Down At The Twist And Shout
This book focuses on a vibrant Cajun and zydeco music and dance scene in the San Francisco Bay Area and nearby regions of northern California. This chapter describes the themes central to the book, including the wide dissemination of symbols of Cajun culture, tourism, and the meeting of cultural insiders and outsiders on the dance floor. It examines Mary Chapin Carpenter’s song “Down At The Twist And Shout” as a starting point for a discussion of themes that will resurface in other chapters. The romance of travel is a central theme of the song, and the coupling of its lyrical content with its commercial success as a pop song makes it ripe for an analysis of what its success says about its audience(s). In this case, “Down At The Twist And Shout” embodies a larger trend in popular culture to rehabilitate the image of Cajuns and to treat aspects of their culture as objects of touristic desire.
Keywords: popular culture, popular music, Cajun music, zydeco music, dance scene, San Francisco Ba Area, Mary Chapin Carpenter