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August 9, 2011 > Cajun/Zydeco Festival hotter than ever

Cajun/Zydeco Festival hotter than ever

By Anna Covell-Henning
Photos By courtesy of East Bay Regional Park District

Want to spice up your summer? The Cajun/Zydeco Festival, an opportunity to experience traditional Southern Louisiana bayou music and gastronomic fare, is returning to Fremont for its 15th year. Presented by East Bay Regional Park District, Ardenwood Historic Farm is the place to hear Cajun melodies of Acadian ballads, listen to the Creole influence within Zydeco and taste traditional Cajun cooking.

Zydeco music evolved in 19th century Louisiana from Creole music. Rhythms are usually upbeat and include accordions and washboards. It was traditionally shared in homes during social events and at church. Cajun music is a close relative to Zydeco, a product of French-speaking Arcadians in south-western Louisiana who emigrated from Canada.

These genres have influenced one another for years and "Cajun" and "Zydeco" have become closely identified with each other, virtually interchangeable terms over time. Cajun music includes the sounds of accordions as well as triangles and fiddles, which gives it a more country-music feel.

Featured artists at the Cajun/Zydeco Festival include Gator Beat, an established Cajun Zydeco band based in Sonoma County. These musicians have been playing together for over 20 years and travel all over the West Coast, happily sharing their spin on Cajun and Zydeco music. They describe their sound as one that incorporates a "New Orleans R&B" vibe, and deliver their music "with a beat that bites." The band includes a washboard, an accordion and a pennywhistle helping to keep their music authentic and true to traditional music of the South.

Another featured artist is Andre Thierry and Zydeco Magic, also based in Northern California. Andre Thierry's roots go back to Louisiana, and he notes that he spent his childhood listening to some of the best Zydeco musicians of all time. Zydeco Magic was formed by Andre when he was merely 12 years old and has been awarded "Best Zydeco Group" by the West Coast Blues Hall of Fame. Their sound can be described as "traditional Zydeco music with hip-hop, blues, jazz, and rock."

At this fun event, all ages are welcome to enjoy a rich, cultural experience. Some who have previously attended say that the event is "a blast," one that easily attracts festival-goers for years to come. Those attending are encouraged by East Bay Regional Park District to "Bring a blanket, low-back lawn chair, sunblock, and hat," in order to enjoy the warm weather in comfort.

Traditional food is always served at the event, and guests have many tasty options ranging from jambalaya to breadfruit pie. Beer and wine is available for older guests, while kids of all ages can enjoy ice cream and other desserts. Vendors selling everything from jewelry to CDs of featured performers will also be at the event.

Proceeds from the festival benefit the Park Express Transportation Program, which serves low-income schools and senior or disabled persons visiting the East Bay Regional Parks. Additional donations to the program can be made at the event.


Cajun/Zydeco Festival
Saturday, August 13
10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Ardenwood Historic Farm
34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont
1-888-327-2757
www.ebparks.org

Adults: $22
Age 4-15: $5
Age 3 & under: Free


Entertainment Schedule

11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Gator Beat
1:15 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.: Jeffrey Broussard & The Creole Cowboys
3:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.: Andre Thierry and Zydeco Magic
5:15 p.m. to 6:45 p.m.: BeauSoleil Avec Michael Doucet

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