The Kingdom of Zydeco by Michael TisserandThe Kingdom of Zydeco by Michael Tisserand

The Kingdom of Zydeco

byMichael Tisserand

Paperback | November 22, 2016

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“An important book for anyone with an interest in life, American music, Southern culture, dancing, accordions, the recording industry, folklore, old dance clubs in the weeds, fortune tellers, hoodoos or shotguns.” —Annie Proulx

There’s a musical kingdom in the American South that’s not marked on any map. Stretching from the prairies of Louisiana to the oil towns of East Texas, it is ruled over accordion-squeezing, washboard-wielding musicians such as Buckwheat Zydeco, Nathan Williams, Keith Frank, Terrance Simien, Rosie Ledet, and C. J. Chenier. Theirs is the kingdom of zydeco. With its African-Caribbean rhythms, Creole-French-English lyrics, and lively dance styles, zydeco has spread from its origins in Louisiana across the nation, from Back Bay to the Bay Area. It has influenced the music of Eric Clapton and Paul Simon and been played at Carnegie Hall.

In this remarkable and engrossing book, Michael Tisserand reveals why zydeco’s identifiable and unforgettable blend of blues and Cajun influences has made the dance music of Louisiana black Creoles so popular and widespread. Zydeco’s appeal runs deeper than the feel-good, get-up-and-dance reaction it invariably elicits and is intertwined in the music’s roots and rhythms, handed down from generation to generation. Here is the story of zydeco music. Tisserand goes on the zydeco trail to meet the major artists; he reconstructs the legends behind the music’s beginnings, offering complete biographies of pioneers such as Amédé Ardoin and Clifton Chenier; and he takes you into the dance halls and onto the front porches where zydeco was born and continues to thrive. More than a book on a musical style, The Kingdom of Zydeco is an exploration and a celebration of a distinctive American culture.
Michael Tisserand's first book, The Kingdom of Zydeco, won the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for music writing. He is also author of the Hurricane Katrina memoir Sugarcane Academy and the forthcoming biography Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black and White. He lives in New Orleans, Louisiana. Buckwheat Zydeco is the stage name of St...
Title:The Kingdom of ZydecoFormat:PaperbackDimensions:416 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.13 inPublished:November 22, 2016Publisher:ArcadeLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:162872692X

ISBN - 13:9781628726923

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Editorial Reviews

"Michael Tisserand has given us a good one. The Kingdom of Zydeco is richly anecdotal, as moving and intimate as the music, a fine front-porch history of zydeco from the blackjack dirt farms of Louisiana to the oil refineries of coastal Texas. It is as much about human beings and Creole culture as music, about personal foibles, misadventure, white/black tensions, work and parties, trouble in the night, and truly extraordinary characters. The gritty, vibrant voices of the musicians—well-known, obscure, dead, living, recorded, unrecorded—give this work extraordinary vigor and juice. This is an important book for anyone with an interest in life, American music, southern culture, dancing, accordions, the recording industry, folklore, old dance clubs in the weeds, fortune tellers, hoodoos, or shotguns. Somewhere in the book a father tells his musician son, ‘whatever you do, give the people a satisfaction.’ Michael Tisserand does that for the reader.” —Annie Proulx"The Kingdom of Zydeco beautifully captures the world of one of America’s most unique, fascinating, and rockin’ musical cultures. The definitive work on the subject." —Bonnie Raitt“Exhaustive . . . riveting . . . The Kingdom of Zydeco is a back-road trip well worth making.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review“This is a wonderful book, a comprehensive and enthralling look at zydeco. . . . [Tisserand] communicates his love for the music and makes you want to hear it." —David Nicholson, Washington Post“Beyond Tisserand’s clear, enjoyable writing and his agile translation of the riding rhythms into prose, it is his interviews that make this book truly special. These strings of quotes—presented uncorrected and full of colorful colloquialisms—are treasures, bits of living history grabbed just in time, in several cases, to preserve firsthand accounts of customs and people now gone.” —Clea Simon, Boston Globe“The first comprehensive history of the music and a delightful geography of a people and place as untouched by Wal-Mart homogeneity as any in the nation.” —Craig Havighurst, Wall Street Journal“Tisserand delves into the music's past and present in The Kingdom of Zydeco, one of the first in-depth histories of the sound and a well-researched, insightful introduction to the culture that spawned it.” —Lynn Van Matre, Chicago Tribune"[Tisserand] certainly does justice to the complexity of the zydeco tradition. . . . this comprehensive assessment is a must for fans." —Publishers Weekly"Written in a style as lively as the music itself, journalist Tisserand's book is recommended for all music libraries and is essential in Louisiana, East Texas, and everywhere else that zydeco is king." —Library Journal"Highly readable and informative stuff about some great homegrown music." —Booklist“Tisserand's book is the gold mine. The product of years of research, interviews, and van, bus, and horse travel with zydecizers and their kin, Kingdom should do for the genre what Nick Tosches's books have done for country and Peter Guralnik's did for R&B and the blues. —Arsenio Orteza, Village Voice"The definitive book on zydeco. Michael Tisserand presents a historical overview of one of America's last great regional musical cultures, then brings that history to life with vibrant profiles and immediate, on-the-spot reporting. Essential reading for zydeco fans as well as for anyone curious about how an indigenous musical form evolves." —Keith Spera, New Orleans Times-Picayune“A book that’s as readable as a novel while being a font of historical and cultural information.” —Ed Ward, Mojo magazine"Flavorful, sharply reported, and highly readable. The Kingdom of Zydeco is a groundbreaking book on a fascinating species of American music and the culture surrounding it. Michael Tisserand knows his way around zydeco's boulevards and back alleys, and he draws lively and insightful portraits of the musicians, promoters, spouses, and fans who inhabit them." —Tom Piazza, author of Blues and Trouble"Every page of this extraordinary book pulses with humanity, rendered with intelligence, affection, energy, and keen observation—this book is a pure gift to everyone who loves Louisiana music and culture and fine writing about both." —Susan Larson, New Orleans Times-Picayune“An exhaustively researched, intelligently analyzed and lovingly written guide to this most vital of regional musics.” —Don McLeese, Austin-American Statesman“While shelves full of important books on blues have been published, no definitive work on zydeco has existed until now. Michael Tisserand’s The Kingdom of Zydeco is, and likely will continue to be, the best zydeco history available.” —Roger Wood, Living Blues"Music aficionados may reminisce longingly about legendary scenes in the past—Beale Street in Memphis in the 1920s, New York's 52nd Street in the 1940s, or Chicago's South Side in the 1950s—when musical and social elements came together to create sounds that shook the world. Zydeco music is happening now." —Scott Billington, Rounder Records