What is Zydeco Music?

Zydeco is a genre of music that originated in the Creole communities of Louisiana. It blends elements of blues, jazz and R&B with traditional French folk music.

Musicians often perform in Cajun styles such as waltzes and two-steps as well as bluesy shuffles. However their defining characteristics include syncopated rhythms played on the accordion along with percussive handclaps played on either side of it by one person at a time while another person plays lead guitar lines over top.

Notable Zydeco Artists

Clifton Chenier

He was born in Opelousas, Louisiana in 1923. Clifton Chenier became known as the King of Zydeco and is considered one of the most influential musicians in the history of this genre. He played accordion and sang lead vocals for his band, The Ils Sont Partis Band (They Are Gone).

His music featured traditional Creole melodies with bluesy rhythms and jazz influences. In addition to being a talented musician and also wrote songs for other artists such as Boozoo Chavis and Rockin’ Sidney who were both popular zydeco artists themselves.

Boozoo Chavis

Boozoo Chavis was born on December 4th 1923 in Ville Platte, Louisiana where he lived until moving to Port Arthur Texas. At age 12 where he would learn how play guitar from his father Ollie “Tee Tee” (Chavis Sr).

After returning home from World War II he started playing music professionally at local clubs before forming his own band called The Rockets Of Rhythm which included future Rocking Sidney members:

  • Joe Falcon Jr.
  • David Lewis Jr.
  • Paul “Papa Mali” Taylor Jr.
  • Cedric Watson Sr.

The Instruments of Zydeco

Zydeco is a unique blend of blues, Cajun and Afro-Caribbean influences. It originated in Louisiana around the turn of the 20th century, when Creoles began to add their own flavor to traditional French Canadian music. Instruments of the genre include:


It plays a central role in zydeco performances because it adds melodic variety and rhythmic drive to other instruments like drums and bass guitar.


Zydeco drummers often use “cowbells” alongside regular drumsticks or brushes on snare drums for extra emphasis on certain beats; they also incorporate handclaps into their rhythms at times.

Bass Guitar

They are used frequently as well as acoustic guitars with flatwound strings that have less sustain than standard roundwound acoustic guitars but produce more harmonics when played aggressively (which can be heard clearly during solos).


Electric guitars are not common, but do appear occasionally due to their ability to cut through thick arrangements better than acoustics. Electro guitars otherwise while still maintaining clarity over long distances between performers onstage versus offstage musicians who may be playing other parts such as percussion instruments like congas/bongos, etc.

Zydecos have also been known to add saxophones or other instruments into their lineup as well.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments