This Is The Good Stuff

Ed Poullard and Lawrence "Black" Ardoin, with Sean Ardoin on drums

This Is The Good Stuff

September 11, 2014  |  Cajun Zydeco

They call it a festival, but it feels like a party in a great big back yard. The folks know one another, and they are happy to gather together for a day spent dancing to the music they love. This is the 19th year for the Sebastopol Cajun Zydeco Festival. Thanks to the hard work of Scott Hensey and the Rotary Club of Sebastopol Sunrise, it is the place to be.

It is fun, but it’s the kind of fun whose roots grow deep. As Betty LeBlanc once told me, when you hear this music played well it’s like being touched by the Holy Ghost. For those who love it, it’s an important part of life. And there is evidence to suggest it is good for you.

I’ll always accept an invitation to hang out backstage. But here, the area to the side of the stage is just as interesting. This is where the visiting happens. The folks who traveled from Louisiana and Texas to be here greet the ones who left the South decades ago. It’s like a family reunion. And this is a great vantage point to watch the bands on stage. Relatives cheer on family members, and generations of musicians watch and appreciate each other.

There is such respect among the musicians for the ones who played this Louisiana French music first, the ones who passed it along, and the ones who continue to play it so well. The musicians here today — generations of them — are the ones who tell the story: Lawrence “Black” Ardoin, Ed Poullard, Mark St. Mary, Andre Thierry, Sean Ardoin, Korey Broussard, Rusty Metoyer, along with most distinguished guests Queen Ida Guillory and her brother Wilbert “Uncle Willie” Lewis. This is something special, and everyone knows it. You can feel the joy.

It’s about music and so much more. A rich culture. A deep tradition. The good stuff.

There will be another opportunity to experience all this again in a few weeks. Andre Thierry is organizing The Creole United Festival in Sausalito on October 18th. It’s a free event, but donations will benefit Performing Stars of Marin Blues in the Schools program.

It will all be there — the music, the food, the dancing, the joy. You won’t want to miss it.

Click on the first image below to enlarge it and scroll through the slideshow.

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