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Music of Louisiana

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The music of Louisiana, like other cultural aspects of the state, can be divided in to three general regions. The northern half of the state shares the most similarities with the rest of the US South. The south-west of the state is dominated by Cajun culture. To the south east, the area in and around New Orleans has its own rich traditions.

Cajun Music After the inhabitant of present-day Nova Scotia were expelled by the British, many settled in southern Louisiana, such as around New Orleans. Many of these Acadians became subsisdence farmers and were usually quite poor. By the 1800s, Acadians were called Cajuns and their culture became an unusual mix of French-Canadian, Anglo-American and Afro-Caribbean elements.

In the 1800s, the fiddle was the most popular Cajun instrument, though German immigrants soon brought the accordion as well. African American farmhands at the time sang a rhythmic type of work song[?] called juré[?], which mixed with Cajun folk music to form la la[?]. La la was primarily rural, played at parties also known as la las, and found in towns like Mamou, Eunice and Opelousas.

In 1901 (see 1901 in music), oil was discovered at Jennings and immigration quickly hastened; many of the newcomers were white businessmen who attempted to force the Cajuns and other minorities to adopt the dominant American cultural forms, even outlawing the use of the French language in 1916.

Commercial recording of Cajun music began in 1928 (see 1928 in music). These early songs were mixtures of la la, contredanses[?], reels and jigs and other folk influences from black, white and Native American traditions. In the late 1930s and 1940s, country music became the dominant sound of Cajun music, and bass and steel guitars were used.

In the 1950s, a revival of interest in traditional Cajun music begun. The 1964 Newport Folk Festival[?] was one major impetus. In the next decade, the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana[?] was founded and the a few years later, an annual festival that came to be known as Festival Acadiens[?] was begun in Lafayette. Creole musicians were inspired by the blues and jazz to update la la with wild R&B rhythms, thus forming zydeco. Louisiana blues is a specialized form of blues music that uses slow, tense rhythms and is closely related to New Orleans blues and swamp blues (from Baton Rouge).

Zydeco's most distinguishing feature is the vest frottoir[?], or rubboard. Originally African, the vest frottoir was re-introduced in the 1930s in Louisiana. Boozoo Chavis[?]' "Paper in My Shoe" was a local hit in 1954 (see 1954 in music); this is first modern zydeco recording. Chavis left the music business though, and Clifton Chenier[?] became the first major zydeco star and also led to the invention of the word zydeco. One of his hits was "Les Haricots Sont Pas Salés" (the snap beans aren't salty) and les haricots (the snap peas) was corrupted to zydeco.

In the mid-1980s, a musician named Rockin' Sidney briefly repopularized zydeco music nationwide with the hit single "My Toot Toot".

Music of Northern Louisiana Traditional Country music has been important. Jimmie Davis[?]. 1950s "Country Rock"; Ram Records[?]. Shreveport produced The Residents.

New Orleans Music In the 19th century already a mixture of French and Spanish music, African and Afro-Caribbean. The city had a great love for Opera; many operatic works had their first performances in the New World in New Orleans.

Louis Gottschalk[?] was an early 19th century White Creole pianist and composer from New Orleans, the first American musician/composer to become famous in Europe. A number of his works incorporate rhythms and music he heard performed by African slaves.

"Dixe" was published here. New Oreans was a regional Tin Pan Alley music composing and publishing center, and also an important center of ragtime.

New Orleans jazz[?] - Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, Red Allen

New Orleans blues - New Orleans was the first place where the early rural folk style of the blues became popular in an urban setting. Buddy Bolden was said to be the first to have the blues played by a a band and for dancing. Rabbit Brown[?] was one of the oldest earliest blues musicians to be recorded. New Orleans blues singers like Papa Charlie Jackson[?] and New Orleans Willie Jackson[?] were noted for their rhythmic style; people were said to be able to dance to them singing unaccompanied.

Louis Prima

Gospel music and spirituals; Mahalia Jackson

1950s Rhythm & Blues. Fats Domino Snooks Eaglin[?] Dave Bartholomew[?], Professor Longhair

The Neville Brothers

1980s new style of "street beat" brass bands combining the jazz brass band tradition with funk and hip hop, spearheaded by the Dirty Dozen Brass Band[?] (which had more of a bebop influence than many of the later bands), then the Rebirth Brass Band[?].

Contemporary New Orleans jazz, Wynton Marsalis, Nicholas Payton[?]

Continuing development of the traditional New Orleans jazz style, Tom McDermott[?], Evan Christopher[?], New Orleans Nightcrawlers[?]

Rock The Meters, Galactic[?], Better Than Ezra



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