The Musical and Cultural Roots of Louisiana Creole and Zydeco Fiddle Tradition through Canray Fontenot

By D'Jalma Garnier III


Born October 16, 1922, in L'Anse Aux Vaches, Louisiana, Canray Fontenot passed away in Welsh, Louisiana, on July 29, 1995.1 He is an icon, spanning a time before the first 'Zydeco' record, living through its recording, and even seeing the digital age. One of the most renowned and beloved figures in Louisiana music, Canray Fontenot was an extraordinary fiddler and storyteller. No one, black or white, doubts his contribution to the two major folk streams, Cajun and Black Creole music, but too few have stopped to wonder about the larger black fiddling tradition of which he was a part.

Fig 1: Canray Fontenot by Dennis Paul Williams.

Though few in number, today's 'Zydeco' and Creole fiddlers follow in Canray's footsteps, but an insufficient number realize Canray bridges a tradition going back in time to many undocumented musicians, including those who were African and Creole, both free and slave. They spoke French and Louisiana Creole and played music for themselves and dancers. They lived alongside other musicians who did the same, exchanging musical ideas and swapping ideas despite racial boundaries. They (illegally) crossed Louisiana's racial and economic social divide and presided over segregated house dances creating, especially after Plessy v. Ferguson, what Mike Smith terms “pockets of freedom” (Smith 2012).

In this digital age of Louisiana French music, understanding nuances of the various genres of Louisiana French music gives some perspective of Canray Fontenot and his music. The breaking down of Southwest Louisiana Black Creole musics into various genres started in the mid-1990s when guitarist and Creole fiddle enthusiast Paul 'Lil Buck' Senegal—referring to Southwest Louisiana's a cappella, call-and-response jurer tradition—informed me, “It's all zydeco.” However, the terms (or nomenclature) used in 'Zydeco' need to be clarified and written using definitions employed by the musicians on the bandstand. No more complicated than pop or jazz music, some terms have two meanings. In seeking to facilitate a wider understanding outside of musicians and ethnographers, I use 'Zydeco' (capitalized and with half quotes) to designate all modern and historical musicking2 of Southwest Louisiana's Black (French) Creoles. In a dance set of 'Zydeco' music, one might hear a rare a cappella jurer, lala, zydeco, or Black Creole music tune. Furthermore, I delineate three current 'Zydeco' genres.

First, I use zydeco (not capitalized and no half quotes) to indicate a specific genre of 'Zydeco' in Louisiana Creole or English, but not French. It has a frottoir and a minimalist narrative that is often metaphoric. Some of its best examples are only one chord, five notes or less with little to no melodic variation. Whatever is in the melody sits on top of heavy dance rhythms, sometimes polyrhythmic with deep 'pockets' and Charles E. Siler's descriptive African retentions (Siler 2001). Jason Berry uses the term African cultural memory3 for certain New Orleans musics. This term is apropos for zydeco of Southwest Louisiana. Clifton Chenier's tunes are defined as zydeco because his lyrics are in Louisiana Creole and English including his 12-bar blues tunes. Accordionist Nolton Simien of Lawtell, Louisiana, says lala, the second genre, is any Cajun tune. However, rhythms must accommodate the Louisiana Black Creole dance floor. Black Creole music always has a narrative or story in French, tinged with blues in melody and narrative. Traditionally it's played with Creole fiddle and a musical form that is or can be quite plastic, arrangements seldom remaining the same.

Canray Fontenot may fall under the term 'Zydeco,' but he defined himself as a Black Creole musician. He rarely sang in Creole or English, only in French. Therefore, his blues tunes in French can be categorized as Black Creole music. 'Zydeco' music has three languages: Creole, French and English. [Figure 2]. Some musicians in Louisiana French music prefer to just call it all Creole. This is an older term in Louisiana French music when all black and white French music was simply Creole. Creole adds the equanimity informed musicians seek for all historical black and white contributions to Louisiana French music. Plus, Dennis McGee used it for his music, the oldest black and white fiddle music remembered and recorded, and he was Cajun. But the term 'Zydeco' focuses attention on the history and aesthetics, however subjective, of Southwest Louisiana Black French music.

