Zydeco Bands – The Perfect Mardi Gras Music

Drew StogaContributor

Zydeco music was born in the bayous of Southwestern Louisiana but is now celebrated all around the world as one of the most unique, not to mention FUN, musical forms out there. In honor of Mardi Gras we wanted to take our readers on a brief trip to Louisiana and introduce our readers to Zydeco and a few of our favorite Zydeco bands. Newcomers to Zydeco should expect an upbeat and extremely danceable mix that borrows from rhythm and blues, rock, jazz and much more.  That being said, Zydeco music is very unique – there really is no other music quite like it and no comparison can do it justice. The beat is usually kept by a washboard player. That’s right – the percussionist wears a washboard around their neck and scrapes it with spoons, bottle openers or other metal objects to keep the rhythm. Accordion players usually get star billing in Zydeco bands as do vocalist (often it’s the accordion player who sings). Lyrics are delivered in a mix of English and French. Zydeco bands can also include bass, guitar, full drum kits, fiddles and more.

To really understand the sound of Zydeco, you need to hear it firsthand. Below are a few of GigMasters’ many Zydeco bands – available for your upcoming Mardi Gras party. Enjoy! Nawlin’s Po’ Boy’z (Citra, FL) This Zydeco band - who also plays blues, Dixieland, rockabilly and more – is led by Cajun Dave who was “born and raised on the Westbank of New Orleans.” Cajun Dave sings and plays everything from fiddle to banjo to squeezebox and much more.  Dave has worked with numerous industry legends like Ralph Stanley, The Byrds, Johnny Winter and Bo Biddley. Now Dave, along with guitarist Lee Britt and washboard player Lester Verrette, is lighting up Northern Florida as the Nawlin’s Po’ Boy’z. Mark St. Mary Louisiana Blues & Zydeco Band (Antelope, CA) This five star review says it all: “I could not have chosen a better band for my wedding! I got compliment after compliment on the music and they totally kept the party going. I can't say enough good things about them! Everyone from 4 to 84 enjoyed the music and people never left the dance floor.” Isn’t that exactly what you are looking for in a band?

Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band (Scott, LA) Chubby Carrier was literally born into Zydeco and one of the most famous families in the tradition. Encouraged by his father and grandfather, Zydeco legends Roy and Warren Carrier, Chubby began playing drums at age 12 and accordion at age 15. Chubby and the Bayou Swamp Band have toured the world and make regular appearances at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the mecca for fans of regional Louisiana music. The Bayou Swamp Band have released five albums and took home the Grammy for best Zydeco or Cajun Music Album for their most recent release “Zydeco Junkie.”

Congrats to Chubby and his band! If you like what you hear – check out more of our Zydeco bands, located all across the U.S. We also recommend doing your homework and enjoying the music of Zydeco legends like Clifton Chenier and Beau Jocque.

Happy Mardi Gras!