I was about seven years old, but I remember it like it happened yesterday. My family was eating dinner at my Grandmother’s house and I had recently moved back to Waco, Texas with my dad. I could remember asking, “What is that noise? ” It took me three years to understand what Zydeco truly means, but I took no time to learn the two-step dancing. I listened to Zydeco at a young age, not knowing I did not understand the meaning behind the music, or the important role it played in my life.
To me, Zydeco is more than music; it is a way of life. I have listened to Zydeco music through good and bad times throughout my life. My family plays Zydeco music at family gatherings and social events such as holidays, trail rides, birthdays, baby showers, and even funerals. No matter where we would be, we would listen and dance like there was no tomorrow. For as long as I can remember, my family has been playing Zydeco music at funerals. Some people may think it is disrespectful, but it is a family tradition.
The reason we play Zydeco at all of our gatherings, is because growing up we were taught to always look at the positive aspects of life. So when a death occurs in the family, we listen to Zydeco and it reminds us that our loved one will always be with the family, but in a better place. Listening to Zydeco gives me a warm and grateful feeling inside. It comforts me to know that no matter what the situation is, there is always a reason to smile. There are different styles of Zydeco such as Zydeco Jazz, Zydeco Blues, and the most popular is Button Box.
Zydeco artists send different messages through their songs. Songs have different messages like celebrating; being in love, and the trials and tribulations a person goes through every day. Every generation has one Zydeco artist whose music they grow up dancing and listening to. Artists send positive messages about life or simply having a good time. Over the years, one of the main messages Zydeco artists send to fans is to be thankful for being alive. Older Zydeco music focuses on being alive, but I’ve learned that it has developed over time.
However, I feel that there is always a Zydeco song to make me feel better. I believed Zydeco music could impact my life in ways it has. It has always been part of my family and that will continue for decades. That sweet sound transformed me the first time I heard it. However, the song that I always turn to is “Tu Le Ton Son Ton” by Andre Thierry & Zydeco. Andre Thierry’s song reminds me to keep doing my best throughout the week, and that the weekend is near. I learned over the years what Zydeco truly means and how my family expects me to carry on the tradition with my children.