Zydeco Festival comes to Natchitoches Sept. 2-3

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The 23rd annual Cane River Zydeco Festival will celebrate the Labor Day weekend on the Cane River downtown waterfront with zydeco tunes, Louisiana cuisine and a poker run competition.
The Cane River Zydeco Festival celebrates the creole traditional music known as zydeco. The annual festivities include a Zydeco dance competition on Friday, a Saturday poker run, great food and music.
Visitors may not know the words to some tunes since many lyrics are sung in French. Classic zydeco singers such as Amédé Ardoin often never learned English and wrote their songs exclusively in Cajun or Creole dialects. Today’s zydeco singers don’t necessarily know French, though many performers find the inspiration to learn the language through the stories told in the songs. When in doubt, beginners may ask for classics like Boozoo Chavis’s 1954 hit “Paper in my shoe” or Clifton Chenier’s “Zydeco sont pas sale” which takes its name from a French phrase meaning “the beans aren’t salty.”

Marcus Ardoin and Da Zydeco Legends
Credit: Zydeco Crossroads.

Zydeco is a blend of African, French and native American music with notable influences from later styles such as blues. It has developed alongside traditional French Cajun music and shares similar sounds and rhythms. Zydeco musicians frequently employ accordions, harmonicas, drums and a frottoir or washboard that is struck with spoons or picks during performances. The fiddle, while still popular in Cajun music, has mostly fallen out of favor in modern zydeco, though the instrument and musicians devoted to it can still be found in use by so-called zydeco fiddlers performing around the state.
Call Melvin Holmes 318-332-7455 or Billy Meziere 318-471-9920 for more information or visit www.natchitoches.com.
This article published in the Sept. 1, 2022, print edition

Friday, Sept. 2 – free admission
6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. – music by DJ Rob Reel
9:30 p.m. – Zydeco dance contest. Poker run registration opens.
Saturday, Sept. 3 – $10 admission
9 a.m. – poker run registration opens
Noon – poker run ride begins
2 p.m. – festival gates open. Music by DJ Rob Reel
4 p.m. – Koray Broussard and Zydeco Unit
6:30 p.m. DJ Rob Reel
7:30 p.m. Marcus Ardoin and Da Zydeco Legends
10 p.m. DJ Rob Reel