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’Garde ici et ’garde lá-bas

Creole Accordion in Louisiana

(p.66) 4 ’Garde ici et ’garde lá-bas
The Accordion in the Americas
Jared Snyder
University of Illinois Press

This chapter explores the history of the Creole accordion. Black Creoles in Louisiana have created their own, distinctive accordion music adapted from French, Native American, and African cultures. While Creole musicians in the early twentieth century were often hired for Cajun dances, where they played Cajun dance music, at their own gatherings they played a uniquely Creole repertoire that drew from the African American blues—a repertoire later developed by accordionists such Clifton Chenier and Boozoo Chavis. Zydeco, as this music eventually was labeled, has become a symbol of Louisiana Creole culture. It is argued that despite the pressure on modern zydeco bands to adapt to the demands of the music industry, the traditional accordion and rubboard remain the core instruments, and zydeco accordionists keep playing in a distinctively Creole style.

Keywords:   Creole accordion, black Creoles, musical instruments, Louisiana, zydeco, accordion music

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