Music in Our Schools Month: Zydeco

Nathan Williams and the Zydeco Cha Chas.
Zydeco music is popular in Louisiana, where the music started in the United States.

March is Music in Our Schools month. It’s a great time to make music—and to learn about different kinds of music!

Over the past few hundreds of years, people from all over the world settled in what is now Louisiana. People from France, Germany, Africa, the Caribbean, Canada and more made that area their home. All of these people had different kinds of music. The people who lived in Louisiana already played their own kind of music. People put all these kinds of music together. They made a new music called zydeco.

The word zydeco gets its name from a French phrase. It means “the times are hard.” People used zydeco music to tell about the hardships of life through music and dance.

If you’ve ever heard zydeco music, you’ve probably clapped your hands or stomped your feet to the rhythm. Zydeco has a fun beat! Most zydeco bands have an accordion and a fiddle. Zydeco bands also feature people playing a washboard. The washboard is made of metal. It’s often worn around the neck. That way, the person playing it can stand up and dance! They use a spoon to make a rhythm on the washboard.

Clifton Chenier was called the “King of zydeco.” He added electric guitar and drums into his zydeco band. He made the music popular beyond Louisiana.

What Do You Think? What kind of music do you like best? Tell what makes it your favorite.

Photo Credit: James Quine/Alamy Stock Photo