Florida Cajun Zydeco Update! Newsletter
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Welcome to ISSUE #38 of FloridaCajunZydeco.com Update!

This newsletter showcases dance events from the FloridaCajunZydeco.com website as well as articles not on the website pages. The feature story this month is Spotlight on: Nathan Williams Sr.

NORMALLY ON THE FIRST AND THIRD TUESDAY in St. Petersburg you can find us dancing at EDGE OF 9 to some of the best Cajun and zydeco tunes DJ Jim has been able to uncover. HOWEVER, THIS MONTH THE CAJUN-ZYDECO DANCE WILL BE ON THE FIRST AND FOURTH TUESDAY. Enjoy your own adventure in good music at each Zydeco Dance at Edge of 9 with new tunes and discovered gems from the past.


Make your plans to attend our Florida Cajun Zydeco Festival called CRAWDEBAUCHERY on April 2 and 3 in Pompano Beach. The festival has a great lineup, so check it out below. Also, CLAYTON'S CRAB COMPANY has its annual CAJUN FESTIVAL featuring The Porchdogs on March 12 in Rockledge.

FIND PAST ISSUES OF THIS NEWSLETTER are archived 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
Publisher, FloridaCajunZydeco.com


Cajun-Zydeco Dance is on the First and Fourth Tuesdays This Month

A lot of changes this month. Mar. 1 dance ends at 9 p.m. for an Election Watch Party. Usual "third Tuesday" Cajun Zydeco Dance is moved to the 4th Tuesday this month only. And we have a new "Zyde-Swing" dance for the 5th Tuesday this month. We will have a full house of dancers on the FIRST, FOURTH AND FIFTH TUESDAYS this month, so join us!

No cover charge. No smoking venue. Tuesday at Edge of 9 located at 900 Central Avenue #‎25B, St. Pete 33705 (corner of First Avenue South @ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street, downtown St. Pete). Park in lot or just west of the building in vacant lot. Okay to bring food in from Subway next door or Ricky P's down the street. Info at www.FlordaCajunZydeco.com


Thurs., Mar. 10, 2016 --- Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Chas (Miami Beach)

Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas 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.


Spotlight on:
Nathan Williams, Sr.

Zydeco is a genre of folk music that requires stamina, soul, and no small amount of talent to succeed in. Anyone who has heard this soulful brand of music performed live knows just how easy it is to get swept up in the beat and carried away by the rhythm. In order to succeed as an artist, you need to be able to perform at a fast and furious pace, bringing upbeat tunes to the crowd and getting people off their seats and grooving to the sounds.

Nathan Williams is an accomplished zydeco performer who has devoted his life to not only perfecting his craft, but finding the roots of the beloved art form that he has given so much of his time to. Born and raised in the heart of America’s creole country, Williams is a staple of the zydeco genre and does his part to spread its influence across the country and around the world.
Nathan Williams (born 1964) is an American Zydeco accordionist and leader of the band Nathan Williams and The Zydeco Cha-Chas which plays in Miami Beach on March 10.

Williams grew up in a Creole-speaking home in St. Martinville, Louisiana, the youngest of seven children. Times were hard for the Williams family and Williams lost his father when he was only seven years old. He developed his musical sensibility in his hometown, a place rich in folk tradition, following in the footsteps of his uncle, the Cajun guitarist Harry Hypolite.

Nathan eagerly sought out the music of zydeco originators such as Clifton Chenier. When he was too young to attend a Chenier dance at a St. Martinville club, he hovered by the window-sized fan at the back of the building to hear his idol, only to have the bill of his baseball cap clipped off by the fan when he leaned too close.

Williams moved to Lafayette, Louisiana to live with his older brother Sid and his wife. He worked in Sid's grocery store. Later, while recovering from a serious illness, Nathan decided to dedicate himself to learning the accordion. He began practicing in the bathroom because he did not want anyone to hear him play.

Nathan formed The Cha-Chas 1985, and since then has brought his unique take on this regional South Louisiana music to all corners of the globe. From Lincoln Center in New York to The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Nathan's music has crossed all barriers to speak to the very heart of his audience.
In 1988 Williams performed for the first time at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, after which he got his lucky break. Buckwheat Zydeco had left Rounder Records for Island Records, leaving Rounder in need of an accordionist to fill a spot on a project they had lined up. Buckwheat Zydeco suggested Williams for the position. Nathan auditioned and got the recording contract.

Inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2005, he was honored with the Zydeco Music Association's Lifetime Achievement Award. The Cha-Chas were voted the top Festival Band in the country, and have won the coveted Big Easy award for Best Zydeco Band for several years running.

In a review of their latest recording, A New Road, Offbeat Magazine's Dan Willging wrote: The group is still able to create infectious originals that are in the league of such legacy chestnuts “Your Mama Don’t Know” and “Let’s Go.” On “Lookin’ For What You’re Lookin’ For,” brother Dennis Paul Williams creates a catchy ringing sound against his guitar strings every eight beats or so. “Still Alive” is the disc’s centerfold concept where Nathan silences those critics who say he’s not in the game; the prolific tunesmith is just as at home writing songs.

Additionally, he’s also a cunning marketing strategist, tossing in a bluesy, slinky zydeco Christmas song in a genre not known for holiday music. Co-producer/son Nathan Jr. adds killer jazzy keys to the arrangement.

Today, the couple have three children. Their eldest son has music in his blood too, and has already successfully created a niche for himself in the music industry. Williams is proud of the life he has led, the accomplishments of his children, and hopes to keep his humble demeanor in the years to come. When asked what advice he would give to aspiring young artists, he had the following to say: “First of all, be drug free. You can’t do nothing if you’re not sober headed. And another thing is just try to be the best you can. Learn your craft. Try to learn your craft the best you can at your ability.”

Albums by Nathan Williams and The Zydeco Cha-Chas:

Steady Rock (1989)
Your Mama Don't Know (1991)
Follow Me Chicken (1993)
Creole Crossroads (1995)
I'm a Zydeco Hog (1997)
Let's Go (2000)
Hang It High, Hang It Low (2006)
Live at The 2011 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (2011)
A New Road (2013)
Live at The 2015 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (2015)


Fri., Mar. 11, 2016 --- Easy Street Bayou Band at Fogartyville (Sarasota)

8 p.m. The Easy Street Bayou Band is comprised of Mark Trichka and Lisa Brande with the addition of percussionist Mary Morella and guest drummer, George Gabriel. There will be a dance lesson at 7:15 pm before the show! Last year the band lit up the venue with happy dancers and revelers. Events at Fogartyville support radio station WSLR (96.5 FM). Address of Fogartyville is 525 Kumquat Court, Sarasota, FL 34236. Tickets available online for $8 at https://squareup.com/market/wslr-inc  Note: There will be a free Cajun or Zydeco Dance Lesson at 7:15 p.m. with Jerry Carrier.


Sat. Mar. 12 --- Clayton's Crab Company's Cajun Festival with Porchdogs (Rockledge)

Clayton’s Crab Company’s 4th Annual Cajun Festival is being held on March 12, 2016. We will have a live band playing(The Porch Dogs), car show, arts and craft vendors, lots food vendors, kids area and so much more. This is a free event with free parking. If you have any questions please call us at 321-639-0161 or email us at claytoncrabjenna@cfl.rr.com. Also check out our website at www.claytonscrabcompany.com to view past events and current events. Clayton's Crab Company, 5775 US-1, Rockledge, FL 32955. (Rockledge is just north of Melbourne on Florida's east coast.)


Sat. Mar. 26 --- JB's Zydeco Zoo (Tallahassee)

9 p.m. Bradfordville Blues Club, 7152 Moses Lane, Tallahassee FL 32309. 850-906-0766. Website: www.bradfordvilleblues.com


Tues., Mar. 29 --- Zyde-Swing Tuesday Dance at Edge of 9 in St. Pete

6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Edge of 9, 900 Central Avenue #25B, St. Pete 33705. I am trying this new music format with zydeco tunes alternating with "swing" tunes. This can introduce swing dancers and zydeco dancers to different styles of music, and please those dancers who already embrace both. "Swing" tunes will be both fast and slow tempo, some of the zydeco tunes will be "blusier" for the swing dancers, and when requested I will include a cha, nightclub two step, waltz and other tempo tune as well which can often be swing danced to as well. Be aware that this venue has a cement floor, so wear an appropriate shoe like a jazz sneaker or boot for easier turns. All music requests are welcome. No cover charge, parking lot. No smoking venue. Hungry? You're welcome to bring food in from sandwich shop or restaurants. Check out the venue at facebook.com/edgeof9.  Questions and requests: Jim Hance, (813) 465-8165, j-hance@wowpromotions.com.


