Lafayette may be home to more genres of music than just about anywhere, but our music is a manifestation of the region’s creolized soul rather than ends in themselves.
Lafayette’s music starts with the French language and evolved for movement.
The influence of traditional songs sung by African slaves and gens de couleur libres accompanied by the percussive rhythm of stomping feet and clapping hands led to “la la” music, fast-paced dance music featuring French lyrics.
The accordion, brought to the bayous and prairies by German shopkeepers, projected a huge sound from a little box full of embellishments and spirit. Like our music that accordion is sturdy, simple, and well-engineered.
The fiddle, carried here initially by Europeans with deep roots in African-American culture, not only collected and fused the melodies of the British Isles of Germany, France, and elsewhere, but it Americanized them by infusing them with the blues.
A simple percussive device rounds out the sound. In Cajun music, the tite-fers or triangle. In zydeco, the frottoir or rubboard. The purpose of both is urgency, immediacy, and movement.
If there is an overarching sound in the area's music, its core is these instruments. The character of their interaction and the shared language that allows musicians to communicate across barriers of age, race, and class.
Lafayette is more than a birthplace, and it is not exactly a capital. It remains something untamed, a song of marshes and prairies and muddy roads that is still too busy being born.
The city of Lafayette, LA is located in the center of Lafayette Parish at the intersection of I-10 and I-49 between New Orleans and Houston and only 35 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico. The eight parishes that comprise the area are Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, and Vermilion. Acadiana is made up of 22 South Louisiana parishes that extend from south of Alexandria in the center of the state, to Lake Charles on the west, south of New Orleans on the east, and to the Gulf of Mexico in the south.
Lafayette, LA is at the heart of Louisiana’s Cajun & Creole Country, an area known as the ‘Happiest City in America’ and it’s no mystery. Whether your passion is for our rich cultural history, the bustling culinary scene or distinctive blend of Cajun and Zydeco music, you can be sure you will leave beaming from ear to ear. Plan your escape to the Happiest City in America.