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August 20, 2008 > Cajun/Zydeco Festival

Cajun/Zydeco Festival

'Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!'

For the uninitiated, the phrase, "Laissez les bon temps rouler" can be translated as "Let the good times roll" or a Cajun way of saying, "Let's party!"

"Cajun" is the collective term for a group of people - a blend of French-speaking Acadians who migrated to Southern Louisiana from Nova Scotia in 1755 and many other ethnic groups. Known for good food, good music and good times, these hardy folk were nurtured in the melting pot of Louisiana Bayous developing a culture and life credo that is robust and distinctive.

Acadians mingled with their Louisiana neighbors to create a blood line that incorporated a myriad of cultures and traditions. Distinctive speech with a melodic lilt is accompanied by an equally distinctive style of song. Cajun performers combine fiddles and accordions with the sweet sounds of French music influenced by swing, country and rock while Zydeco is a result of the fusion of Cajun music with blues and rock and roll. Zydeco is usually played with accordion, electric guitar and bass, drums, and sometimes even a saxophone. A distinctive instrument of Zydeco music is the addition of a corrugated metal rubboard (called a 'frottior').

The term Zydeco is said to come from the Creole saying, "Les haricots sont pas sal's" meaning "The beans aren't salty." This phrase relates to hard times when even salt for a simple meal of beans was scarce, much less including meat in the pot. This phrase has appeared in many Creole songs and, at times, been changed to "Zydeco est pas sal" sung in many original Zydeco songs.

Now in its twelfth year, Ardenwood's Cajun/Zydeco Festival represents a unique celebration of the distinctive language, culture and spirit of the French-speaking Acadians. The complex sounds of speech and music create a catchy style that continues to gain fans while remaining a signature of the Bayous. Festival-goers can hear this traditional music first-hand from quality groups that appear each year at this venue. As summer wanes, the Cajun/Zydeco Festival is a rare opportunity to bid goodbye to long, warm days with a trip to the musical world of Cajuns.

The Annual Cajun Zydeco festival, usually celebrated in September, is scheduled this year for Saturday, August 23 as a showcase for talented Louisiana French Cajun/Zydeco musicians and plenty of dancing. Musical entertainment will feature The Creole Belles, Queen Ida and her Zydeco Band, Andre Thierry & Zydeco Magic, Lil Guyland Leday & The Family & Friends Zydeco Band, Roy Carrier and the Night Rockers Treat yourself to a delicious variety of Cajun food, specialty vendors, and dance lessons. Gates open at 10 a.m.; live music will play from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Enjoy a day at Ardenwood Farm surrounded by fields of organic produce, farm animals, and the historic Patterson House. Visitors can take the train from the entrance to the festival site. Bring a blanket, low-back lawn chair, sunblock, and hat and remember to wear your dancing shoes! Alcohol is prohibited and guests are asked to purchase beverages inside festival. NO PETS allowed.

Proceeds benefit the Park Express Transportation Program for low-income schools and groups serving senior or disabled persons visiting the East Bay Regional Parks. Additional donations welcome. Contact the Regional Parks Foundation: (510) 544-2202

Cajun/Zydeco Festival
Saturday, August 23
11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Ardenwood Historic Farm
34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont
(510) 796-0199
(888) 327-2757

Adults: $20; Children 4 - 15: $3; Children under 4 free.

Entertainment may be subject to change.

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