Clifton Chenier, singer, accordionist
Accordionist ~ Singer

Clifton Chenier

June 25, 1925, Opelousas, LA ~ December 12, 1987, Lafayette, LA

He began recording in the 1950s, when zydeco - described by Jeff Hannusch in Rolling Stone as “the primitive R&B-oriented dance music of the black French-speaking Creoles of southwest Louisiana” - like other forms of regional American music, was dying out. Chenier both enjoyed and was a large factor in the genre's resurgence during the 1970s and 1980s. In addition to contributing his own live performances and recordings such as the Grammy Award-winning album I'm Here, Chenier was a formative influence on other zydeco artists, including Buckwheat Zydeco, Rockin' Sidney, and Queen Ida. ~ Musicianguide: Clifton Chenier ~ retrieved July 6, 2013 © Musicianguide

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The undisputed ‘King of Zydeco,’ Clifton Chenier was the first Creole to be presented a Grammy award on national television. Blending the French and Cajun 2-steps and waltzes of southwest Louisiana with New Orleans R&B, Texas blues, and big-band jazz, Chenier created the modern, dance-inspiring, sounds of zydeco. A flamboyant personality, remembered for his gold tooth and the cape and crown that he wore during concerts, Chenier set the standard for all the zydeco players who have followed in his footsteps. ~ Allmusic: Clifton Chenier ~ retrieved November 17, 2013 © Allmusic

Clifton Chenier ~ Inducted in the 2011 Louisiana Music Hall of Fame ~ Like so many American originals, accordion player and singer Clifton Chenier was able to synthesize several older genres of music into a new form. He added to Cajun music a touch of the blues, rhythm and blues, and rock & roll to create a driving pop version of Zydeco. He explained, “People been playing Zydeco for a long time, old style like French music. But I was the first one to put the pep to it.” ~ 2011 © Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame

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