We were fortunate to be invited to teach a Zydeco Basics dance workshop Feb. 6 in Lewiston, Maine, the northernmost pre-Mardi Gras tour stop for Geno Delafose & French Rockin' Boogie. Some 200 eager Maineacs came to the workshop before Geno's concert/dance, the biggest turnout ever for a C/Z dance in the state, event organizers say.
You don't have to go very far inland in Maine to encounter French-Canadian culture, and many people in the audience understood Geno's French lyrics perfectly. It was, for most, their first Zydeco dance.
It is ironic that Cajun/Zydeco music is so foreign to an area that is geographically next door to Acadia (Acadié), Nova Scotia, where Cajun culture and music has its roots. It wouldn't take much to close that gap - there's an obvious hunger for C/Z music and dance in Maine! This gap is gradually being bridged by bands like Geno's, Lil' Brian & the Zydeco Travelers, Beausoleil, Boozoo Chavis and the Basin Brothers, all of whom have toured Maine in the last two years, to reconnect the music and culture of Louisiana with its origins.
For C/Z dancers, the most likely place to find action is Raoul's Roadside Attraction in Portland, at 865 Forest Ave. (207-773-6886), about 90 miles north of Boston via Interstate 95.
Compiled by Thomas C. Hall