Florida Cajun Zydeco Update! Newsletter

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Welcome to ISSUE #39 of
FloridaCajunZydeco.com Update!

This newsletter showcases dance events from the FloridaCajunZydeco.com website and publishes articles not on the website pages. The feature story this month is Spotlight on: “The Zydeco Diva” Donna Angelle. Donna Angelle and the Zydeco Posse will be performing in St. Petersburg on Saturday, April 16 at Edge of 9.

On the first and third Tuesdays, you can find us dancing at the Cajun-Zydeco Dance at EDGE OF 9 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. Check out the write-up below and make a plan to join us.

Make your plans to attend our Florida Cajun Zydeco Festival called CrawDebauchery THIS WEEKEND, April 2 and 3, in Pompano Beach. The festival has a great lineup, so check it out below.

We’re happy to say there will be three opportunities to dance to Jeffery Broussard and the Creole Cowboys in Florida. Mid-May the band will be in Sarasota, Delray Beach, and in St. Pete after performing on Mother’s Day weekend in San Diego’s Gator By The Bay. More info on this next month in our May issue, and check out the Calendar page at http://www.floridacajunzydeco.com/calendar.html for dates and info on each Jeffery Broussard show.

Also, we're on Facebook in Groups (Florida Cajun Zydeco Dancers) and with our own Facebook 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 Cajun and 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


Spotlight on:
“Zydeco Diva” Donna Angelle

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

Doors open at 6:30 p.m., dance lesson at 7 p.m. with Sharon Stern. Dance to Donna Angelle and Zydeco Posse 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. $20 cash admission. Edge of 9, Edge of 9, 900 Central Avenue #25B, St. Pete 33705. (Week before Donna Angelle and Zydeco Posse will be appearing at New Orleans’ French Quarter Festival.)


Donna Angelle is called the “Zydeco Diva” by her fans. Very soft spoken with a charming personality, Donna is one of the hardest working musicians on the zydeco circuit and one of the few females fronting a zydeco band, even today. Over the years her band, Donna Angelle and the Zydeco Posse, has opened for many musical greats including Boozoo Chavis, Denise LaSalle, Charmaine Neville, Irma Thomas, Beau Jocque, Chubby Carrier and a host of others. She was voted "Female Vocalist of the Year” in 2003, and won the Boozoo Chavis Heritage Award 2007 from C.R.E.O.L.E. Inc.

Growing Up

Donna Angelle, a multi-instrumentalist from St. Martin Parish, a small farming community in southwest Louisiana, studied flute, viola, saxophone, and clarinet as a teen and loved the R&B and soul sounds of the 60s, especially Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight and Curtis Mayfield, and various artists that appeared on the television programs “Soul Train” and “American Bandstand”. She remembers being eight when her mother purchased a keyboard for her sister. “I picked it up and started banging on it,” she said. She stuck with the keyboard her entire career, only adding the accordion to her repertoire after she established a zydeco band years later. After graduation from high school, she found work as a keyboardist and vocalist for local artists Bobby Price and Cosmic Sky, one of the hottest regional groups of the time, playing frequently in the popular Gypsy Club in St. Martinville.

She started her own band, Chapter IV, and soon after she and her band were performing seven nights a week. These one-night performances took them all over Louisiana to parts of Texas, Alabama, and New Mexico. When several bassists did not work out, she took up the instrument herself. And as bass player, she also backed up R&B artists Archie Bell & the Drells and Barbara Lynn.  

Transformation Into a Zydeco Artist

After many years out of the music business, she met producer Mike Lachney of Bad Weather Productions, who convinced her there was a place in zydeco for her talent. “With the voice you have, you have to get into it,” he told her. So she bought an accordion, and had it for about a year and couldn’t get into it. Then one day she went into the backyard and started playing. “Then I noticed that the chickens would make noise when I played, and they’d stop when I stopped playing. That’s when I wrote ‘Chicken in My Yard.’” She switched to the triple-row accordion. “It’s pretty heavy, but I love it. I still play keyboards.”