Clifton Chenier, the king of 'Zydeco,' deemed Canray the best, pulling him out of a seven-year hiatus. Canray Fontenot had a formidable traditional and original repertoire; he was a seasoned musician and charismatic storyteller. A recipient of the National Heritage Award from the NEA in 1986, Canray Fontenot's influences start with his father. Respected and unrecorded, Creole accordionist Nonc Adam Fontenot is remembered as Amédé Ardoin's equal on the instrument. (Amédé may one day be given the title of father of all Louisiana Cajun and 'Zydeco' music.) Fiddlers that young Canray played or seconded with were Alphonse Lafleur, who played with Nonc Adam, and Joel Victorien, Canray's maternal grandfather. No one doubts Canray Fontenot's contribution to the two major folk streams of 'Zydeco' and Cajun music, but today when Black Creole fiddle is brought up, it is too often within the confines of the modern, contemporary, and recorded music we know well: Cajun and 'Zydeco.' This association obscures its roots and its history. Few have stopped to wonder about how Canray links to the larger Black Creole fiddling tradition and its interconnectedness to the ever-changing Southwest Louisiana Black Creole dance floor, a tradition of French Louisiana of which he was a significant part. This tradition would date to house dances at least circa 1790, since there are posters of balls in New Orleans. (Like a roux-less shrimp okra gumbo, it's old.)

Current 'Zydeco' Genres

Fig 2: Chart created by author.


Early History

The early chapter of 'Zydeco' history and its people warrant respect and acknowledgement and their humanity recognized. Since few documents record the lives of ordinary people, let alone early enslaved Africans and Creoles, what few glimpses we have into Louisiana's past are often passing references in the accounts of travelers who had not come to see the slaves but their owners, not farmers and cowboys in the country but wealthy businessman in town. One of the earlier references we have to African American fiddle music is to an African slave who was noted as playing a fiddle at a dance in Virginia in the 1690s with triangle and banjo (Wells 2003, Epstein 1975).

Though there were a few black people—African and Black Creole—in the Louisiana colony before the influx of the 1720s, the music and culture of Africa, the precursors of 'Zydeco,' began arriving in earnest in 1719. Gwendolyn Midlo-Hall's research reveals the African Diaspora of 'Zydeco' in the 1719-1731 import of slaves in twenty-two ships directly from Africa to Louisiana (1992, 35 and 60); the majority were Senegambian of the Bambara nation, which included parts of Mali, Burkino-Faso, Senegal, and other modern countries.4 The Black Creole and zydeco fiddle, and whatever genres it was or has been called in Southwest Louisiana, arrived with this first generation of the Louisiana Creole slaves, whose 5,561 parents somehow miraculously survived the 1719 to 1731 'imports.' Only 2,000 of 6,000 survived the 1719-1726 Middle Passage. African losses came in Louisiana also. Coupled with births two-thirds were Creole by 1741. In 1746 in lower Louisiana, the number of white settlers was 3,200 while the number of black people was 4,730 (Hall 1992, 175-177).

Incoming slaves from Africa to the Louisiana colony between 1719 and 1731 brought with them an unknown amount of music genres—from that of griot to the trance-like, rhythmic music associated with Vodun. West Africans brought several languages and dances along with a familiarity with plucked and bow lutes, wind and brass instruments, and, of course, master percussionists. Five ships would come from the Bight of Benin and from an area acknowledged to be the home to the Fa divination priests of Ife, the cradle of Vodun. In 1719 the first two ships—L'Aurore with 200 Africans and le Duc du Maine with 250—arrived from the port of Ouidah, Xwéda, a location near the Yoruba (Nago or Lucumi), Hausa, and Dahomey's Fon (Fõ), who are a few of the nations from the Bight of Benin identified as part of the Louisiana population (Hall 1992:60, 404). The Yoruba and Hausa are known to have had a one string fiddle or goge (DjeDje 2008: 62n20, 251).

The fiddling tradition of West African “. . . predates contact with Western cultures” (DjeDje 2008: 257n4).5 Besides knowledge of the single string fiddle of West Africa, African nations also brought with them a distinct melodic aesthetic to Louisiana. Examples include a different value on timbre, bending notes, and sliding up and/or down around a note that is achieved differently on several instruments. This technique, called melisma, can be found in early field hollers that are in the roots of gospel music and the blues, in the finger glissandos of 'Zydeco' fiddle, and in Canray's vocals.

