DC at Night

DC at Night

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Zydeco Museum Dance Party

Chenier ...
If you have ever visited the National Museum of the American Indian you probably would have some difficulty imagining it as a Zydeco dance hall. But with the backing of his 4-member Red Hot Louisiana Band, accomplished 2nd generation accordionist C. J. Chenier did just that today, delivering an uptempo 75-minute show that had the crowd two-stepping both on the impromptu dance floor and in the aisles.

Chenier, whose father Clifton was one of the grand old men of Zydeco, offered little commentary, instead opting to let one song flow directly into the next.

However, in his longest stage speech of the night he intoned at one point, "This next song ... they call it old school, but I call it real school. This is one I learned from my Daddy. Now don't tell me we're going too fast. There ain't no such thing as too fast. Here we go ... Everybody do the Louisiana two-step".

For anyone not familiar with Zydeco, it is dance music that evolved in southwest Louisiana by Black Creoles, a group of people of mixed African, Afro-Caribbean, Native American and European descent. The sound is a blend of Cajun music, blues, and rhythm and blues. The music is dominated by button or piano accordion and a form of washboard played with spoons. The few slow songs in a Zydeco set are usually waltzes.

... and The Red Hot Louisiana Band
The Chenier show was the last in the free special Indian Summer Showcase Concert series held at the museum. As you might expect all the performers incorporated some type of Native American songs and sounds in their music.

Tales, Tidbits, and Tips
This was the 2nd Indian Summer concert we attended. To read about Rita Coolidge's performance last month click here.

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