Florida Cajun Zydeco Update! Newsletter
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Welcome to ISSUE #32, an EXTRA! edition of FloridaCajunZydeco.com Update!
This newsletter showcases dance events from the FloridaCajunZydeco.com website as well as articles not on the website pages. Tonight at 7 p.m.  An Interview with Ruben Moreno by John Osgood, WSLR.org.


EVERY FIRST AND THIRD TUESDAY in St. Petersburg you can find us dancing at EDGE OF 9 (our NEW venue in St. Pete) to some of the best Cajun and zydeco tunes DJ Jim has been able to uncover. Enjoy your own adventure in good music at each Cajun and Zydeco Dance at Edge of 9 with new tunes and discovered gems from the past. More than 50% of the music is different every dance, and a lot of it has never been played at any previous dance.

NEW AND IMPROVED on FloridaCajunZydeco.com is the “Stories” page. It contains archives of THIS NEWSLETTER, and each issue has a photo representing the artist featured in the main article. Check out some of the archived newsletters at www.FloridaCajunZydeco.com/stories.

Also, we're on FACEBOOK in Groups (Florida Cajun Zydeco Dancers) and with our own Page (Florida Cajun Zydeco). Check us out and "Like" us to see the posts and reminders throughout the week. This is a good way to get your zydeco fix between newsletters.

FloridaCajunZydeco.com loves to travel and fits neatly in your pocket on your smart phone. Check the website for dance information wherever you may travel.

Regards, Jim Hance

Interview Tonight with Ruben Moreno

7 P.M. ON WSLR.ORG:  The bandleader of Ruben Moreno and Zydeco Re-Evolution is being interviewed by John Osgood on his "Louisiana Gumbo Show" this evening on WSLR.org. The interview will be in the first 15 minutes of the show, which broadcasts 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. ET. Moreno is delaying going on stage 15 minutes to do the interview. Osgood says "I am planning on talking about the zydeco-Mexican connection project with which he is involved. I am a big fan of that project."

Ruben is only 25 years old, but he has been touring and performing on stage and in recordings with zydeco legends for the past ten years! Leroy Thomas, Roy Carrier, David Hidalgo of Los Lobos, CJ Chenier, Buckwheat Zydeco, Andre Thierry, Geno Delafose and Jeffery Broussard, to drop a few names. He writes his own music superbly well which is infused with traditional zydeco, blues, country, brazilian and african beats and gospel chord changes, and he is a great story teller and passionate about a lot of social issues.

Tune in for the interview, and enjoy some of the Ruben Moreno music John Osgood will be playing during his show 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. (eastern time).

If you miss the interview, the show will appear in the WSLR.org archives (though I am not certain as to when). Archives are posted at http://archive.wslr.org.


Cajun-Zydeco Dance in St. Pete Twice a Month!

THIS TUESDAY, SEPT. 15 AT EDGE OF 9 — 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.,  join us for a fun, FREE evening of great zydeco music — THIS WEEK FEATURING BRAND NEW MUSIC FROM LIL' NATHAN AND THE ZYDECO BIG TIMERS!  I like the Lil' Nate's zydeco re-do of Carl Carlton's "She's a Bad Mamma Jamma" so much I will have to play it twice. I will have to also play some tunes from the latest Steve Riley album, Voyageurs, too. What a great album that is featuring Kevin Wimmer on fiddle. Lot of Keith Frank music to be played too.

We dance every first and third Tuesday at Edge of 9. Take First Avenue South (towards downtown waterfront) and turn in to the parking lot just before you get to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street (9th Street). The venue is on First Avenue South with a red awning. The official address is 900 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg, FL 33705.

The music is turned down a bit for the first hour, our dance lesson and social hour. Then the music goes up at 7 p.m. No admission cost, free parking in the lot right outside, no smoking venue, and you can bring dinner with you from one of the nearby restaurants. Please support the bar!


Spotlight on:
Ruben Moreno & Zydeco Re-Evolution in St. Pete September 19


SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 7 p.m., Interview with Ruben Moreno by John Osgood, WSLR.org. John will play music by Ruben Moreno throughout his 2-hour show, “Louisiana Gumbo Show.”

