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Florida Cajun Zydeco Update!


Andre Thierry



No. 63

Contents APRIL 2018

4 Cajun Zydeco Dances in St. Pete

Apr. 3 & 17 @ Caddy’s on Central (don’t miss Jerry's party on Apr. 3)

6 Porchdogs in Florida

Mar. 30, Mar. 31 and Apr. 21

7 Tampa Bay Blues Festival

Apr. 6, 7 & 8 @ Vinoy Park, St. Petersburg Warmup party at Palladium’s Hough Hall on Thurs. April 5 After show parties at The Ale and The Witch and Ringside Cafe

8 Chubby Carrier is headliner @ Stringbreak Music Festival

Four-day festival in Brooksville features eclectic mix of folk and bluegrass, and some zydeco too.

Florida Cajun Zydeco Update!

FEATURE STORY 10 Andre Thierry’s accordion soul

California artist with deep roots in Louisiana culture adds soul to his Creole and zydeco accordion artistry.

CAJUN ZYDECO COMMUNITY 22 Tabasco celebrates 150 years

Louisiana pepper sauce has become an international brand.

23 Grammy for Lost Bayou Ramblers

Band wins category for Best Regional Roots Album for Kalenda.

24 Amédé Ardoin’s contributions acknowledged with statue

Statue unveiled at Opelousas visitor center on Mar. 11.

26 Cajun French Phone App

If you want to learn Cajun French, there’s an app for that.

28 Festival-O-Rama

Some listings from the page.

31 WMNF Record & CD Sale in Tampa

Saturday, Apr. 14 at the WMNF studios.

32 Gumbo Boogie, Porchdogs and Atlanta events

Live music in the region and a zydeco dance workshop.



Visit First and Third Tuesday in St. Pete, FL

at Caddy’s on Central

217 Central Ave., 33701 Tuesday, Apr. 3 Jerry’s Birthday Bash Tuesday, Apr. 17 Tax Day Blues 6 P. M . TO 9:30 P.M. Twice monthly Cajun and zydeco dance at Caddy’s on Central in downtown St. Pete. Good mix of danceable music by Cajun and zydeco artists singing about death, divorce, drinking and dancing. As Boozoo sang, “Dance all night, stay a little longer.” No cover charge. Caddy’s is at 217 Central Ave., St. Pete 33701. Go to for more information.

5 Photo by Jim Hance

Florida Cajun Zydeco Update!




Porchdogs Cajun Zydeco Band

Friday, Mar. 30 @ Fridays on the Plaza (Winter Garden) Saturday, Mar. 31 @ Tanner’s Zydeco Party (Winter Haven) Sat. Apr. 21 @ Hannibal Square Heritage Ctr. (Winter Garden) Confirm time at Porchdogs website:

Andy Burr and Greg Taillon formed Porchdogs in 1992, and add additional members like Harvey Rosenfeld (left above) to form larger bands to suit the occasion. More information on each of these performances is at

Florida Cajun Zydeco Update!

Apr. 6, 7 and 8, 2018 @ Vinoy Park, St. Petersburg

Tampa Bay Blues Festival Blues festival at Vinoy Park in downtown St. Petersburg will include: Robert Cray, Beth Hart, John Nemeth, Buddy Guy, Ronnie Earl, Sugaray Rayford, and Mississippi Heat. Tickets available online at Kickoff Party on Apr. 5 at The Palladium’s Hough Hall will feature John NÊmeth with a monster horn section. Tickets $25 in advance at After Party performances on Friday and Saturday nights will be at The Witch and The Ale and Ringside Cafe, downtown St. Pete.




Apr. 5, 6, 7 and 8, 2018

Sertoma Youth Ranch in Brooksville, Florida 18953 Clay Hill Rd, Dade City, Fl 33523. Website: Sat. April 7: Grammy-winner Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band will perform Saturday evening @ 9 p.m. and Zydeco Limbo performs @ 9:45 p.m. Grand Slambovians close out evening @ 10:30 p.m. All-day pass for Sat. is $35 online/$45 at gate. Saturday evening after 6 p.m. $25 at the gate only.

Florida Cajun Zydeco Update!




