Cajun and Zydeco Dance Music in Northern California
Modern Pleasures in a Postmodern World
Publication Year: 2008
Published by: University Press of Mississippi
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The appearance of this book is in no small part thanks to the patience and generosity of several key people who have helped me along the way. Among the first to provide valued assistance in this project were Bonnie Wade and Ben Brinner, ethnomusicology faculty at the University of California, Berkeley. Ben’s advising on my dissertation, which served as the foundation for this book, was exemplary...
CHAPTER ONE: Prelude: Down At The Twist And Shout
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When I first heard “Down At The Twist And Shout,” it was performed live at a dance circa 1992–93 in Berkeley, California, by a local “swamp boogie” band, Tee Fee. Since that band was performing many original songs, I assumed that this was one of them, and all the more so due to its apt portrayal of how many of the dancers in attendance that night...
CHAPTER TWO: Identity Issues, Research Methods, and Ethnography
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When approaching the music and dance of living ethnic groups actively appreciated by others, be it zydeco or Balkan music or salsa, it is difficult to escape a rhetorical opposition of insiders and outsiders. Indeed, the first chapter employs this opposition in describing the tableau of “Down At The Twist And Shout” (a band of insiders and a dance floor full of...
CHAPTER THREE: Music, Dance, and Social Capital
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In mid-December 1995 I received an invitation from Josephine, a dancer I knew, to a birthday party at Harry’s place, a generously sized farmhouse in Sonoma County, California. The party would start at 2:00 PM on December 30 and food would be provided, so “just come.” I forgot to find out whose birthday it was, and repeated attempts to phone Josephine the night before and...
CHAPTER FOUR: Wartime and Postwar Creole Migration to California
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The next five chapters present a history of how the local scene developed in the context of concurrent events in Louisiana and in the rest of the country. As noted in the previous chapter, the various social sub-networks that comprise the current Cajun and zydeco dance scene in northern California did not all come together at once. The chapters are organized chronologically...
CHAPTER FIVE: Further Creole Migration and Bridging to Other Social Networks
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Creole migration to California continued well beyond the wartime and immediate postwar periods of the 1940s. Although the wartime boom in jobs came to an end, military bases continued to operate and serve as stimuli to the local economy and as destinations for servicemen and their families. Social inequality in the South and differential economic...
CHAPTER SIX: Folk Revival Connection: The Musicians
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While the American folk music revival of the 1950s and 1960s has not by any means been the only source of outsider interest in Louisiana French music and culture, it has certainly been an important one. Well before the 1980s Cajun craze, folk revivalist interest in Cajun music in the United States and France helped to energize musicians in Louisiana such as the Balfas, Marc...
CHAPTER SEVEN: Folk Revival Connection: The Dancers
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While revivalist musicians and revivalist dancers came at different times and by different routes, both groups had accumulated strong cadres in northern California with well-developed social networks before the enthusiasms of a few of them turned to Louisiana French music. Just as the folk musicians who got interested in Cajun and Creole music early would go on to contribute...
CHAPTER EIGHT: Later Gulf Coast Arrivals
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So far, in tracing the growth of the Cajun and zydeco scene in northern California we have seen a number of foundational elements: the history of ethnicities and musics in Louisiana, black migration in the 1940s to California, the growth of international folk dancing in that same decade, and folk and blues revivals that whetted outsiders’ musical appetites for Cajun and...
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Page Count: 352
Publication Year: 2008