What's included in the Cajun, Louisiana Creole & zydeco music database

By Jim Hobbs

This database is intended to list recordings in the tradition based in the music of the French Acadians who settled in Louisiana following the English expulsion beginning in 1755. These settlers shared their music with peoples already in the area and those who came after them. Acadia was the settlers' word for the region in which they lived. Today is is known as Nova Scotia, and is part of Canada, found on the nation's eastern coast. The word "Cajun" is an oral contraction of the word "Acadian."

My aim was to include the core of Cajun, Louisiana Creole and zydeco music. I have included recordings by Louisiana artists but also those who have succumbed to this infectious music and created their own bit of Louisiana, wherever it may be: California, Minnesota, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, France, or other locations.

Here are the defining characteristics:

One half, or more, of the music on a recording had to meet these criteria to be included. Recordings with a few Cajun, Louisiana Creole or zydeco songs were not included. Forty-five rpms were a special problems, with only two songs. On the whole I was more generous than not in deciding what to include.

Swamp pop is not included. It is a style of rock and roll created by Cajuns and Creoles in the nineteen-fifties. Swamp pop shows the wonderful adaptability and resiliencey of the Cajun and Creole cultures, and I enjoy listening to it. However, I did not include it here because it is an identifiably different style. For more information, read Shane K. Bernard's excellent book, Swamp pop, Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1996.

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