A NDRE THIE RRY and Zydeco Magic take traditional zydeco and infuse it with elements of soul, blues, rock, and pop. His collaborations with artists like Sammy Hagar and David Hidalgo outside the genre of zydeco have further established that Andre is in a lane of his own. Andre Story continues on subsequent pages

11 Photos from

Florida Cajun Zydeco Update!



"Now the California scenes rival anything back home in Louisiana, and that 's due to players like Andre Thierry, a standard bearer for the new generation ". ­— Michael Tisserand

Florida Cajun Zydeco Update! is an accordion virtuoso and a captivating singer with a warm soulful voice. ReverbNation called him “a phenomenal talent” and said that “at only 32 years old he is already a legend.” He and his band won the West Coast Blues Hall of Fame Award for Best Zydeco Group in 2008 and 2012. Michael Tisserand, author of The Kingdom of Zydeco, wrote: “Just as Delta musicians took Highway 61 to Chicago and electrified their blues, so did the Creoles and Cajuns migrate to California and establish vital dance communities. Now the California scenes rival anything back home in Louisiana, and that’s due to players like Andre Thierry, a standard bearer for the new generation.” Andre "is among the best of both the West Coast and the Gulf Coast, and he combines youthful vigor with a mature appreciation for his inherited tradition.” Although he was born and raised in Northern California, Andre Thierry’s French Creole heritage is deeply rooted in Louisiana. Andre grew up experiencing the French Creole (La-La) dances his grandparents held at their church parish, St. Mark’s Catholic Church.




Florida Cajun Zydeco Update! The best Louisiana musicians of the day including Clifton Chenier, the King of Zydeco, were hosted by Thierry’s grandparents for church dances. When Andre was young according to his grandmother Mama Lena Pitre, Chenier grabbed him by the arms and declared him a future accordion player. Chenier has been proved prescient about Andre. Thierry recalls hearing zydeco music coming from their church as a kid. He hated it at first. That all changed after seeing a guy play the accordion up close. “I wanted to do what he was doing,” Andre said. “I fell in love with the accordion. I just threw myself into zydeco.” Thierry learned to sing in Creole French and perform variations of zydeco on accordion, drums, guitar and bass. At age 12, Andre formed his own band he named Zydeco Magic and began performing all over northern California. After more than 25 years, the band has included some serious talent like Dwight “Black



Visit Cat” Carrier and Ruben Moreno.

PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS Over the years Thierry has sat in with hundreds of zydeco artists. Dance organizers in the San Francisco Bay area would coordinate with dance organizers in San Diego and Los Angeles in hiring Louisiana bands that toured the California circuit. It was not unusual to see Andre filling in on drums or guitar when a traveling band needed a player. Playing alongside so many artists, Thierry has cultivated a deep understanding of how Creole music evolved into traditional zydeco music, and where today’s zydeco artist can take it. Thierry recorded his first zydeco album, It's About Time, in 1999 at the age of 20. It included some hard driving zydeco, slow soulful blues tunes from the Clifton Chenier songbook, and waltz tunes — one that he sang in Creole French. He followed that album with A Whole Lotta Something in 2004. The title song was covered by Terry and the Zydeco Bad Boys a couple years later. Thierry’s recordings masterfully capture the Louisiana zydeco genre, rich with blues

Florida Cajun Zydeco Update! influences. Some of Thierry’s best tunes from those early recordings include “I Like To Do It My Way,” “Marie Marie,” “Hey Rosa,” “Zydeco Magic” and “A Whole Lotta Something,” all original compositions I believe, and great zydeco dance tunes. Thierry went on to make other recordings: Are You Ready to Learn?, Live At The Woodshop, and Bouncing' With the Blues. Thierry collaborated with Sean Ardoin on two Creole United albums (Non Jamais Fait, and Tu Kekchause A' Korrek) that incorporated musicians from California, Texas and Louisiana. “I get people who were introduced to zydeco music years ago and now they are saying how it has evolved through me. They have a picture of what they were used to when they first learned about it and now seeing where I’ve taken it, they appreciate it,” says Thierry.

