7 QUESTIONS: Andre Thierry
It wasn’t so long ago I first heard of the musical genre Zydeco. I was driving through the streets of the small, rural Colorado town I live in, and the DJ on our local radio station was playing his weekly New Orleans, Zedeco show. Of course the words New Orleans resurrected sounds in my head of big brass bands, and jazz players on street corners, but this word “Zydeco” I couldn’t place it in my musical repertoire. It was a much different sound than the music style I was used to hearing that originate from the South.
With its own style and a unique culture, Zydeco music, with its fiddles, accordions and more honky tonk sounds of the south, continues to live on heartily today. Zydeco originated in Louisiana from the Cajun and Creole cultures, and some how, on the other side of the country in Northern California, Andre Thierry is continuing to bring Zydeco culture to life. Thierry grew up around his grandparents who moved to the West Coast from Louisiana.
They brought with them their Southern roots, and thus Thierry’s musical education began. Thierry now combines the music he grew up listening to, with a sweet and sultry R&B sound, adding new layers to traditional tunes.
What originally drew you to playing Zydeco music?
How are you holding down Zydeco music on the West Coast, so far from its original roots?
Playing shows and spreading the culture, playing schools and festivals.
Have you been able to find a community of musicians on the West Coast who are inspired by a similar musical culture?
I find a sprinkle of musicians in each area that know about the music. My music is universal and we always seem to find a handful of people who know about the music no matter where we go.
I have fans that I didn't know about from all over Europe and I've been having write ups since I was 15 from over there.
How much time have you been able to spend in the south of the U.S.? Does the time you spend there help influence your music?
I use to live in Houston and have been going back and forth since I was 15. I take the good and leave the bad so yes it inspires me.
You're about to play a lot of shows in Germany next month. Have you played in Germany before? How do you think they will respond to the Zydeco music?
No. I think they'll respond just like everyone else - they will love it, it's universal, I have fans that I didn't know about from all over Europe and I've been having write ups since I was 15 from over there. So it's over 20 years since they've been knowing about me.
After years of being involved in the same kind of music, do you ever wander into different genres?
I put a lot of different genres in my music and have always done so since I've started playing, it comes as second nature to me.
What's another musical style that you enjoy playing? Do you ever perform with other forms of music?
Every blue moon, but on my shows I go into different genres all the time like blues, funk, R&B, jazz or salsa. I'm not the typical zydeco band.