Their overwhelming population in the Attakapas and St. Landry U.S. censuses of 1810 and 1820 speak to their influence (Brasseaux, Fontenot, and Oubre 1994:9). Most of these Black Creoles were of Senegambian descent like Louisiana's Senegal (Wolof) and Poulard (Fulbe) nations, though the Fon, Yoruba (Benin), other West Africans and the Congo/Angola nations were also here. Louisiana's Creoles of Color wielded a heavy influence that can be felt in the music and rhythms, but it can be difficult to document. Though songs were not directly transferred, West African influences and roots are found in pieces of language, stories, Zydeco dance, foods like yams and rice, and early Black Creole cowboy history, which Andrew Sluyter's research discovers in the 1766 Louisiana Census (Sluyter 2012:41, 57–60). Similar timbres to West Africa and rhythms are seen through love of 'pockets' and that cherished, funky Southwest Louisiana feel.

One fiddle-driven music, circa 1800, is perplexing and engaging for a few musicians and dancers: the quadrille or kwadril. A difference in French Louisiana music from the rest of the U.S. is the popular quadrille forms of dance in Louisiana versus the popular English contredance of American “old timey” dance music. Many of the roots of New World French musics are in the particular creolizations—the melodies, dances, and forms of the quadrille played for Quebeçois, Martiniquen, Haitian, Louisianan, etc. dancers. It evolved from cotillion to quadrille to square dance and is a formative influence of tumba francesca, marang, early New Orleans jazz6 and other Franco New World folk musics. Dennis McGee has recorded pieces that could have been parts of a Louisiana quadrille set of dances and videos of Black French Antilles' quadrille social dance clubs on feed further interest. What were the bal des maison, black and white or 'Zydeco' and Cajun quadrilles and how did Southwest Louisiana creolize this dance phase? As these dances evolved, how were they different from New Orleans and its dance forms? These are speculative, perhaps unanswerable, questions. If answered they would speak volumes about the evolution and uniqueness of the Cajun and 'Zydeco' bals des maison music and dance in Southwest Louisiana.7

As this one musical form illustrates, as the Louisiana colony settled, it set about creating its créolité.8 Getting around laws and bans placed on them and their musicking, Louisiana's black and Black Creole population—both slaves and the slowly growing population of manumitted free people of color or gens de couleur libre—made music and dance. 'Zydeco's version of “Colinda” makes an allusion to the 18th century ban. They made contributions to all American music including fiddling (Wells 2003, Epstein 1975). In addition to any African musicking, church music, Spanish military music, French opera, French folk songs and others also existed. Out of all this, as it creolized, came the modern café musics of the world (Floyd 1988).

Back to the Music

The mixing of African musical approaches and European repertoires also led to the birth of jazz, one of America's grandest contributions to the world of art. 'Zydeco's Black Creole music fiddle has influences of early Louisiana jazz rags, what is termed as New Orleans Jazz today, and the fiddle was the lead instrument of French Music's 1930-1940s string band era. It was also the instrument of the earliest jazz in Louisiana according to Lawrence Gushee (1994). Louisiana Creole fiddlers Canray Fontenot and Calvin Carrière were familiar with the four-string tenor or jazz banjo as they were active in the area's string band era. Much of the syncopated rhythm and short staccato phrases of Black Creole fiddling is basic to tenor banjo plectrum technique, in 'Zydeco' terminology “chop,” producing the great swing of a two-beat rag.

Many fiddlers rendered their own versions out of the experiences and sensibilities within their culture in addition to a dancer's perspective and their dances of a given era. While there is much to be said about the parallel development of the broad spectrum of African American music and its ethnomusicology, there are the simple influences of era and location. Canray Fontenot felt a funky affinity with and love for his favorite music: New Orleans jazz and fiddle rags. Rags were popular internationally by the 1920s due to recordings and radio: it was the jazz era. As much as South Louisiana is a wellspring, many early blues bands with fiddle, like the Mississippi Sheiks, played rags. Howard Armstrong AKA “Louis Bluie” and jug bands, like The Dixieland Jug Blowers with fiddler Clifford Hayes, played rags. Three of the Jug Blowers sessions are with New Orleans clarinetist Johnny Dodds. Opelousas' Hillary Martel of the Martel family (rag) band also has a couple of tracks playing 'Zydeco' with accordionist Sidney Babineaux, who was the composer of “Pinegrove Blues.”

Musicians like Fontenot and the Carrières loved New Orleans jazz and string bands. Calvin Carrière would mention chord solos of a banjo player he worked with in his string band. The 'slow drags' that Canray Fontenot loved to play share roots with this dance (see also “Bucktown Slow Drag” of 1896). Canray Fontenot's “Canray's Breakdown” is the New Orleans's jazz standard “Salty Dog.” Canray's version of the Texas Swing standards “Dallas Rag” and ”Beaumont Rag” 'drag the beat' as do many Louisiana rag players. For examples of this musical timing, listen to Jelly Roll Morton's Library of Congress solo piano versions of “Maple Leaf Rag,” St. Louis and New Orleans or South Louisiana style.

