Skip to main content

Jeffery Broussard - Keeping the Zydeco Tradition Alive

04/22/2015 12:30PM, Published by Phil Reser, Categories: In Print



The Key of Z

May 2015
By Phil Reser

Jeffery Broussard & The Creole Cowboys perform Zydeco, a dance music created by Creole French-speaking people of African descent who historically lived on the prairies of Southwest Louisiana. who historically lived on the prairies of Southwest Louisiana.

Zydeco was built by musicians with little or no formal training who improvised the music of their generation out of the ones that came before them.

It’s a hybrid blend of cultural elements based on the music of western France, brought to what is now the Canadian province of Nova Scotia by early settlers.

As it traveled to the deep south of the United States, it met and incorporated singing styles learned from the Native Americans, syncopation and percussion from Africans, reels and square dances from the Anglo-Americans, Spanish folk tunes and guitar music, and accordion music traditions from Jewish- German merchants.

At present, an informal circuit of devotees to the Zydeco culture resides in New Orleans, Lake Charles, Houston, Port Arthur, Beaumont and Los Angeles, and they are helping to keep this music tradition alive.

Zydeco bands are characterized by the use of the frottoir (metal washboard) played with thimbles, spoons or bottle openers; the accordion; and the singing of rhythm, blues and soul in Creole French.

Born in Lafayette, La., accordion master and vocalist Jeff ery Broussard is the youngest of 11 children.

The son of sharecropper and accordionist Delton Broussard, Jeffery began his musical journey on the drums in his father’s legendary band, the Lawtell Playboys.

During this time, he was exposed to some of the great Creole fiddle players, including the king of the Zydeco fiddle, Calvin Carriere.

“I quit school aft er the seventh grade,” says Broussard. “All I did was farming and play music. I did this to help try to make ends meet because I came from a big family and I’m not ashamed to say it, but we needed the money. I grew up playing drums in my father’s band. Over time I learned to play all of the other instruments, and by my teenage years, I settled on the accordion as my favorite. All of my brothers play instruments and all of my sisters sing and some play instruments, too. I learned French from my parents, and I sing the majority of my music in that language.”

From his father’s band, Jeffery moved to playing drums in his oldest brother’s band, Clinton Broussard & Th e Zydeco Machines. In this band, he played the accordion in public for the first time.

Zydeco is played on a variety of accordions, but most commonly the triple-row and single-row diatonic button ones. The fiddle is also essential to authentic Zydeco, and Jeffery has become one of a handful of Creole fiddlers still working with this style of music.

He plays his own fiddle style, using only two fingers on the strings, sometimes a third, but never a fourth. He plays by sliding into and out of the notes.

During the 1980s, Jeffery became more noteworthy, as a leading member of Zydeco Force, an influential band at the forefront of the contemporary nouveau Zydeco movement, a form of Zydeco that fused traditional sounds with hip-hop, reggae and R&B.

They became a regional hit across Louisiana and East Texas and were featured in the award-winning German film, “Schultze Gets the Blues,” filmed in the former East Germany and in Texas and Louisiana.

After his time with Zydeco Force, Jeffery organized his current band, The Creole Cowboys, which is dedicated to preserving and promoting the Creole culture and traditional Zydeco.

“I don’t just play music to play, I play from my heart. Half of the time when I’m playing, it’s like my hands leave my body; I don’t even know what I am playing. Any songs that I play, I add what I think will make the melody more beautiful. There is a lot of me that goes into the music that I play. I guess you could say it’s all about creativity.”

Jeffery and his band also perform for schools and groups of children. They provide interactive presentations about Louisiana music and culture, play songs, and teach Zydeco dance lessons, including basic steps of the waltz and two-step.

Jeffery Broussard and The Creole Cowboys
Tuesday, May 26
Sierra Nevada Big Room in Chico
www.sierranevada.ticketleap.com



  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/21/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/21/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • For the month of September, the Highland Art Center will feature a fun interactive exhibit with h...


  • An Evening at the Vineyard

    09/21/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Enjoy the beautiful scenery that Matson Vineyards has to offer, all while enjoying Wine tasting, ...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Vinyl Night

    09/21/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Vinyl Night! Join us downtown the first and third Thursday of every month. We are going to ditch ...


  • Art Show

    09/21/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    On September 21st, The Crowning Jewels in downtown Redding will feature a fun art exhibit with ...


  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/22/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/22/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Free Taste Test

    09/22/2017
    03:00PM — 05:30PM

    Choose to make September the start of a healthier life by joining the fun at the following FREE r...


  • Hayfork Farmers' Market

    09/22/2017
    04:00PM — 07:00PM

    Come listen to live music, shop for local goods and produce and cultivate community! The Farmers'...


  • For the month of September, the Highland Art Center will feature a fun interactive exhibit with h...


  • Wildcard Brewing Co. Foodie Friday

    09/22/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    On Fridays from 5pm-8pm, we bring you the best of both worlds: a frothy pint and a flavorful plat...


  • 2017 Autumn Exhibit - Reception

    09/22/2017
    05:00PM — 07:00PM

    Please join us as we welcome the Artists whose work will be featured in Art in the City’s Autumn ...


  • Riverfront Playhouse Presents

    09/22/2017
    07:30PM

    By Mary Lynn Dobson Directed by Samantha Fork Welcome to another stellar season at the Neighbo...


  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/24/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • A gathering and show by collectors of military memorabilia. Helicopter fly-ins, armament and equi...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/24/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Jewelry Making Classes for All Levels

    09/24/2017
    12:30PM — 03:30PM

    The Siskiyou Arts Museum in Dunsmuir will once again offer a jewelry making class with Mt. Shasta...


  • Kitchen Tour

    09/24/2017
    01:00PM — 05:00PM

    Kitchen Tour: Tour 5 fabulous renovated kitchens on Sunday September 24th, from 1 to 5 pm in the ...


  • Riverfront Playhouse Presents

    09/24/2017
    02:00PM

    By Mary Lynn Dobson Directed by Samantha Fork Welcome to another stellar season at the Neighbo...


  • Leann Rimes

    09/24/2017
    07:30PM

    LeAnn Rimes has sold more than 44 million albums, won two GRAMMY Awards, three Academy of Country...


  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/25/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/25/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


Enter to Win!

 
Check out our sister publication, Enjoy Magazine: South Valley Living
Wedding Style Guide 2017
Enjoy Magazine Facebook
Enjoy Magazine Instagram Instagram
Enjoy Magazine Pinterest Enjoy Magazine

Enjoy Our Sponsors