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Amédé Ardoin

Zydeco (French: “les haricots” or “le zaricot”, English: “green beans”) is a form of American roots or folk music. It evolved in southwest Louisiana in the early 20th century from forms of Louisiana Creole music. The rural black Creoles of southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas still sang in Creole French.

Usually fast tempo and dominated by the button or piano accordion and a form of a washboard known as a “rub-board,” “scrub-board,” or frottoir, zydeco music was originally created at house dances, where families and friends gathered for socializing.

Sometimes the music moved to the Catholic church community center, as Creoles were mostly Catholic. Later it moved to rural dance halls and nightclubs. As a result, the music integrated waltzes, shuffles, two-steps, blues, rock and roll, and most dance music forms of the era. Today, the tradition of change and evolution in the music continues. It stays current while integrating even more genres such as R&B, soul, brass band, reggae, urban hip-hop, ska, rock, Afro-Caribbean and other styles, in addition to the traditional forms.

Notable artists: Amédé Ardoin, Buckwheat Zydeco, Clifton Chenier, Queen Ida & Her Zydeco Band.


  • Mama, I'll Be Long Gone: The Complete Recordings of Amédé Ardoin 1929-1934 Tompkins Square has released this set from Amédé Ardoin, the Depression-era accordion player considered by most to be the godfather of both the Cajun and zydeco genres. Mama, I’ll Be Long Gone, which collects for the first time each of the thirty-four tracks recorded by Ardoin, ought to play the same role for young Cajun musicians that Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music did for Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. Like many of the songs captured by Smith, Ardoin’s songs have entered what we might call the social domain; songs like “Two-Step de Eunice” and “Les Blues de Prison” have been passed around and reinterpreted for generations, and are genre standards.
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