Put On Your Dancin' Shoes

Put On Your Dancin’ Shoes

March 21, 2013  |  Events, Local Interest


Okay, I resorted to Wikipedia for this: Zydeco was born in southwest Louisiana as a blend of Cajun music and R&B. It relies on the accordion (traditionally, the button accordion) and the rub-board (an instrument invented for Zydeco), as well as guitar and fiddle. The tunes are up-tempo and perfect for the two-step and waltz. This music was originally created for house dances where family and friends gathered for socializing.

Sounds like we’ve got ourselves a party.

I love it when I have the opportunity to listen to quality live music. When I learned that my friend Patty Hammond was playing with Les Amis Zydeco on St. Patrick’s Day at the Penngrove Pub, it seemed like a great way to observe the holiday. Grace came with me, so that was extra fun. I expected great music and I wasn’t disappointed. What I didn’t anticipate was a crowd not content to simply tap their toes. As soon as the band began to play, they were on their feet, sashaying, shuffling, and two-stepping wherever there was space to move. When Les Amis Zydeco is in the house, there is an open invitation to enjoy yourself. Allons danser!

I was happy trying to capture some of the joy of the evening, but next time I’m gonna dance!


Les Amis Zydeco musicians: Dwight Shackelford on accordion, Jim Scott on guitar, Patty Hammond on bass, Dave Rogers on drums, and Lou Rodriguez on rub-board.






Go here to find out where Les Amis Zydeco will be playing next. Maybe I’ll see you there.


  1. Oh my that red dress swaying to the music is magical. I’m glad you picked up your camera and didn’t put on your dancin’ shoes–this time. Next time though have someone take a picture of you!

  2. Only if I get to wear a skirt like that. :-)

  3. So, saying that Zydeco is a combination of Cajun music and R&B is a misnomer, but an understandable misunderstanding on the part of the article you quoted, and is likely the only way people from outside the culture could get their head around it. Zydeco evolved out of La La, a form of Creole music that also used the diatonic accordion, and fiddle, and whatever else they could find. It was house party music. Clifton Chenier was the biggest influence on propelling the style onto the wider world, with his piano accordion, and horns, and heavy blues and R&B infusions. Creole and Cajun music has intertwined and borrowed from each other extensively over the centuries, but they also reflect their own distinct cultural differences. It took me actually learning how to play the different styles before I could distinguish them by listening. And of course, today, everyone is bending genres all over the place, but, I suspect that’s nothing new.

    Thank you so much for documenting this, and we hope you become a bigger fan of the music and dancing.

    • Thanks for this, Dwight. The error was mine, trying to summarize an already-condensed definition. Clearly Louisiana has a rich and complex musical tradition. I’d love to be able to spend time there some day. Meanwhile, I’ll be content to just follow you guys around. :-) This is some happy music!


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