Zydeco musicians address misrepresentation of their genre

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LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) A local zydeco musician was outraged after learning the nominees for The Times of Acadiana Best Of 2019.

The contest is put on by a local publication where readers choose the nominees.

According to several artists, many of the nominees don’t represent the genre they’ve been selected for.

Chris Ardoin comes from a long line of zydeco artists and has been a musician for more than three decades.

He says the Best Of nominees are each talented in their own right, but the majority don’t represent zydeco or its history.

Cajun and Creole Zydeco artists travel the world and there’s this ongoing fight trying to explain who we are all the time. I feel like we shouldn’t have to do that at home, Ardoin said.

Ardoin shared his thoughts on the annual Best of Acadiana, Best Zydeco Band category, in a passion-filled Facebook live video.

He expressed his displeasure with nominees the public chose to represent Best Zydeco Band.

Everybody works hard. Zydeco and Cajun were birthed from the same tree. Two branches on the same tree, but we have totally different stories to tell,” he said.

Some of those stories have been told by people like Best Zydeco Album Grammy Award winner Terrence Simien.

Zydeco music is the music of the French-speaking Creoles of south Louisiana, Simien said.

A Google search for “zydeco” defines the word as a kind of black American dance music originally from southern Louisiana, typically featuring accordion and guitar. 

Which is why Ardoin was taken aback by the list of nominees.

I just felt that the bands that were listed weren’t zydeco bands. Not to say they didn’t deserve to be on a list but just not the zydeco list, he said.

Representatives with Best of Acadiana say one country band, Colby Latiolais and Ambush were mistakenly added to the Best Zydeco Band list.

That list has been modified twice since Ardoin’s Facebook live video.

Creole and zydeco historians have and continue to argue that much of their Creole cuisine has been stolen and branded as Cajun cuisine.

Now they say the same is happening to their music.

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