April 2 and 3 --- CrawDebauchery Festival features Chubby Carrier & Bayou Swamp Band, Savoy Family Band, Geno Delafose & French Rockin Boogie, Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers and Galactic!

THE THIRD ANNUAL CRAWDEBAUCHERY FOOD AND MUSIC FESTIVAL will take place April 2-3 at the Pompano Beach Amphitheater Field. Featuring New Orleans crawfish and music, the festival has expanded to two days after a significant jump in attendance last year. “We had over two thousand people show up at our first festival and then we increased attendance last year by quite a bit,” said event founder/organizer Don Matthews. “That was the motivator to create a two-day event. We’re confident CrawDebauchery 2016 will be our best yet.”   In addition to a massive crawfish boil, food and art vendors, Matthews has booked top tier musicians for this year’s event. Zydeco bands will include Chubby Carrier and The Bayou Swamp Band, Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers, Geno Delafose and French Rockin Boogie, and the Savoy Family Band.

You won't want to miss Geno Delafose and French Rockin Boogie at CrawDebauchery this year. According to Rick Koster, author of Louisiana Music, Geno Delafose, a master of every nuance of zydeco, as well as single- and triple-row and piano accordions, is as enticing a singer as he is a player with immense charm and gentle personality. "Geno is such a real performer and writer," Cajun accordionist Steve Riley said. "He grew up playing the traditional French tunes with his father. He still does it to this day, but he's doing his own stuff, too — and he's one of the only ones doing it. I love to see that. It's who Geno is."

"I can remember as a little boy wanting to play the accordion," Delafose said. "My father played me Améde Ardoin records. He said if I could play like that I'd never have any problems working anywhere. Well, nobody can play like that, but at least I'm working."

Tickets and information at www.CrawDebauchery.com


Sat. Apr. 16 --- Donna Angelle & The Zydeco Posse (St. Pete)

Doors open at 6:30 p.m., dance lesson at 7 p.m., dance to Donna Angelle 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. $20 Admission. Edge of 9, Edge of 9, 900 Central Avenue #25B, St. Pete 33705. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Donna Angelle Story by Linda Seida

Just as Donna Angelle's career as a zydeco musician was taking off with nightly gigs that kept her hopping between her home state of Louisiana and Alabama, New Mexico, Texas, and back again, she suffered a long period of downtime thanks to a serious auto crash. The multi-instrumentalist, who was born in St. Martin Parish as Donna Charles, had already begun making a name for herself as a bass player. Her choice of instrument was considered unusual for the leader of a zydeco band, as was her gender, since a bandleader in the genre would normally be a male accordionist. When she finally bounced back from the accident, the determined bandleader put out a few recordings and opened for acts that included Beau Jocque, Denise LaSalle, Latimore, and Chubby Carrier.

Angelle's love of music made itself known early in life. When she was eight years old on Cypress Island, her parents started to encourage her budding musical talent. In seventh grade in the town of Breaux Bridge, Angelle became a member of her school's band. With her music teacher's guidance, during this time she studied the flute, viola, saxophone, and clarinet. In addition to her teacher's encouragement, she also found inspiration in the recordings of artists such as Gladys Knight and Curtis Mayfield. Television's American Bandstand and Soul Train provided further influence. Upon her 1970 high school graduation, Angelle found work as a keyboardist with Bobby Price, for whom she also contributed vocals. She went on to join Cosmic Sky, a local Louisiana band, within 12 months.

