Don’t know whether you have read Annie Proulx’s Accordion Crimes? It was her follow-up to The Shipping News and is a finely constructed novel. Accordion Crimes tells the multiple stories of different immigrant communities in the United States through tracing the history of a green accordion that gets bought and sold, picked up and put down by different folks over the span of about a century. Originally brought over towards the end of the nineteenth century by a Sicilian accordion-maker in search of a better life, the instrument begins its extraordinary odyssey. The book is rich in its descriptions and understanding of the various musical cultures of the people who take possession of the accordion, if somewhat grim in its depiction of the immigrant experience and humans in general but there is one section where the whole book lifts up in an explosion of energy and fevered joy –  this is when the accordion becomes the driving force in a zydeco band. It’s yonks since I read the book, but that scene made me want even more to find myself one day in a dance hall deep in Louisiana.

In case ya don’t know - zydeco (/ˈzaɪdɪˌkoʊ/ ZY-dih-koh or /ˈzaɪdiˌkoʊ/ ZY-dee-koh, French: Zarico) is, (according to Wikipedia), a music genre that evolved in southwest Louisiana by French Creole speakers which blends blues, rhythm and blues, and music indigenous to the Louisiana Creoles and the Native people of Louisiana. Though distinct in origin from the Cajun music of Louisiana, the two forms influenced each other, forming a complex of genres native to Louisiana. I’ll leave you to read up about it if you want to, but in short, zydeco is a form of red hot Creole dance music and the good thing is that thanks to Joe Let Taxi you don’t actually need to go to Louisiana to get an earful.

Joe Le Taxi play a mix of lively, raw zydeco dance music, authentic creole blues, sleazy shuffles and old-school Cajun waltzes and have packed venues from Sidmouth to Shetland, and right across Europe.

Including the legendary Joe Le Taxi on accordion, (not to be confused with extreme lookalike Rees Wesson who actually played with Martin Blake and co. at Stas’ and my shotgun wedding and was with the original Edward the Second), guitarist Kev Torne, drummer Barry Jones and a fresh injection of youth from rub-board player Sioned Camlin and bassist Clovis Phillips, Joe Le Taxi are always ready to get the dance halls jumping.

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Patti Smith - True to the Trail

Looking forward to the live stream event by Patti Smith at 3pm EST / New York time today (ticket details here). I didn't have much pre-planned this year (just as well hey?) but had bought tickets for one of her scheduled Albert Hall shows and so this is a stop-gap.

This photo was taken in July 2014 when I tracked her down after spotting a concert poster in Tromso, Norway. I was in town with some colleagues to join the Greenpeace Esperanza for an expedition to Svalbard

Patti Smith - True to the Trail

morePatti Smith - True to the Trail