Some of these traditions, like jazz and blues, have thrived in changing times by adapting and reinventing themselves while others seem to have come and gone. 'Zydeco' fiddling would seem to be one of the eclipsed musics, but it is a mistake to equate a current lack of prominence to its demise. Creole fiddle is still essential in Louisiana's contemporary but rare Black Creole music and lala ensembles. Its music still emerges often outside Southwest Louisiana at big festivals and workshops. Black Creole music continues to be played under the general heading of 'Zydeco' by most bands, often without fiddle or bastrange (triangle).

Alongside that repertoire though the basic traditional ensemble of drums, frottoir, and accordion of zydeco is played in its 'breakdown' format. But Canray Fontenot related to many of us that it would be just him and a bastrange at a house dance, criticizing those who couldn't keep a steady dance rhythm. While his lala and Black Creole retain elements of Euro-Western melody, variation, harmony and a narrative strophic ballad form, his Black Creole “Bernadette” (and “Le Chicot à Bois-Sec” by Alphonse Ardoin) is a zydeco musical form of one chord that is not in Creole but French. When 'locked in' (especially at home in the Opelousas area) with the 'Zydeco' dance floor, its African musical aesthetic and link to the West African Diaspora come alive. Internationally many, including musicians from Jamaica, Mali and even Romany musicians from Bulgaria, love this musical form. There are recorded tunes in zydeco with fiddling; some of its best recordings are from Lawtell fiddler Calvin Carrière (e.g., “Lucille” and “Baby, Please Don't Go”) with Delton Broussard and the Lawtell Playboys.

Canray's Connection to Current Music

'Zydeco' fiddle has survived arguably better than other U.S folk forms facing an onslaught of mass media culture. The percentages of Southwest Louisiana's young black students from schools in rural areas on tour at Vermilionville who will line up (at the end of one of my 'Zydeco' music history lessons, presented on fiddle) wanting to play fiddle is in contrast to what many outside the community might think. Usually it's an average of twelve out of twenty students.9 Their interest in 'Zydeco' fiddle is alongside the new hip-hop, modern R&B-influenced zydeco—that young musician Kory Broussard, also interested in fiddle, says is sometimes termed 'ideco'—that's packing clubs, dance floors, and the trail ride scene. A few like Kory and some older musicians, would love to play fiddle: it is a historical tradition of the 'Zydeco' community.

The accordion has also slowly taken the lead role since 1840s and working a fiddle into modern repertoire can be difficult. Fiddle is an unessential instrument within the modern, electric 'Zydeco' band of five pieces. Even when expanded to a six-piece band a second guitar is added which can easily 'pump' the rhythmic pocket laying down an intense groove. (It can be done on amplified fiddle but is technically difficult and demanding.) Typically a keyboard is added in younger bands like Kory's to expand hip-hop harmonies. Many 'Zydeco' bands have a huge following like any pop band, packing South Louisiana clubs, working their recorded material, changing whatever traditional and often family- based repertoire (e.g., Keith Frank and Chris Ardoin) they play for what their dancers demand. It is above all else dance music and in part defines the complex culture of black Southwest Louisiana. Nonetheless the instrument is not dead like its cousin the banjo in the black community. But there is no place to play for young black bands with a fiddle (or in French) often enough at home. Though Southwest Louisiana dancers may not realize it, they share some of the blame as well for a lack of 'live' fiddle. They are inherently linked to 'Zydeco.'

Many Creole and 'Zydeco' musicians play music but not necessarily at dances. Some will sit in now and then, like the late accordionist Paul Young, playing for and within the local community. Some have become legends among Black Creole communities. They play for the pleasure and family, not for profit. In every generation that can be remembered, there has always been a person of color somewhere in someone's kitchen in south Louisiana, fiddling. Some dance hall favorites like accordionist Geno Delafosse seldom 'break the fiddle out.' He plays fiddle and sounds like his late father John Delafose who recorded a couple of tracks on fiddle. Maybe this is also a statement to tradition.

Connected to all of these traditions, Canray Fontenot's influence is unsurpassed as a Louisiana Black Creole fiddler, who taught and had contact with many fiddlers. His original repertoire has often been recorded and played by Cajuns and Black Creoles alike. The list of tunes Canray holds BMI copyrights on is fifty-nine. A few are Creole standards; a few tunes he learned from his father. A funky feel is a priority in Louisiana Black French music, and humor is always present. But a lot of grief, sorrow and tears are channeled into the music. Canray Fontenot epitomized Louisiana Black Creole history and music; many of us had the 'blessed' opportunity to experience it.