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Ruben Moreno & Zydeco Re-Evolution play live at Edge of 9, 900 Central Avenue #25B (actual location is First Avenue South near corner of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street --- look for red canopy and park in the lot if there is a space.) Doors open at 7 p.m., zydeco dance lesson at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $20.


He’s the best singer in all of zydeco!” — Leroy Thomas

Houston-raised Ruben Moreno is only 25 years old, but he has been touring and performing on stage and in recordings with zydeco legends for the past ten years. Leroy Thomas, Roy Carrier, David Hidalgo of Los Lobos, CJ Chenier, Buckwheat Zydeco, Andre Thierry, Geno Delafose and Jeffery Broussard, to drop a few names. He writes his own music superbly well which is infused with traditional zydeco, blues, country, brazilian and african beats and gospel chord changes, and he is a great story teller and passionate about a lot of social issues.

His childhood was spent in the company of his grandmother (who owned a bar in the east part of Houston) and her friends, many of whom were zydeco musicians.  After picking up the washboard while still very young, Moreno’s musical turning point came when he performed on stage at age 10 with Leroy Thomas. It was an experience that inspired Moreno to focus his energy on becoming a performer, and subsequently led to tours with CJ Chenier and Andre Thierry.

For Moreno, though, it’s about more than just the music. He sees his career as a tool for making the world better, admiring Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bob Marley for using their talents to enable and encourage change. But he doesn’t let the heavy things get in the way of zydeco’s natural ability to make you feel good. His 2012 debut album Por Ti Volare is full of upbeat, syncopated rhythm and his own soulful voice, with universal themes of love and heartbreak.


According to a 2004 article in the Houston Chronicle by Daphne Rozen, by the time Ruben was 14 he had already played over 100 performances as the youngest member of Leroy Thomas and The Zydeco Roadrunners. He was first recruited by Leroy Thomas to join the band on stage on rub boards.  "He's the first person I know who came into zydeco music not being shy," Thomas said. "I think he [has always known] that's what he wanted to do."

Then as an 8th grader, “Little Ruben” with his accordion, and with his science teacher Jerry Dearbonne on acoustic guitar, made their musical debut at his middle school introducing students and teachers to zydeco music. To their utter amazement, the audience went wild. "They were going crazy," said the 14-year-old Moreno. "The people in the bleachers were about to fall off."

Moreno was born into a family of musicians. His uncle Neto of Neto Perez & the Originals, a Houston Tejano group, and his uncle Mickey of Bon Ton Mickey and The Zydeco Hot Steppers, were regionally well-known musicians. From an early age, Moreno said he felt connected to zydeco more than any other musical genre. "I [play zydeco] because I like it that much," he said.

Leroy added at the time Moreno is definitely an up and coming zydeco musician. "He's got a lot of rhythm and a lot of soul," Thomas said. "He's got a lot of talent."


Ruben spent the past decade honing his craft touring with Leroy Thomas, C.J. Chenier, the late-great Roy Carrier, Jeffery Broussard and Andre Thierry in California. Ruben released his first solo recording,”Por Ti Volare (For You I Will Fly) in 2012 which was nominated for a zydeco music award, and a second album, Compliqué (Complicated) released recently is also being praised by peers and audiences alike.

Zydeco is a musical genre of the French Creole community in Louisiana that blends blues, R&B, Caribbean rhythms, and the indigenous Creole “lala” music with a distinctly different 8-count driving beat. One of the first zydeco artists was Clifton Chenier who gave it the name “zydeco” in the mid-1950s and made it famous around the world.

At 14, Moreno said he also hoped to be a great musician like his role model, Clifton Chenier. "They say I play like I've been playing all my life," Moreno said. "So I guess I play pretty fast."

"That's one thing I like about this music," Moreno said. "Everyone's always having a good time. (There's) no fighting, no arguing, no nothing."