SHADES OF BROWN Andre Thierry is also accordion player on the album Shades of Brown by Los Cenzontles (The Mockingbirds), a Chicano band (as well as members of a cultural arts center that serves 150 art students) from Andre's hometown, Richmond. Steeped in their cultures, Creole and Mexican American cultural groups have passionately embraced and cultivated their traditions into uniquely proud and powerful voices, and sometimes those voices share the same stage. Shades of Brown is



Visit a celebration of their shared love of neighborhood, accordions, soulful singing and dancing to the oldies. Ruben Moreno and David Hidalgo of Los Lobos also contributed to the album, sharing vocals with Andre on two tracks.

CREOLE UNITED FESTIVAL In 2014–2016, Andre Thierry was a festival promoter with the Creole United music festival in Sausalito, California where he took the opportunity to introduce new artists to the California scene. Through the festival, Thierry introduced Japanese zydeco artist YoshiTake Nakabayashi, and Nathan Plumbar from Louisiana. Mixing things up, the Creole United Festival lineup has represented Creole, reggae, Caribbean and African jazz musical genres.

ACCORDION SOUL Andre Thierry thinks maybe his style of zydeco just might be defining a new musical genre: “Alt-Creole”. The 38-year-old Grammy-nominated musician describes Alt Creole music simply as a blend of many musical influences, some traditional and some non-traditional. “It’s not thinking about the old, it’s not thinking about the new,” Thierry explains. “It’s thinking about everybody. [Alt-Creole] has always been my blueprint, my trademark.” Before a show in Houston, Thierry commented, “I suppose there is

Florida Cajun Zydeco Update!

Ruben Moreno (frottoir) and Andre Thierry (accordion) jam with Los Cenzontles.




Florida Cajun Zydeco Update! nothing wrong with being a purist,” laughs Thierry, “but zydeco purists don’t ever seem to realize that zydeco is an inclusive genre, that its history is one of adapting to new styles that become popular. The zydeco greats like Clifton Chenier, they were always looking for a new tune that the public loved and would dance to. I think adapting new material and incorporating material from other genres and giving it a zydeco treatment is a thing that many Houston bands sort of lead the way in doing.” "And that’s one of the prime causes for new blood to come in, whether it’s young musicians or young fans,” he adds. “We all need that new blood if we’re going to keep this tradition alive.” Now at age 38, Thierry is recognized as an exceptional accordionist who plays with a lot of “soul.” The Washington Post called Andre “a master at pumping out fast, funky rhythms on an instrument not usually associated with earthy syncopation. A versatile student of the music, Thierry can’t be lumped into zydeco’s old-school R&B-influenced camp, or its nouveau, rapinspired one: He and his band lay down both soulful, traditional slowdances and bottom-end-booming kinetic groovers.” And because of Andre Thierry, there’s a whole lotta somethin' going on.




Birth of Tabasco Company 150 Years Ago


abasco is celebrating its 150th birthday this year. The hot pepper sauce invented on Avery Island now is sold in more than 185 countries. Historian Shane Bernard has worked for the company for 25 years. What was the earliest reference to Tabasco? Bernard: “We use 1868 as the founding date of the company because that’s when Edmund McIlhenny incurred his startup costs and also when he grew his first full crop of peppers. He kept meticulous records by nature, and that’s how we know what his start-up costs were.” You can take a factory tour where TABASCO® brand pepper sauce is made. Tours include a short film in the museum and a 10 stop self-guided tour of the bottling and packaging operations. US 90 Exit 128A on LA 14 toward New Iberia approx three quarter mile then right on LA 329, 7 miles to Avery Island: TABASCO® and Jungle Gardens. Thanks to LA PAROLE Newsletter of the Acadian Museum for posting this.

Florida Cajun Zydeco Update!

A Grammy® for Lost Bayou Ramblers


ongratulations to the Lost Bayou Ramblers for winning a Grammy®. The Ramblers will be busy celebrating their Kalenda album, which won the Best Regional Roots Album honor at the 60th Grammy® Awards in New York City. Guitarist Sonny Landreth and his Recorded Live in Lafayette CD was nominated for Best Contemporary Blues Album.