With Mike Lachney’s help, she put together a band in 1994 that would become the genesis of Donna Angelle & The Zydeco Posse. The band concentrated on a blend of zydeco, hip-hop, and soulful classic oldies. Donna recorded several albums including Zydeco Soul (which featured R&B tunes from the 60s and 70s with a touch of zydeco), Old Man’s Sweetheart, and Down The Bayou (which showcased her accordion skills and included her most popular tune at the time, “Zydeco Man”). Old Man Sweetheart included the song of the same name with the lyrics: “I want a man like Boozoo, oh with his cowboy hat. The way he squeezes his accordion, I wish he’d squeeze me like that.” “I’ve Got a Pepper in My Shoe” is Angelle’s slight revision of the Boozoo Chavis classic, “Paper in My Shoe.” This tune, recorded by Boozoo in 1954, is generally regarded as the first “zydeco” tune ever recorded.

In 2001 her album release It’s Alright gained her more airplay. It’s Alright displays Angelle's vocal talents along with her skills on the accordion, an instrument that she learned to play several years after she began to sing zydeco. She taught herself to play by listening to Beau Jocque recordings. It's Alright is the first CD that features her accordion on most of the songs. In 2006 she recorded Workin It, which earned five-out-of-five “peppers” from Zydeco Roads out of New York City.  
In 2008 she released Guaranteed Lover which further established her own R&B- and blues-infused zydeco sound with her own compositions and her magnificent vocals.  The album features the cookin’ “I-10”, the saucy “Kiss Me Like You Miss Me,” a reggae-flavored tune “Zydeco Sound”, and some reliable dancehall zydeco favorites: “Zydeco Train”, “Make Me Yours”, “Tee Black”, and “Ain’t Gonna Play Those Games Anymore”. The title tune, “Guaranteed Lover”, is a soulful nightclub two-step, and includes her own seductive interpretation of the Temptations’ hit “Just My Imagination,” perhaps Donna’s signature song showcasing her sweet soaring vocals. “I still have that blues feeling on the stage. I like to take it back. I love the oldies. I do a lot of oldies on stage. I love it,” Donna says.

Donna’s “secret weapon” in the band is the rubboard player, Mary Duncan, Donna’s sister and band manager who has written or co-written many of the band’s original compositions. Zydeco Posse also features Bert Bourque on bass, Paul Tauriac on drums, and Douglas Drake on guitar. Donna says her mother was her biggest inspiration. “I’m living my mom’s dream. She was a singer and a tap dancer. She wanted to travel but never got to.”

“I used to dream when I was younger, laying on the porch. I would imagine I was on this big stage with a bunch of people. It was my dream to play and really make people happy. I’m living my dream.”

Don’t miss “The Zydeco Diva” Donna Angelle at Edge of 9 in St. Pete on Saturday, April 16th.

April 2 and 3 --- Third Annual CrawDebauchery Food and Music Festival (Pompano Beach)

THE THIRD ANNUAL CRAWDEBAUCHERY FOOD AND MUSIC FESTIVAL will take place April 2-3 at the Pompano Beach Amphitheater Field. CrawDebauchery Festival features Zydeco bands will include Chubby Carrier and The Bayou Swamp Band, Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers, Geno Delafose and French Rockin Boogie, the Savoy Family Band and Galactic! 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.”   Massive crawfish boil, food and art vendors.  Tickets and information at www.CrawDebauchery.com


Friday, April 29 --- Dance For Plants Zyde-Swing Dance at Gulfport Casino

To Benefit the Gulfport Community Garden

7 p.m. Zydeco Dance Lessons with Sharon Stern
8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Swing and Zydeco with DJ Jim Hance Gulfport Casino Ballroom, 5500 Shore Blvd S, Gulfport, Florida 33707. Admission $12 cover ($10 in advance from George Zarillo, usually at our Tuesday zydeco dances).

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, and the next song type will be displayed on a sign in front of the DJ booth throughout the evening so you can scout out your next dance partner. "Swing" tunes will be both fast and slow tempo, some zydeco tunes will be of the "bluesier" type, and when requested I will include a cha, nightclub two step, waltz and other tempo tune. Maybe even have 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 the Gulfport community garden project.  See the Dance For Plants Facebook page for more information.

Cajun-Zydeco Dance every first and third Tuesday in St. Petersburg

April 5 & 19 --- First & Third Tuesday Cajun-Zydeco Dance  (St. Petersburg)

6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Edge of 9, 900 Central Avenue #25B, St. Pete 33705. We meet to dance here on the FIRST AND THIRD TUESDAYS each month. The music will be played softly from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. for socializing and dance lesson. The music goes up at 7 p.m. No cover charge, parking lot, painted cement dance floor which works fine for Cajun and zydeco dancing. 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.