With a desire to lead her own musical outfit, Angelle established a band that she dubbed Chapter IV, a name derived from a Bible verse. When a series of bassists didn't work out, she took up the instrument herself to avoid similar problems in the future. Thanks to her ability to play the instrument, she also worked with Archie Bell and Barbara Lynn. Then the accident occurred and sidetracked her until 1994, when she pulled together a new band that concentrated heavily on a blend of zydeco, hip-hop, and soulful, classic oldies. Bad Weather Productions' Mike Lachney signed her to a deal within months. Lachney is the producer behind such zydeco acts as Rosie Ledet, Lady T, John Delafose, and Pee Wee & the Boll Weevils. The following year, Angelle's Zydeco Soul, her first recording, was issued in cassette form. In 1997, she hooked up with Maison de Soul, a label run by Floyd Soileau. The following year, the company released her Old Man's Sweetheart CD, which also features her backing band, the Zydeco Posse. Down the Bayou followed, with Angelle departing from bass on a few numbers to switch to the accordion.


Dance For Plants Zyde-Swing Dance at Gulfport Casino

To Benefit the Gulfport Community Garden
Friday, April 29, 7 p.m. Dance lessons, 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Gulfport Casino Ballroom, 5500 Shore Blvd S, Gulfport, Florida 33707.
Admission $12 cover ($10 in advance).
We're taking the Zyde-Swing dance to a whole new level at the gorgeous Gulfport Casino with the largest wood dance floor in Central Florida. We can pack in 300 people, so come on down! With the "Zyde-Swing" format, I am alternating zydeco and "swing" tunes. "Swing" tunes will be both fast and slow tempo, some zydeco tunes will of the "blusier" type, and when requested I will include a cha, nightclub two step, waltz and other tempo tune as well which can often be swing danced to as well, and maybe even a line dance. This will be a great evening of dancing at one of Florida's best venues. You won't want to miss it! All of the proceeds go to community garden project.  See the Dance For Plants Facebook page for more information.


Rosie Ledet in Florida

Friday, April 29, 9 p.m. Bradfordville Blues Club, 7152 Moses Lane, Tallahassee, FL, 32309, phone (850) 906-0766. Tickets online at http://www.bradfordvilleblues.com

Sat. Apr. 30, 9 p.m. at Ace's Live, 4343 Palma Sola Blvd., Bradenton, Florida 34209, phone 941-795-3886.

Sun. May 1, 9 p.m. at Little Bar Restaurant, 205 Harbor Place N, Goodland, FL 34140. Phone 239-94-5663.

Fri. May 13 --- Jeffery Broussard and Creole Cowboys (Delray Beach)

8 p.m. at Arts Garage, 180 NE First Street, Delray Beach, FL 33444. Over the years he has mastered the accordion as well as the fiddle and many other instruments. Herman Fuselier a local well known DJ and historian refers to Jeffery as "pound-for-pound the best accordionist around."  Jeffery has won many awards throughout the years just to mention July 2014 he was inducted into Louisiana Folk life Center (Hall of Master Folk Artists) and just recent as December 2015 he received the ZBT Centurion award (Zydeco Blues Trailride). Website: http://artsgarage.org/Home/show-schedule


It's the start of a new festival season, and I will be updating the Festivals page at www.FloridaCajunZydeco.com, otherwise known as "Festival-O-Rama". Festivals in March include Suwannee Springfest in Live Oak, Florida, the Yorkshire Cajun Festival in the U.K., and followed closely by our own CrawDebauchery Festival in Pompano Beach (see writeup above) and Tampa Bay Blues Festival. Begin making your festival plans by visiting http://floridacajunzydeco.com/festivals.html


Atlanta Cajun Zydeco Association

March 12 --- Lil’ Malcolm & the House Rockers
Benson Center, 6500 Vernon Woods Drive, Sandy Springs, GA 30328; Phone: 404-613-4900. Free beginners dance lesson 7-8 p.m. Free intermediate dance lesson 6:15 p.m. to 7 p.m. Dance to live music 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.

April 9 --- ACZA Anniversary party with Dennis Stroughmatt & Creole Stomp
May 21 --- Mardi Gras in May Festival with Curley Taylor
The Atlanta Cajun Zydeco Association (ACZA) would like to remind dancers traveling to Atlanta that there is information about a hotel discount for out-of-town dancers on their website (http://aczadance.org/). “It’s the hotel where the bands stay when they play for us.”


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