirely different origins & meanings.


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: GUEST,Sid Perks
Date: 16 Oct 06 - 11:02 AM

Zydeco music originally developed in Borchester in the 1970s. It was originally 'cider cow'- a mythical magical beast that recently reappeared in that Boddington's advert. The peculiar rhythm happened because Eddie Grundy hadn't got the hang of the accordion then.


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: Azizi
Date: 16 Oct 06 - 11:51 AM

LOL!


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: Kaleea
Date: 16 Oct 06 - 01:43 PM

I have always believed that one would have to be a fly on every wall in every country throughout history in order to know the actual origin of any given Music genre. Most genres happen over a period of time and in various geographical locations, sometimes years & towns, sometimes centuries & continents. I don't even want to think of the time warps & alternate universes involved-I'll leave that to the physicists who dabble in Musicology. I still enjoy learning about the roots of any given Music genre as that helps me to better understand the Music & the Peoples who play it. Oh, to have seen & heard with that fly!

   There are always the persons that prefer using electric instruments with distortion devices over very loud speakers who hear a genre of Music, like it, & employ it with their usual "screaming distorted amplification," whether it be Zydeco, Cajun, Blues, or Baroque. Unfortunately, sometimes this can mask the wonderful genre such that it is covered up or obliterated by the "screaming distorted amplification" the above quoted "Guest, Jack Campin" speaks of. I have always enjoyed any acoustic performance of any genre of folk Music I have ever heard. (yes, even if mics are used, but let's not get into the meaning of acoustic here!) But then, there are those who would say that the electrification & distortion is all a part of the process.


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: M.Ted
Date: 16 Oct 06 - 05:19 PM

You need amplification to be heard over the washboard. And Jack Campin, who, as far as I can determine, is a piper, has a lot of nerve complaining about loud, abrasive noises.


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 16 Oct 06 - 05:41 PM

I am inter alia a washboard player (not in anything like a cajun or zydeco style). Whether you need an amp to compete with it depends on how loud you play. I can accompany an unamplified moothie so you can hear every note in the tune.

I feel like Berlioz in that quote "I love the *idea* of Paganini but can't stand his music". I want to like fusions of this sort but in practice my ears cringe when it happens. 1970s punk is in the same category for me.


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: M.Ted
Date: 16 Oct 06 - 06:13 PM

The thing is, Jack--Clevland Chenier's washboard was amplified--

I heard him back in the 70's, and was listening to punk bands at the same time--and even with the amplification, the noise level wasn't even close to the punks--and the music was better--


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Oct 06 - 06:01 PM

You need amplification to be heard over the washboard.

Skiffle groups didn't use electric instruments.


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: Azizi
Date: 18 Oct 06 - 12:19 AM

Here's a high quality Zydeco video:

Queen Ida and the Bon Temps Zydeco Band : Rosa Majeur

The great Queen Ida not only sings and plays the accordian, but she also talks about how the Zydeco music genre was created.

See this biography of Queen Ida written by Sandra Brennan for
http://music.barnesandnoble.com/search/artistbio.asp?CTR=136701

"Queen Ida a.k.a. Queen Ida & Her Zydeco Band, Queen Ida & The Bon Temps Zydeco

Queen Ida was the first female accordion player to lead a zydeco band. Favoring a 31-button accordion, she is noted for her melodic playing, and for focusing on the treble side of her instrument, which makes her style similar to Mexican playing styles. Though like many other zydeco artists of the '80s, her music was well grounded in Creole traditions, she also integrates Caribbean, Cajun (with the addition of a fiddle to her Bon Temps Zydeco Band), blues and other genres. She came to music rather late in life.

Born Ida Guillory to a musically talented family in Lake Charles, LA, she learned to play accordion from her mother after she spent a few years learning the piano. Her family moved to Beaumont, TX, when she was ten and eight years later moved to San Francisco. Her first language is French, and wherever they went, took their Creole culture and music with them. But while music was important to Guillory, during her young adult years while busy raising her family, she only performed for social occasions. She briefly attended nursing school but left during her first pregnancy. When her children were all school-aged, she became a part-time bus driver. As they grew, Guillory's friends began more strongly encouraging her to perform publicly.

In the early '70s, she began performing with Barbary Coast Band and with the Playboys. She was in demand, not only because of her talent, but also because female accordion players were a rarity. She got her stage name in 1975 during a Mardis Gras celebration in the Bay Area. There she was formally crowned "Queen of the Zydeco Accordion and Queen of Zydeco Music." The following year she and her band played at the Monterey Jazz and Blues Festival. She also signed to GNP/Crescendo Records, a Los Angeles-based jazz label.

Despite her popularity, Queen Ida never felt music was stable enough to support her children and so continued bus driving until her youngest daughter went to school. After that Ida began touring more frequently. In 1978, John Ullman became her agent. He helped make her internationally known. In 1979 she was nominated for a Bay Area Music Award. Though Taj Mahal won it, he arranged a two-week European tour for her. She continued recording and touring through the 1980s. Because she feels she and the band sound best live, most of her albums are recorded while she tours.

In 1988, Queen Ida toured Japan, becoming the first zydeco artist to do so. She toured Africa the following year for the State Department and in 1990 went to Australia and New Zealand. Queen Ida has appeared in one feature film, Rumblefish, and a documentary about Louisiana music, J'ai Ete au Bal. She has also performed on television shows ranging from Austin City Limits to Saturday Night Live. For many, Queen Ida is not only an excellent musician, she is also a fine example of how a determined middle-aged woman can still find success in a youth-obsessed culture."


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Mar 07 - 07:05 PM

Paul,

Did you grow up in Chiswick by any chance ?

Curious greetings,
me


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: The Villan
Date: 24 Mar 07 - 07:21 PM

Interesting thread this. I am currently involved in the possibilty of booking a Cajun/Zydeco/Swamp Band in the UK

What do you guys know about the Swamp part?


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Subject: RE: What is Zydeco?
From: GUEST,Scoville
Date: 24 Mar 07 - 08:09 PM

I don't know anything about this site other than it's UK. Maybe they can help.

I'm not sure what you mean by "what about the swamp part?". There is swamp-rock and swamp-blues, which are Louisiana versions of rock/pop and blues, respectively. Swamp-rock would be rock with country & Cajun music influences (CCR and Tony Joe White are often cited as examples, as is Lynyrd Skynyrd. My friend calls this the Seventies Southern Rock Anthem phenomenon). Swamp-blues is another subtype of blues, as opposed to Delta blues or Piedmont blues.

Here, this is kind of interesting.


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