NOTE: On April 5, Rays Baseball at Tropicana Field at 7:10 p.m. vs. Toronto Blue Jays may fill the vacant lot to the west of Edge of 9 where we usually enjoy open parking. They may be charging to park there, and there may be tow trucks removing unauthorized vehicles from Edge of 9 parking lot. Dancers parking in the Edge of 9 lot take care to walk directly from your car to Edge of 9 so its obvious you’re not going to the game. No baseball game on April 19.

Easy Street Duo with Mary Morella

Sat. April 2 --- Easy Street Duo with Mary Morella  (Englewood)

7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Last chance to hear Mark, Lisa and Mary before they tour Australia and migrate back to Vermont! Zydeco Grille, 8501 Placida Rd, Placida, FL 33946. http://www.zydecogrille.com


Next Month: Spotlight on Jeffery Broussard

Over the years Jeffery Broussard has mastered the accordion as well as the fiddle and many other instruments. Herman Fuselier a columnist for Lafayette Advertiser and well known DJ, refers to Jeffery as "pound-for-pound the best accordionist around."  Jeffery has been honored with many awardsinduction into Louisiana Folk life Center’s Hall of Master Folk Artists and the Centurion Award from Zydeco Blues Trailride. Jeffery Broussard and The Creole Cowboys make three appearances in Florida in May:

Thursday, May 12 --- WSLR’s Fogartyville (Sarasota)
Fri. May 13 --- Arts Garage (Delray Beach)

Saturday, May 14 --- Edge of 9 (St. Petersburg)


Sat. May 14 --- Dikki Du and the Zydeco Krewe (Ft. Walton Beach)

Helen Back Cafe, 114 Amberjack Dr, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548. (850) 796-1451. Website. Dikki Du Facebook page.



It’s the start of festival season. Here is an incomplete list of festival events listed in more detail on the Festivals page at www.floridacajunzydeco.com:

Features Chubby Carrier and Bayou Swamp Band, Geno Delafose and French Rockin Boogie, Dwayne Dopsie and Zydeco Hellraisers, Savoy Family Cajun Band, Lafayette Rhythm Devils, Porchdogs, Galactic, Maggie Koerner, Bonerama, Raw Oyster Cult, and John Papa Gros Band. Website.
April 7–10 --- FRENCH QUARTER FESTIVAL (New Orleans)
Features Chubby Carrier and Bayou Swamp Band, Donna Angelle and Zydeco Posse, Feufollet, Lost Bayou Ramblers, Leroy Thomas and Zydeco Roadrunners, Rockin Dopsie and Zydeco Twisters, Buckwheat Zydeco, Sunpie and Louisiana Sunspots,  Waylon Thibodeaux Band, Bonerama, Johnny Samson, Raw Oyster Cult, Preservation Hall Brass Band, Joe Krown Trio with Walter ‘Wolfman’ Washington and Russell Batiste Jr., T’Canaille, The Dixie Cups, Sonny Landreth, The Revelers,  New Birth Brass Band, Babineaux Sisters Band, Irma Thomas, New Orleans Nightcrawlers, and more. Website.

Saturday, April 8-10 --- TAMPA BAY BLUES FESTIVAL (St. Petersburg, FL)
Features Aaron Neville, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, JJ Grey, Curtis Salgado, Tommy Castro and The Painkillers, Victor Wainwright, Sugar Ray and the Bluestones, and Walter Trout. After Show Parties on Friday and Saturday nights at the Palladium. Website.

Billed as “the greatest week of Cajun and Creole culture on the planet.” Learn accordion with Steve Riley, zydeco accordion with Preston Frank, advanced Cajun accordion with Paul Dangle, intermediate fiddle with Courtney Granger, Kevin Wimmer and Ed Pollard, and advanced Cajun fiddle with David Greely. Dance to Steve Riley and Mamou Playboys, Geno Delafose and French Rockin Boogie, Paul Dangle and Cajun Gold, and Balfa Toujours. Many other offerings.

April 14-16 --- WANEE MUSIC FESTIVAL (Live Oak, FL)
Gregg Allman, Gov’t Mule, Hot Tuna Electric, Umphrey’s McGee, Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers, North Mississippi Allstars, Stanley Clarke Band, Devon Allman Band, and many others.  Website.

