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Negotiating Difference in French Louisiana MusicCategories, Stereotypes, and Identifications$
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Sara Le Menestrel

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781628461459

Published to University Press of Mississippi: January 2016

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781628461459.001.0001

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Homegrown and Lowdown

Homegrown and Lowdown

(p.203) 4 Homegrown and Lowdown
Negotiating Difference in French Louisiana Music

Sara Le Menestrel

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter investigates the meanings involved in the valorization of a rural heritage. Characterized as “simple,” “plain,” and “unpolished,” the attributes of the region’s music are integral to the ways in which it is technical described, practiced, lived, staged live or displayed on CDs, taught, and recorded. The alleged technical simplicity of this music can be deceptive, however, and presents its own particular set of challenges. The insistence on fun and an approach that presents this music as a way of life combine to constitute a set of codes, rules, and expectations. The representation of the “new” Zydeco sound encapsulates the oppositions between rural and urban and black and white that Zydeco musicians seek to reconcile in order to achieve respectability through their music. Finally, this chapter examines how French Louisiana music is grounded in a profound attachment to place, and more broadly to regional identification with south Louisiana.

Keywords:   Rurality, Zydeco, Respectability, Sense of place, Regional identification

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