Lafayette, Louisiana, USA
Terrance Simien and The Zydeco Experience
For nearly 40 years, two- time GRAMMY award winning, 8th generation Louisiana Creole, Terrance Simien, has been shattering the myths and often misinformation, about what his indigenous Zydeco roots music is – and is not. It most certainly is American roots music and it is music born of the black and mixed race French speaking Creoles of South Louisiana. It’s exhilarating and as complex and diverse as the Creoles. It’s also more than just one rhythm and one tempo. Sure it’s about dancing; “less dancing please”, said no-one ever! But, it’s also about grooving in place and dancing freely. It is also definitely about the vocal performance. Terrance’s lead vocals and the stunning three part harmonies of he, Danny and Stan – are proof positive that vocal performances matter – a lot! Finally, zydeco music is dynamic and evolving to remain relevant and allow its artists to express themselves within the genre without constraints.
The late, Dr. John and Terrance’s friend/hero, once told him “if the music ain’t changin, it’s dyin.” We couldn’t agree with you more, Mac!
Simien leads a. highly skilled Zydeco Experience band with long time member and creative collaborator Danny Williams (30+ years, two-GRAMMY award winning), keyboards; Stan Chambers (10+ years, GRAMMY award winning), bass; Ian Molinaro – Thompson, drums; and our newest members, Revon Andrews, trombone and Orlando Gilbert, saxophone. Both Ian and Orlando are Berklee College graduates. Another Berklee College grad joins us, Ethan Santos, trading off with Revon on trombone. Three Berklee grads in one zydeco band is definitely a first for this genre! We could not be more honored they chose this music and our group.
Simien has become one of the most respected and accomplished artists in American roots music today. He and his band mates have performed over 10,000 concerts, toured millions of miles to over 45 countries during their eventful career. Their music has been placed in multiple theatre release films, including a Disney film, TV and radio commercials. They’ve shared studio and stage with legends the Meters, Art Neville, Los Lobos, Marcia Ball, the late Robert Palmer and Dave Matthews Band to name a few. They’ve been cultural ambassadors for their country since the mid 1980’s as part of the U.S,. State Department ongoing cultural diplomacy tours. They performed in Ukraine twice with the U.S. Embassy in Kiev and toured Russia for two weeks in 2015.
Fun fact: In 2012, we got the last word when Zydeco became the final entry to the American Dictionary of Regional English.
What is Creole you ask? Kreol Magazine, Editor Georgina Dhillon offers up one of the most poignant and compelling pieces about what Creole is and is not. As people become more connected to their history and roots, information becomes more available and hence the definition can change. We also came upon this and while Wikipedia can be questionable, there is an accuracy to this definition of Creoles – in broader terms.
“Creole peoples are ethnic groups formed during the European colonial era, from the mass displacement of peoples brought into sustained contact with others from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds, who converged onto a colonial territory to which they had not previously belonged.”