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Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience wsg The Reelers $10 9pm
Friday, July 27, 2012 at 9pm

For more than 2 decades Grammy award winning artist Terrance Simien, 8th generation Louisiana Creole has been shattering the myths about what his indigenous Creole Zydeco music is and is not. Leading his Zydeco Experience Band, Simien has become one of the most respected and internationally recognized touring and recording artists in roots music today. He has performed over 5000 concerts, toured millions of miles to over 40 countries and reached at least a million people during his eventful 25 year career.

Born in 1965 (appropriately) into the hippie folk and soul music era, Simien grew artistically being influenced by all of the great music that has defined our country’s musical legacy, including music from that era. He was as influenced by Dylan and Simon and Garfunkel as he was by Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke and the Meters. Since his family is documented in the history books as one of the first Creole families to settle St. Landry Parish he was deeply affected by those great Creole Zydeco pioneers like Chenier, Delafose, Chavis, Ardoin and Fontenot to name a few. He counts himself one of the fortunate, as he is the last generation with a direct link to these artists, some of whom mentored him as an emerging talent. He has assumed that same role to a new generation of young Zydeco players. He understands how critical mentoring is to the survival of this indigenous music that has become synonymous with the cultural identity of Louisiana, the South and an important part of the musical landscape of this country.

At the young age of 18 Simien began touring professionally and by 20 he was sharing the stage with Fats Domino and Sarah Vaughn at the Bern Jazz Festival. It just exploded from there and Terrance remains a pivotal part of Zydeco music history. When he began his career in the early 1980's there were only 2 emerging bands touring nationally: it was only the young Terrance and Sam Brothers who were perpetuating the traditional indigenous zydeco roots music of their forefathers. He is critical to the "renaissance" of a music genre that was in jeopardy of dying off. Clifton Chenier had passed away in 1987 and by the end of the 1990’s all of the Zydeco pioneers had also died, leaving Terrance as one of the most gifted and knowledgeable artists to carry the Zydeco music torch. His success is earned; not inherited.

“Simien is a Zydeco Master: his voice yearning like Sam Cooke, he delivers soul worthy of Stax greats and shows crossover class.”

Rolling Stone

Simien is blessed with an extraordinary talent that expresses the deepest human emotions through the original instrument: The Voice. His eclectic fusion of Zydeco takes you on a multicultural musical tour of the world. Incorporating diverse music styles he creates a hypnotic blend of Zydeco-roots-New Orleans funk-reggae-flavored-Afro-Caribbean-world music that will force you out of your seat and onto the dance floor. He has found a way to express himself as a relevant and evolving artist who remains reverent to his roots and musical legacy. His live performances have garnered him a level of international success and his fully engaged audiences around the globe have become more Zydeco Experienced than ever before!

During the past 25 years Simien has shared studio and stage with Robert Palmer, Stevie Wonder, Los Lobos, Taj Mahal, Dr. John, the Meters, Alan Toussaint, Paul Simon and Dave Matthews Band to name a few. He has been featured in dozens of films, including the blockbuster hit “The Big Easy”, TV movies and commercials. His music has been heard on public radio, FM and NPR syndicated radio shows, Voice of American and satellite radio heard by millions worldwide. His recordings have been praised by Rolling Stone, Billboard, other notable music industry publications and major daily newspapers. His extensive discography dates back to vinyl 45’s! Since his debut on a major rock label in 1991, he now has a total of 7 full length CD’s and dozens of compilations and guest appearances.

In 2005 he became the first Zydeco artist to perform in Cuba for the US State Department
. In 2006, Carnegie Hall sent him and his group to Mali, West Africa to present “Creole for Kidz & The History of Zydeco” as part of a unique distance learning program entitled Global Encounters. 2007 offered another global opportunity and a rare Creole cultural exchange and tour with the US State Department to Mauritius, Rodrigues and Seychelles where he connected his own Creole culture with the indigenous Creole population of these countries. He and his band were the first American artists to perform in Rodrigues, a country of 40,000 people with a Creole culture still in alive.

He has received countless awards, grants and recognition for his artistry as well as his contributions to help raise the professional standards by mentoring his fellow and emerging artists about the music industry. He worked closely with HBO producers on and was seen in the HBO documentary film “The Music in Me: Children’s Recitals from Classical to Latin, Jazz to Zydeco.” In 2008 Simien became a spokesperson for the State of Louisiana Office of Tourism and is featured in national television commercials and print ads. In December of 2009, Disney will release a new Pixar animated film, “The Princess & The Frog”, set in New Orleans, featuring their first black princess, scored by Randy Newman and features the music of Simien, Terence Blanchard and Dr. John to name a few. Terrance is currently working on a non fiction book for students about Creole culture and zydeco music.

Simien, along with business partner/wife was successful in establishing a new Grammy voting category in 2007. In 2008 he opened the Grammy pretelecast awards ceremony with a 10 minute performance. Later that day he received his own Grammy for “Best Zydeco or Cajun Music Album” at the 50th annual awards!

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