Sheldon brings 'Zydeco master' to stageThe Sheldon Theatre is once again indulging Red Wing’s craving for passionate music by bringing in Zydeco artist Terrance Simien.
By: Ruth Nerhaugen, The Republican Eagle
The Sheldon Theatre is once again indulging Red Wing’s craving for passionate music by bringing in Zydeco artist Terrance Simien.
He and his south Louisiana band, Zydeco Experience, will perform at 7 p.m. Feb. 23 at the historic Sheldon.
“Hot music on a cold night” is Simien’s stock in trade, according to Sheldon Director Sean Dowse.
The Grammy Award-winning musician performs authentic Creole music the way he heard it growing up, plus an eclectic fusion of diverse styles that carries elements of roots and fun, reggae and Afro-Caribbean world music.
“He has found a way to express himself as a relevant and evolving artist who remains reverent to his roots and musical legacy,” Sheldon spokesmen said.
“I’ve seen him a couple of times,” Dowse said. Simien and his band performed at arts presenter conferences Dowse attended in Kansas City and in Grand Rapids, Mich.
“They are really good, and quite authentic,” he said, describing the group as an “up-tempo party band. It’s really fun music.”
Dowse booked the band after hearing it play at the conferences. He was convinced that Simien’s music would appeal to the Red Wing crowd that has responded well to several previous Zydeco and blues bands.
“There’s always a good turnout,” he said, adding, “It’s happy, dancing music.”
Many people also may be familiar with Simien’s music even without knowing his name because they’ve heard it at the movie theater.
Disney’s Oscar-nominated Pixar animated movie “The Princess and the Frog,” which was set in New Orleans, features Simien playing his accordion on “Gonna Take You There.” The Zydeco tune was penned by Randy Newman, but inspired by an original Simien song. He also was featured in the blockbuster film “The Big Easy.”
The man dubbed “Zydeco master” by Rolling Stone Magazine has seven CDs and dozens of appearances on other albums, plus he has been heard on television and in commercials for the Louisiana Office of Tourism.
He has appeared at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival for the past quarter-century, and in 2008 was awarded a Grammy for Best Zydeco or Cajun Music Album.
An eighth-generation Louisiana Creole, Simien was born in 1965 and grew up listening not only to Zydeco pioneers including Chanier and Delafose, but also to the hippie-folk music of Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel — a combination of influences that sparked the music he creates today.
He began touring professionally at 18. He has shared stages with an impressive group including Fats Domino and Sarah Vaughn, Stevie Wonder, Los Lobos, Taj Mahal, Dr. John and the Dave Matthews Band.
Worldwide, Simien and his band have performed more than 6,000 concerts over the past 30 years at venues ranging from Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center to festivals and presidential inaugurations, in addition to national radio and television appearances.
“Zydeco remains at the core of Simien’s musical DNA, but his treatment of it continues to be progressive and innovative,” Dan Willging wrote in Offbeat magazine. “He has hurdled over musical boundaries by incorporating other genres into his culturally ingrained Zydeco long before such genre bending fusions became fashionable.”
To sample his music, check out the Website www.terrancesimien.com.
Tickets to the Red Wing concert are $22.50 for adults, $14.50 for students. For reservations, go online to www.sheldontheatre.org or call 651-388-8700 or 800-899-5759.
If you go…
Who: Terrance Simien
What: Zydeco concert
When: 7 p.m. Feb. 23
Where: Sheldon Theatre
How much: $22.50 adults, $14.50 students
More info: www.sheldontheatre.org, 651-388-8700, 800-899-5759