The new vanguard of zydeco artists like Ruben Moreno are blending additional influences like hip-hop, soul, jazz, rock, folk and pop ingredients to move the genre in new directions with a different attitude. Ruben Moreno’s style is that of soulful storyteller, and his music is sometimes reminiscent of doo-wop and early rock’n roll with a honky-tonk playfulness, all with a driving zydeco beat of course. 

Moreno sees zydeco continuing to push forward in so many ways. But what it’s really about, he says, is who influences the artist and how he expresses himself. Sometimes Moreno is questioned if he’s really playing zydeco. “They come up to me and they say ‘Oh no, that’s not zydeco. I have heard zydeco before,’” Moreno explains. “And I’ll ask them ‘Who are your zydeco idols?’ Oh well, they’ll say ‘Beau Jocque.’ Well okay, he took ’60s-’70s pop and funk hits and incorporated it into zydeco. How’s that any different? And the same with the King of Zydeco, Clifton Chenier. He was playing top 40s, Ray Charles, Little Richard, Fats Domino, Ella Fitzgerald and all types of swing and rock ’n’ roll hits on the accordion. It’s the same concept but a different era.”


Offbeat magazine writer Dan Willging wrote, if zydeco keeps pushing forward, Ruben Moreno will be one of the reasons why. Last year he and west coast zydeco phenom Andre Thierry, producer of Moreno’s two albums, were involved in a pan-cultural collaborative project with Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo and the nonprofit Los Cenzontles Cultural Arts Academy of Richmond, California to bridge the commonalities of zydeco and Latin music. Historically, the two cultures have paralleled each other. One of the songs, “You Will Cry,” sung by Moreno on the resultant Shades of Brown album, came by the way of Ry Cooder. “It has a great back story,” explains Eugene Rodriquez, Los Centzontles executive director. “This popular East Los Angeles singer named Little Julian Herrera, who was a real star in the neighborhood back then [the ’50s], recorded ‘You Will Cry’ and Ry had turned me onto that. Ruben sang it, and wow, Ruben is the reincarnation of Little Julian!”

At the concert, Bonnie Raitt was in attendance, “All of a sudden, Ruben turns into superman. He comes alive onstage and he’s just a big ham all over the place dancing,” Rodriguez says. “Bonnie Raitt just went bananas. Wow, I thought, that was an interesting transformation.”

And Rodriguez was amazed by how naturally the Creole music meshed with the sounds of traditional Mexican folk instruments like the requinto guitar and the quijada, a donkey's jawbone.  "It just locked into place," says Rodriguez.

“We have the same traditions and the same values, the same background, experiences and history somewhat, you know,” Moreno explains about how the cultures are alike. “And the music is similar, the language, the expressions, the food, the fact that we celebrate and we dance and that is a big part of who we are in our culture.”

“And all of that ties in and brings us closer together. And that’s what I try to express through my music and live performances,” Moreno continues. “Playing in Houston where the whole crowd is mainly people of color, the one group is mainly African-American and Creole and the other is a mixed race of Latin background and they are all dancing the same and having a good dance high. It is a good time to come together and just really celebrate.”

“I’m kind of building this bridge right here,” Moreno said. “I don’t know how it’s happening, but I am going with the flow. I’m not going to fight it, that’s for sure.”


Performing at the major festivals in the United States and Europe, Ruben attracted the attention of iconic Creole ambassador Buckwheat Zydeco.

"I was captured by the sounds I was listening to, not knowing who it was on stage. I had no clue and it was amazing!" stated Grammy award-winning Stanley "Buckwheat" Dural, after seeing him at a California festival.  "Ruben's music takes you to a different dimension. He is very versatile and that is what makes a professional."



