Art&Seek presents This Week in Texas Music History. Every week, we’ll spotlight a different moment and the musician who made it. This week, Texas music scholar Gary Hartman looks at a historic recording session that helped set the stage for the emergence of zydeco.
You can also hear This Week in Texas Music History on Friday on KXT and Saturday on KERA radio. But subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss an episode. And our thanks to KUT public radio in Austin for helping us bring this segment to you. And if you’re a music lover, be sure to check out Track by Track, the bi-weekly podcast from Paul Slavens, host of KERA radio’s 90.1 at Night.
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On August 8, 1934, the Bluebird/Victor label recorded six songs by Amédé Ardoin at the Texas Hotel in San Antonio. Ardoin, born in Eunice, La., in 1898, performed songs in a style known as la la, which combined African rhythmic patterns with French lyrics and the accordion, which was borrowed from German and Czech immigrants. At his 1934 recording session in San Antonio, Ardoin blended la la with blues, both of which would later form the foundation for zydeco. Amédé Ardoin’s Texas recordings helped paved the way for the development of zydeco, the first known recordings of which were made in Houston in the late 1940s.