Bands include Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band, Sunpie Barnes and the Louisiana Sun Spots, Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas, Cedric Watson and Bijou Creole, Bonsai Catin, Chris Ardoin and NuStep Zydeco, Corey Ledet and His Zydeco Band, Lost Bayou Ramblers, Savoy Family Band and many more. Website.

April 22-May 1 --- NEW ORLEANS JAZZ & HERITAGE FESTIVAL (New Orleans)
Artists include Stevie Wonder, Chubby Carrier and Bayou Swamp Band, Jeffery Broussard and Creole Cowboys, C.J. Chenier, Feufollet, Honey Island Swamp Band, Steve Riley & Mamou Playboys, Buckwheat Zydeco, Beausoleil, Corey Ledet, Amanda Shaw, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Walter Trout, Michael McDonald, Steely Dan, Gov’t Mule, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Los Lobos and many other bands. Website.

Saturday, April 23 --- GREAT SOUTHWEST CAJUN FEST (Chandler, AZ)
Band: Urban Renewal Project. Celebrating Cajun culture and handcrafted beer, the Great Southwest Cajun Fest will showcase the heart and soul of New Orleans paired with Arizona fusion and flavor. Featuring live music with jazz, blues and contemporary swing revival bands, festival patrons will feel transported to the southeastern region of Louisiana. So, grab some friends and come on down for a day filled with festive celebration.  Chandler Park—125 E Commonwealth Ave, Chandler, AZ 85225 on Saturday, April 23, 2016. General admission is $10. Website.

April 29-May 1 --- PENSACOLA CRAWFISH FESTIVAL (Pensacola, FL)
Bands include Pine Leaf Boys, Lost Bayou Ramblers, Roddie Romero and the Hub City All-Stars, Feufollet, and Voodoo Gumbo. Website.

April 30-May 1 --- WMNF’S 35TH ANNUAL TROPICAL HEATWAVE (Ybor City/Tampa, FL)
Many bands. Website.

Bands include: CJ Chenier and The Red Hot Louisiana Band, Curley Taylor & Zydeco Trouble, Bonsoir Catin, Jeffery Broussard & The Creole Cowboys, Roy Rogers, John Nemeth, Curtis Salgado Blues Band, Billy Watson & International Silver String Submarine Band, Sue Palmer and Her Motel Swing Orchestra, Bill Magee Blues Band, Robin Henkel, Motordude Zydeco, Joe Sans Fontenot Cajun Creole Band, Bayou Brothers, Billy Lee and Swamp Critters, San Diego Cajun Playboys, Theo & Zydeco Patrol, and many more. Website.

Bands include Chubby Carrier and Bayou Swamp Band, Kevin Naquin and the Ossun Playboys, Paul Dangle & Cajun Gold, Wayne Toups and ZydeCajun, Nathan Williams and The Zydeco Cha Chas, Pine Leaf Boys, Wayne & Same Ole Two Step, Keith Frank and the Soileau Zydeco Family Band, Geno Delafose and French Rockin Boogie, Jamie Bergeron and Kickin Cajuns, Horace Trahan and the New Ossun Express, Travis Matte and the Kingpins, Terry and The Zydeco Bad Boys, Corey Ledet, and many more. Website.

Visit Festival-O-Rama at http://www.floridacajunzydeco.com/festivals.html when planning your vacations which include Cajun and Zydeco music festivals.


Dennis Stroughmatt et l’Esprit Creole: Fingers and bow flying, Dennis Stroughmatt takes listeners on a musical odyssey not so different from his own musical journeys into Upper Louisiana Creole culture. Taught to play fiddle by local Creole fiddlers living along the Mississippi River near St. Louis, Dennis is now the authority on this regional pocket of American antiquity. A vibrant blend of Celtic, Canadian and Old Time sounds, this unique music bridges gaps between contemporary Canadian and Louisiana Cajun styles. Preserved by families in the Ozark foothills, the music remains largely intact and true to the traditions that have been passed down over three centuries.  — artistsofnote.com

Atlanta Cajun Zydeco Association

Saturday, April 9 --- ACZA Anniversary party with Dennis Stroughmatt & Creole Stomp
at 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.

May  21 --- Curley Taylor & Zydeco Trouble
June  11 --- Carolina Gator Gumbo
July  9  --- Terry & the Zydeco Bad Boys
August  6 --- T'Canaille
September  10 --- TBA
October  1 --- Zydeco T
October  29 --- Roux du Bayou

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