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What is Zydeco?

Drawing from some of his Louisiana roots, Zydeco Joseph is a self taught accordion musician straight from the heart of Houston, TX.  Zydeco Joseph has always had a passion to play music at a very early age.  So much so, he searched his soul for the perfect instrument that would allow his talents to shine through.  Initially, he played around with his first instrument, which was his voice.  His, Grandma Ella Mae, contributed to his wonderful gift by buying him a small  keyboard back when he was a child in the early 70ís.  This was the instrument that encouraged Zydeco Joseph to keep working on his talent.  Not only did he fine tune his vocals, he also decided to explore other instruments that he could be excited about.  An instrument that he could connect with and grasp his ideas of being that musician that he always wanted to be.  As Zydeco Joseph became older, he didnít allow the roles of life to deter his passion for music. 

On his quest to seek and fulfill his desire to become a great musician, Zydeco Joseph enjoyed R&B, but only to the extent that everyone else did.  After his marriage to a beautiful Creole lady by the name of Lois, also from Houston, he discovered that her family was from Lafeyette, Louisiana.  He noticed that they were really into a unique sounding music called Zydeco.  It took him a while to get use to the music, but once he familiarized himself with the lingo and the unique sound of an instrument called the accordion, he when out and bought one of his own.   His first accordion came from a company in Houston called Gabenelli accordions.  That is where the beginnings of his dream came to life.

He quoteís himself by saying he would bring his accordion everywhere he went. even around family and friends and sometimes  out of town in his travels.  He also became familiar with some of the local bands that also encouraged him to play live.  When he first started, he tells the story of how sometimes he would go somewhere to play, he would get very nervous, but the love for the accordion and the appreciation that people showed for his  unique sound, made him work even harder and overcome his stage fright.  Zydeco Joseph finally overcame his nervousness and decided to start a small Zydeco band.  The band consisted of close friends and other local area Zydeco musicians.   Zydeco Joseph and the H- Town players were formed with a bass guitar player,lead guitarist, drummer, scrub board player, and of course the accordian.  Zydeco Joseph never looked back,and itís been nonstop every since. Today Zydeco Joseph still has some of the original members who helped get him started. He also taught and added his son Joe Jr., better known as Gumbo, to the mix which he claims can out do him on the accordian.  Gumbo brought to the stage a different type of flavor with his own unique accordion style. This created one of the strongest and powerful bands in Southern Texas, Zydeco Joseph and the H-town Players.

                                                                 Written by: Natasha Guillory


Hal Richard (Lead)

 John Sears (Bass)

Chris Daniels (Drums)





Zydeco (French: "les haricots" or "le zaricot", English: "green beans" or "snap beans") is a form of American roots or folk music. It evolved in southwest Louisiana in the early 19th century from forms of Louisiana Creole music. The rural black Creoles of southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas still sing in Creole French. Usually fast tempo and dominated by the button or piano accordion and a form of a washboard known as a "rub-board," "scrub-board," or frottoir, zydeco music was originally created at house dances, where families and friends gathered for socializing.  Sometimes the music moved to the Catholic Church community center, as Creoles were mostly Catholic. Later it moved to rural dance halls and nightclubs. As a result, the music integrated waltzes, shuffles, two-steps, blues, rock and roll, and most dance music forms of the era. Today, the tradition of change and evolution in the music continues. It stays current while integrating even more genres such as R&B, soul, brass band, reggae, urban hip-hop, ska, rock, Afro-Caribbean and other styles, in addition to the traditional forms




by Par Nolan Melonson




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