Kalenda was released Sep. 2017

Led by brothers Louis and Andre Michot, the Ramblers become the first Cajun act to win a Grammy since Jo-El Sonnier claimed the Regional Roots award three years ago. Their win restores Louisiana’s dominance in the seven-year-old category, which has been won by an artist within the state’s border six times. With an acceptance speech spiced with Cajun French, Louis Michot thanked a long list of family, band members and supporters. Thanks to LA PAROLE Newsletter of the Acadian Museum for posting this.




A Word’s Worth —

Statue of Amédé Ardoin installed at St. Landry Parish Visitor Center


eventy-five years after his death, Creole accordionist Amédé Ardoin is still inspiring. Ardoin couldn’t read nor write, and he spoke no English. But in the 1920s and ‘30s, Ardoin performed French waltzes and two steps that made women cry in the dancehalls. Ardoin’s songs of a lost love named Joline and life as an orphan helped to lay the foundation for modern Cajun music and zydeco. A life-sized, forged steel sculpture of Ardoin was unveiled on Mar. 11, 2018 at the St. Landry Parish Visitor Center in Opelousas. The ceremony includes a candlelight vigil, jam session and other presentations. According to Darrell Bourque, a poet who has explored the life of Ardoin through a book of poetry, “He was kind of like a rock star of his own day and time.” Continues on next page

Florida Cajun Zydeco Update! “The most repeated a line in his songs, other than wanting a girl to pay attention to him, is this thing about not having a home, being exiled,” Bourque said. Ardoin was a virtuoso on the accordion, and he wrote and recorded a series of songs from 1929 to 1934. But less than a decade later, Ardoin’s life took a tragic turn. “He was playing at a dance and he asked someone to give him a rag to wipe his face and a white woman without hesitation, opened her purse and handed him a handkerchief. Two white men there declared he would never perform again. They followed him home that night, beat him, and thought they had killed him,” Bourque said. Suffering from brain injuries, Ardoin was institutionalized at the Central Louisiana State Hospital in Pineville, where he died a few months later. His remains are among more than 2,000 patients who were buried on this hillside. There are no names, only a few numbered markers. A statue of Amédé Ardoin stands at the St. Landry Parish visitors center off I-49 near Opelousas. It’s an effort to reconnect Ardoin with the communities and the people who are part of his music. If You Abandon Me, book of poetry by Darrell Bourque, available from




Phone app translates Cajun French phrases If you want to learn Cajun French, there’s an app for that. An Acadiana native created the LearnCajun app, trying to bridge a generation gap. Through the app, you can translate common phrases you’ll hear around Acadiana - with one tap on your phone. Luke Romero found inspiration to create the app while sitting around listening to his grandparents talk. “I heard my family speaking Cajun French to each other and didn’t know what they were saying,” Luke said. “I decided to start recording them over Sunday dinner and did that a few times until they got tired of me recording them, and put that into an app.” Luke began the process of the app nearly eight years ago, and now it has up to 90 catchphrases. In addition to bringing generations together, Romero hopes his app will help keep the Cajun French language alive. Luke’s mother, Yvonne, explained that speaking French was common in their household. “We spoke French so Luke wouldn’t understand us,” Yvonne said. Continues on next page

Florida Cajun Zydeco Update! “Now, my grandson will have one step ahead of me. He’ll have the app and will figure out what we’re saying. We won’t be able to hide anything from him.” She added, “You’re losing it [the language], and it’s so good to see it come back and just be there for someone who’s interested to look it up.” Luke added, “I don’t think my grandparents really understood what was going on with some of the recordings. It was interesting to bring them up to date with technology. It’s fun to talk with my grandparents in Cajun, and they appreciate it. Hopefully, it’ll help other people to learn new stuff.” The app is available for all iOS devices. story: story/37635707/acadiana-native-createsapp-to-translate-cajun-french-phrases

Thanks to LA PAROLE Newsletter of the Acadian Museum for posting this.



Chubby Carrier

Brian Jack

Ruben Moreno

April 2018 Apr. 4-8, 2018 Cycle Zydeco Bicycling Tour (Lafayette, LA) Bicycle, dine and dance your way through Acadiana. Website:

Apr. 5-8, 2018 Stringbreak Music Festival (Brooksville, FL) Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band, Zydeco Limbo, The Grand Slambovians, Phoebe Hunt and the Gatherers, Fireside Collective, Seth Walker. Website:

Apr. 7, 2018 Houston Zydeco Festival (Houston) Bands include Brian Jack and The Zydeco Gamblers, Ruben Moreno and the Zydeco Re-Evolution, and Lil' Nate and the Zydeco Big Tymers. For tickets and information, visit

Photos by David Simpson (except for Ruben Moreno)


29 Photos by David Simpson

Florida Cajun Zydeco Update!

