Sponsored by Budweiser, the 12th Annual Southern California Cajun & Zydeco Music-Dance-Food Festival returns to the Rainbow Lagoon Park in Long Beach (Shoreline Dr. at the foot of Pine Ave., behind the Long Beach Convention Center) Saturday, May 30 and Sunday, May 31.
The two day festival begins at Noon and runs continuously until 7:00 PM Saturday and Sunday. Saturday and Sunday's lineup features Terrance Simien, Steve Riley & The Mamou Playboys, Rosie Ledet & The Zydeco Playboys and Walter Mouton & The Scott Playboys. Andre Theirry & Zydeco Magic will perform on Saturday. The Zydeco Bone Shakers and Acadiana both play on Sunday. Acadiana, a Southern California-based Cajun band will also give a second performance while leading the Children's Parade.
Walter Mouton & The Scott Playboys, who have rarely missed playing a Saturday night dance in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana for the past 28 years, will launch the festival with a dance at the Crystal Ballroom, Golden Sails Hotel, in Long Beach, Friday, May 29 at 9:00 PM.
Songwriter/accordionist Terrance Simien possesses a unique Zydeco singing voice, and continues evolving his musical synthesis to include Delta blues, gospel and reggae along with anything rhythmically charged. He collaborated with Paul Simon on the "Graceland" album and also appeared in the movie "The Big Easy."
One of a small handful of women in Zydeco Rosie Ledet is also one of the few younger Zydeco players who still writes and sings of some her own material in Creole French. Accordion/fiddler Steve Riley maintains a deep reverence for the enduring vitality of old-time traditional styles while exploring new directions in Cajun music.
Eighteen year old band leader Andre Thierry carries forward the Louisiana roots music tradition that Creole émigr´s brought with them during their migration to the West Coast in the '40s.
The Zydeco Bone Shakers feature accordionist "Boo" Comeaux - one of the few Cajun (white) musicians to dedicate himself to Creole-Zydeco music. Boo plays Creole Zydeco with committed respect while adding his own cultural identity to its wide ranging, eclectic, open traditions.
Cajun music, developed in southwestern Louisiana by French Acadian settlers includes the diatonic accordion, fiddle and triangle. Zydeco refers to the Creole counterpart of Cajun music, incorporating R&B, blues, jazz and recently urban soul. Much of its distinctive Afro-Caribbean sound comes from a percussion instrument known as the frottoir - a corrugated metal vest that the performer wears and plays with spoons, bottle openers or other metal scrapers. Both styles of roots music encourage dancing which takes place throughout the festival. The fiddle and accordion accompanied by a triangle or spoons for keeping time are the traditional Cajun musical instruments.
Families are welcome to the festival. Comprehensive Child Development a Long Beach non-profit child care organization will conduct children's activities including costume making for a Mardi Gras Parade each day. Louisiana caterers will sell home-cooked Cajun and Creole cuisine along with American deli and barbecue. Dance instructors will teach Cajun two-step and waltz, Zydeco jitterbug, Harlem Shuffle and the Pony Step.
Festival ticket prices are: General admission is $22.00; Seniors (65+)/Students are $15.00; Youths 10 - 16 are $5.00 and children under 10 are FREE. Advance discount prices: one day $17.50; two day $32.00. For ticket information call (562) 427-3713. Or check out the Website - http://www.ZydecoCajun.com .