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September 19, 2006 > Crawfish, hot sauce and Zydeco music

Crawfish, hot sauce and Zydeco music

by Arathi Satish

Ardenwood will be filled with the lively music of the Louisiana bayou country on September 23. Each year, the Cajun/Zydeco Festival celebrates the distinctive language, culture and spirit of the French-speaking Acadians who migrated to Southern Louisiana from Nova Scotia in 1755. Over the succeeding years, these people blended with many other ethnic groups. Now "Cajun" performers, combine fiddles and accordions with the sweet sounds of French music influenced by swing, country and rock influences. Zydeco is the result of the fusion of French-speaking Creole Cajun music with blues and rock and roll. While the fiddle is generally absent, Zydeco is usually played with accordion, electric guitar and bass, drums, and, sometimes a saxophone. A distinctive instrument of Zydeco music is the addition of a corrugated metal rubboard called "frottior."

A common explanation for the term Zydeco is that it comes from the Creole saying, "Les haricots sont pas sal's" meaning "The beans aren't salty." This phrase means something like, "Times are really hard if you don't even have salt for your beans, much less meat in the pot." It has appeared in many Creole songs and is assumed to have been changed slightly to "Zydeco est pas sal" as sung in many of the original Zydeco songs.

This year's festival will feature music by Mark St Mary & His Blues & Zydeco Band, Les Amis Creole, Queen Ida & her Zydeco Band, Andre Thierry & Zydeco Magic, and Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas & Nathan Jr. Visitors can kick up their heels with dance lessons by Olivia "Tee" Guillory.

Louisiana-style food will be offered along with hot dogs for the kids. There will also be lots of arts and crafts booths to enjoy.

It is recommended that visitors bring a lawn chairs, and blankets. Some picnic tables will be available. Advance tickets are available online at or by calling (510) 636-1684. Parking is free.

10th Annual Cajun/Zydeco Festival
Saturday, September 23
10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Ardenwood Historic Farm
34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont
$14 in advance, $18 at the gate
Children 4 and under free

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