Cajun and Zydeco Dance Music in Northern California: Modern Pleasures in a Postmodern World (University Press of Mississippi) traces how the San Francisco Bay Area region of California has been able to develop and sustain more than a dozen Cajun bands and several dances a week.
Queen Ida; Danny Poullard; documentary filmmaker Les Blank; and Chris Strachwitz of Arhoolie Records. These are names that are familiar to many fans of Cajun music and zydeco, and they have one other thing in common: all longtime residence in the San Francisco Bay Area. They are all part of a vibrant scene of dancing and live Louisiana French music that has been going on for decades.
Ethnographic description of this active regional scene opens into a discussion of several historical trends that have affected life and music in Louisiana and the nation. The book portrays the diversity of people who have come together to adopt Cajun and Creole dance music as a way to cope with a globalized, media-saturated world.
Celebrating life on the dance floor to the accompaniment of an accordion, fiddle, and a rubboard is one way to cope with a world that has come to be shared by Creoles, Cajuns, folk revivalists, and others who have been drawn in by the vibrant dance music.
Ethnomusicologist Mark F. DeWitt innovatively weaves together interviews with musicians and dancers (some from Louisiana, some not), analysis of popular media, participant observation as a musician and dancer, and historical perspectives from wartime black migration patterns, the civil rights movement, American folk and blues revivals, California counterculture, and the rise of cultural tourism in "Cajun Country."
Mark F. DeWitt is an independent scholar living in Oakland, California. He has published articles in the world of music and Popular Music and Society.
Cajun and Zydeco Dance Music in Northern California
Modern Pleasures in a Postmodern World
By Mark F. DeWitt
University Press of Mississippi
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