Acadiana’s Zydeco: Past and Present


LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)— Zydeco music has been a staple in Acadiana for many years. It started being played on front porches and now can be heard being played all over the world.

It’s a type of music which makes people move when they hear it. “I tell people if you pop in my CD and you don’t move,” Said Big Nate, “you better call the undertaker, cause your dead!”

“I remembered the word Zydeco and I was a little bitty boy.” Said Clifton Chenier, “I remembered that and said when I start writing my songs, I am gonna call it that.”

From the words of the man considered the king of Zydeco, Clifton Chenier put Zydeco music on the map. Chenier, a legendary musicians and Acadiana native grew up playing the accordion as a young boy.

Just a few simple words from his dad igniting the fire inside which today still burns all across the world.

“He told me if you learn to play the accordion, make sure nobody beats you.”

And now the younger generation of Zydeco musicians such as Chris Ardoin, and Lil Nate are continuing the tradition of Zydeco music that Clifton Chenier set into motion years ago.

“I grew up around the music my dad and grandpa played. So it’s in my blood.” Said Chris Ardoin.

According to Lil Nate, he was influenced by his dad and hung out at El Sido’s Club as a kid.

El Sido’s Night Club as it was once called, is the only existing Zydeco Club in Lafayette. A lot of Zydeco musicians got their start there.

Zydeco has always been influenced by a number of different genres of music, so each generation puts their own twist into their songs.

Now with another Zydeco legend passing away a little over a month ago in Buckwheat, the tradition and style of this unique music that’s roots started right here in Acadiana is living on through the next generation of Zydeco stars.

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