Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Zydeco is a form of folk music, originated in the beginning of the 20th century among the Creole peoples of south-west Louisiana and influenced by the music of the French-speaking Cajuns. It is heavily syncopated, usually fast-tempo, and dominated by the accordion (and/or a melodeon) and a form of a washboard known as a rub-board or frottoir; sometimes including drums; guitar; horns and bass guitar. The music arose as a synthesis of traditional Cajun music with African-American traditions that also underpinned R&B and blues. It was known as "la-la"; "zodico" and various other names. Amede Ardoin made the first recordings of what later became known as zydeco in 1928. The music was finally brought to the fringes of the American mainstream in the mid-1950s, with the popularity of Clifton Chenier and Boozoo Chavis. Rockin' Sidney's surprise hit "My Toot Toot" launched a revival of zydeco in the mid-1980s, carried further by the international fame of Buckwheat Zydeco. Young zydeco musicians, such as Chubby Carrier , CJ Chenier and Rosie LeDet began emerging in the early 1990s.
The word "zydeco" is generally agreed to have originated from the French les haricots meaning "the beans" from the song, "Les Haricots sont pas salÚs". The title means "The beans aren't salted", a reference to the singer being too poor to afford salt pork to season the beans.
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