Ruben Moreno & Zydeco Re-Evolution’s ONLY FLORIDA PERFORMANCE is Saturday, Sept. 19 at Edge of 9 in downtown Saint Petersburg. Edge of 9 is located off of First Avenue South at 9th Street (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street), although the official address is 900 Central Ave., Suite 25B. There are 40 parking spaces at the venue for those who show up early. Doors open at 7 p.m., with a zydeco dance lesson at 7:30. Ruben Moreno and Zydeco Re-Evolution will perform 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Cost is $20. For additional information call Edge of 9 at (727) 843-3343 or visit the website www.FloridaCajunZydeco.com


In October, there will be performances in Florida by Nathan Williams Sr. & The Zydeco Cha Chas, Tab Benoit, and Buckwheat Zydeco. The Magnolia Fest in Live Oak, FL Oct. 15-18 will feature Donna The Buffalo and Lost Bayou Ramblers.


Zydeco Cha Chas in Miami Beach

On Thursday, October 8, Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas play at Dance Band Night, North Beach Band Shell, 7275 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, FL (305) 672-5202.  7:00 – 8:00 PM Dance lesson from Jarene 8:00 p.m. Open dancing to Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.


Tab Benoit at Skippers (Tampa)

October 17 and 18, Louisiana Cajun blues artist Tab Benoit is at Skippers both Saturday and Sunday. Skippers Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Rd., Tampa 33613. More info at skipperssmokehouse.com. They have a ticket special price if you buy tickets for both Saturday and Sunday. The show should be different each night. That’s the way Tab rolls.


Friday, October 30th JB's Zydeco Zoo plays the Halloween Party at Bradfordville Blues Club, 7152 Moses Lane, Tallahassee, FL, 32309. Phone 850-906-0766. Dress up as your favorite zydeco zoo animal. Website: http://www.bradfordvilleblues.com/index.htm


Buckwheat Zydeco at Skippers (Tampa)

Saturday, October 31 at 8 p.m., opening band will be Gumbo Boogie. Buckwheat Zydeco takes the stage a bit later at Skippers Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa 33613, Phone 813-971-0666. Info at www.skipperssmokehouse.com


Dance to Florida Bands


Gumbo Boogie is playing at several venues in the Tampa Bay area throughout the month of September. Venues include Ace’s Live on Sept. 20, Clancy’s on Sept. 26, and BBQ Festival at Klauber Polo Ranch on Oct. 3.

Find more information on each of these bands and their engagements at floridacajunzydeco.com/calendar.html.



Here are your last opportunities to attend a Cajun-Zydeco festival this year.

Festivals Acadiens et Creoles (Oct. 9-11 in Lafayette, LA). Bands include Geno Delafose, Jeffery Broussard, Kevin Naquin, Terry and the Zydeco Bad boys, Travis Matte, Wayne Toups ZydeCajun, Sheryl Cormier, Ruben Moreno, Magnolia Sisters, Pine Leaf Boys, Corey Ledet, Feufollet, Chubby Carrier, Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, and Keith Frank. Website: http://www.festivalsacadiens.com

Magnolia Fest (Oct. 15-18 in Live Oak, FL).  Bands include Donna The Buffalo, New Orleans Suspects, Lost Bayou Ramblers, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Avett Brothers, Del McCoury Band, Habenero Honeys. Website: http://www.magnoliafest.com

Creole United Festival (Oct. 17 in Sausalito, CA) Bands include Andre Thierry and Zydeco Magic, Yoshi-Taka Nakabayashi & Zydeco Kicks, Nathan Plumbar, and KI Nicholas. Website: http://www.creoleunitedfestival.com

South Louisiana Blackpot Festival and Cookoff (Oct. 30-31 in Lafayette, LA). Bands just listed include Pine Leaf Boys, The Revelers, Little Freddie King, Ed Poullard and Preston Frank, T-Monde, Blaze & Saddles, Corey Ledet, Djoukil, Creole String Beans, among others. More info at http://blackpotfestival.com

Check http://floridacajunzydeco.com/festivals.html for festival websites and other information. FloridaCajunZydeco.com will begin listing 2016 festival dates in coming weeks, though specific lineups at most events have yet to be determined.


Still Free…

and worth every penny! I hope you have enjoyed this issue of FloridaCajunZydeco Update!

Please forward to friends who are interested in Cajun and zydeco music and dancing…or just reading about it!


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Regards, Jim Hance