Fig 3. Twenty-seven songs authored and recorded by Canray Fontenot. Chart created by author.


'Zydeco's fiddling prodigy lived a hard life in Southwest Louisiana's black community and made Black French musical history. Orphaned young, he swung a knife in a cane camp to keep his little sister and himself alive (the best job he said he ever had) yet he was the first to present Black French music (to his surprise) to astonished crowds at 1960s folk festival audiences. He played the 'old rice farmer' with seasoned showmanship and charismatic charm, slowly shuffling through the crowds to the stage of a packed house at the Maple Leaf in New Orleans, loudly tapping on his microphone, saying “is this 'tang' on” to loud cheers and “yes, yes, yes” by the crowd, then with perfect timing responding, “I was afraid of dat,” and tearing into a smokin' version of the “Mamou Hot Step.” Yet, during a break while he stood outside, an inconsolable young, poor, desperate black woman (she didn't know who he was or that he was playing) came up and said, “What am I 'gonna' do Pops, you know what I'm talking about.” Fearless at Carnegie Hall or organizing a recording session at the BBC studios, could his great ancestors have been Fulbe (Poulard) or Hausa fiddlers? Future DNA testing will probably tell 'Zydeco' that answer someday, yet its musicians will unimpressively muse, “Well, that it jus' figures.”

Appendix A: Creole Fiddlers


Appendix B: Recorded Black Creole Fiddle Music: Fiddler

La Musique Creole (Arhoolie 445) and Louisiana Hot Sauce, Creole Style (Arhoolie 381): Canray Fontenot.

La-La: Louisana Black French Music (Maison de Soul 1004): Bébé Carrière; Calvin Carrière side two.

Musique Creole (Arhoolie 512): Bébé Carrière.

Zodico: Louisiana Creole Music. (Rounder Records 6009): Folklorist Nick Spitzer producer.

Les Miséres dans le Coeur (Louisiana Radio Records): Calvin Carrière.

Bon Ton Roulet & More (Arhoolie 345) Clifton Chenier: Morris Chenier.

The Creole Connection The Masked Band (Louisiana Red Hot Records 1135): Carlton Frank.

Tradition Creole (Arhoolie 9012) Lawrence 'Black' Ardoin: Ed Poullard.

Goin' Down to Louisiana. (Valcour Records): Cedric Watson.

Poullard, Poullard & Garnier (Louisiana Radio Records): Edward Poullard and D'Jalma Garnier III.

Keepin' the Tradition Alive and also Return of the Creole (Maison De Soul): Jeffery Broussard.

John Simien : Calvin Carrière.[NB: This is a rare recording but hot!]


1. This article is an updated version of a piece included in the Louisiana Folk Roots publication, Routes to Roots, Volume 2 (2007) as “The Musical and Cultural Roots of Louisiana Black Creole and Zydeco Fiddle Tradition.”

2. Musicking: DjeDje explains that “Christopher Small, who coined the term, states that 'musicking' refers to the act of taking part in a musical performance” (Small 1987:50; 1998). I use it because it includes all aspects of the performing arts (playing musical instruments, singing, dancing, etc.), which demonstrates that African performance is an integration of many components” (DjeDje 2008:259n12).

3. Jason Berry (1988) explains African Cultural Memory: “the symbolic language of a culture rises from its core, a vocabulary encoded by sound and sight, rooted in historical memory. In music and dance, in costumes and religious life, the past articulates its presence” (3). Floyd, Jr. (1995) explains the term is used “to refer to nonfactual and nonreferential motivations, actions, and beliefs that members of a culture seem, without direct knowledge or deliberate training, to 'know'—that feel unequivocally 'true' or 'right' when encountered, experienced, and executed” (8).

4. For a historical perspective on Louisiana Afro-Creole history see Gwendolyn Midlo-Hall's Africans in Colonial Louisiana and her Afro-Louisiana History and Genealogy site.

5. In addition to Dr. Jacqueline Cogdell DjeDje's Fiddling in West Africa: Touching the Spirit in Fulbe, Hausa, and Dagbamba Cultures (2008) and Gerhard Kubik's Africa and the Blues (2008), see the topical papers and books of Kwabena Nketia and Olly Wilson.