Sean Ardoin

Sonny Landreth

Kevin Wimmer

Apr. 12-15, 2018 French Quarter Festival (New Orleans) Bands and participating venues not yet posted. Website:

Apr. 14, 2018 Waterway Village Zydeco Festival (Gulfshores, AL) Artists include Chubby Carrier, Corey Ledet, Dwayne Dopsie, and Sean Ardoin. Website:

Apr. 19-21, 2018Â Wanee Music Festival (Live Oak, FL) Bands include Sonny Landreth, Walter Trout, George Porter Jr., New Orleans Suspects, Pink Talking Fish.

Apr. 21-26, 2018 Dewey Balfa Cajun and Creole Heritage Week (Lafayette, LA) Website:


Photos by David Simpson


Pine Leaf Boys

Keith Frank

Horace Trahan

Apr. 27-29, 2018 Annual Etoufee Festival (Arnaudville, LA) St. John Francis Regis Church, 370 Main Street, Arnaudville LA. (337) 754-5912 or

Apr. 27-May 6, 2018 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (New Orleans, LA) 12 stages at New Orleans Fairgrounds.

May 4–6, 2018 Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival (New Orleans, LA) 30 bands in lineup.

May 10–13, 2018 Gator By The Bay (San Diego, CA) Rare out-of-town appearance for Keith Frank. 100+ performances on seven stages.

Yes! You want to plan your trips to out-of-state festivals farther in advance. This is just a sampling. Many more festivals listed through end of 2018 at

31 Photo:

Florida Cajun Zydeco Update!

Saturday, Apr. 14, 2018 — 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. 1210 East M.L King Blvd, Tampa. Admission is free. Most CDs and LPs will be priced at $2. The Ray Villadonga Collection will be featured. More information:


Visit Gumbo Boogie Band Sat. Apr. 14, 2018 — Gumbo Boogie (Treasure Island) 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. at Captain Bill’s Beach Kitchen, 145 107th Ave, Treasure Island, FL 33706. Website: This will be Gumbo Boogie's last appearance at this venue! Come on out.

Sun. Apr. 15, 2018 — Gumbo Boogie (Bradenton) 5:00 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Ace’s Live Music, 4343 Palma Sola Blvd., Bradenton.

Thurs. May 5, 2018 — Gumbo Boogie (Sarasota) 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at LeBarge Tropical Cruises, (941) 366-6116, website: $30

The Porchdogs Cajun Band (also see writeup page 6) Sat. Apr. 21, 2018 — Porchdogs (Winter Garden) 642 W. New England Ave., Winter Park (near Orlando), FL. Phone: (407) 539-2680. Confirm time at Porchdogs website:

Outside Florida North Carolina Fri., Mar. 30, 2018 — Dennis Stroughmatt & Creole Stomp Cork & Keg Bar, 86 Patton Ave., Asheville, NC 28801. 8:30 – 11:30 p.m.

Atlanta Cajun Zydeco Association Dance Sat., Apr. 7, 2018 — Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Chas Dorothy Benson Center, 6500 Vernon Woods Drive NE, Atlanta, GA 30328. Phone: 404-613-4900. Check website for dance events in Atlanta area at

Zydeco Workshop with Anthony Lewis and Cheri Mullenix Sat., Apr. 7, 2018, 4:30 to 6 p.m. Dorothy Benson Center, see above. $15

Florida Cajun Zydeco Update! No. 63 (April 2018)  

Florida Cajun Zydeco Update! No. 63 (April 2018) feature story is "Andre Thierry's accordion soul". Other stories: Chubby Carrier featured...

Florida Cajun Zydeco Update! No. 63 (April 2018)  

Florida Cajun Zydeco Update! No. 63 (April 2018) feature story is "Andre Thierry's accordion soul". Other stories: Chubby Carrier featured...