6. In The Loudest Trumpet: Buddy Bolden and the Early History of Jazz, Daniel Hardie writes on the quadrille, New Orleans Jazz, and New Orleans' creolization of it by Bolden (71-74). This was by first discussed by Jelly Roll Morton in his Library of Congress' recording of Tiger Rag. (Bunk Johnson also discussed it.)

7. For more insight see Yvonne Daniel's An Ethnographic Comparison of Caribbean Quadrilles (2010) and ethnomusicologist Peter Manuel's Creolizing Contradance in the Caribbean (2009).

8. Créolité: creoleness, i.e., Louisiana's Creole French culture as opposed to Martinique or Québec.

9. Approximately two-thirds also hear French at home or have a relative who speaks French. Further, when asked who has a grandmother gossiping in Creole on the phone, more (3 or 4 out of 20) students raise their hands. This contrasts to Lafayette's 3.3% (6 out of 20) average for all students. Some of the very young of these predominantly black rural schools even have horses. This is only an observation.

10. Worth noting is the very beginning of recording history with Canray's cousin, fiddler Douglas Bellard who made the first records and recorded versions of “La Valse de la Prison” and the “C'est la faut de mon canon.” This is the first recording of 'Zydeco' and the Black Creole music genre.


Berry, Jason. 1988. African Cultural Memory in New Orleans Music. Black Music Research Journal 8(1): 3-12.

Brasseaux, Carl A., Keith P. Fontenot, and Claude F. Oubre. 1994. Creoles of Color in the Bayou Country. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi.

Daniel, Yvonne. 2010. An Ethnographic Comparison of Caribbean Quadrilles. Black Music Research Journal 30(2) (Fall): 215-240.

DjeDje, Jacqueline Cogdell. 2008. Fiddling in West Africa: Touching the Spirit in Fulbe, Hausa, and Dagbamba Cultures. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Epstein, Dena J. 1975. The Folk Banjo: A Documentary History. Ethnomusicology 3: 347–371.

Floyd, Samuel A., Jr. 1988. Preface: The Wellspring of Black Music: New Orleans, Louisiana. Black Music Research Journal 8(1): 1.

_____. 1995. The Power of Black Music Interpreting Its History from Africa to the United States. New York: Oxford University Press.

Garnier, D'Jalma, III. 2013. The Genesis of Zydeco and Black Creole Music. Issue 7. October/November.

_____. Calvin Carrière King Of Zydeco Fiddle 1921–2002. http://

Gushee, Lawrence. 1994. The Nineteenth-Century Origins of Jazz. Black Music Research Journal 14(1) (Spring): 151-174.

Hall, Gwendolyn Midlo. 1992. Africans in Colonial Louisiana. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.

_____. Afro-Louisiana History and Genealogy archives St. Martin/ Attakapas and St. Landry/Opelousas Post:

Kubik, Gerhard. 2008. Africa and the Blues. University Press of Mississippi.

Manuel, Peter. 2009. Introduction: Contradance and Quadrille Culture in the Caribbean. Creolizing Contradance in the Caribbean. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Nketia, J. H. Kwabena. Music of Africa. New York: W.W. Norton, 1974.

Siler, Charles. 2001. Africa Retentions: A Commentary: African Cultural Retentions in Louisiana. http://www.louisianafolklife. org/LT/Articles_Essays/afri_cult_retent.html

Sluyter, Andrew. 2012. The Role of Blacks in Establishing Cattle Ranching in Louisiana in the Eighteenth Century. The Agricultural History Society 86 (2): 41-68.

Small, Christopher. 1998. Musicking: The Meanings of Performing and Listening. Middletown, CN: Wesleyan University Press.

Smith, Mike. 2012. Pockets of Freedom: The Racial Politics of Louisiana French Music in the Age of Jim Crow. Unpublished Master's Thesis, University of Louisiana, Lafayette, Louisiana.

Sonnier, Austin, Jr. 1989. Second Linin' Jazzman of Southwest Louisiana 1900–1950. Lafayette, LA: The Center for Louisiana Studies. University of Southwest Louisiana.

Wells, Paul F. 2003. Fiddling as an Avenue of Black-White Musical Interchange. Black Music Research Journal 23, nos. 1/2 (Spring–Autumn): 135-147.

Wilson, Olly. 1974. The Significance of the Relationship between Afro-American Music and West African Music. The Black Perspective in Music. Vol. 2, no. 1 (Spring): 3-2.

D'Jalma Garnier is a musician who researches Louisiana Creole music. This article was first published in the 2015 Louisiana Folklore Miscellany.