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Terrance Simien & The Zydeco Experience

April 16 @ 7:30 pm - 10:30 pm

Two-time Grammy Award winning Terrance Simien at the River Music Experience on April 16th!

For 40 years, two- time GRAMMY award winning artist Terrance Simien and 8th generation Louisiana Creole, has been shattering the myths about what his indigenous Zydeco roots music is – and is not. Leading his Zydeco Experience bandmates – long time members Danny Williams, keyboards and Stan Chambers, bass with Lance Ellis, sax; Ian Molinaro – Thompson, drums, and our newest member, Revon Andrews on trombone.

Simien has become one of the most respected and accomplished artists in American roots music today. He and his band mates have performed over 9000 concerts, toured millions of miles to over 45 countries during their eventful career.

In 2021 Simien led the effort to have Allen Toussaint’s “Southern Nights” become the first Louisiana state song ever written by an African American artist/composer. A very big deal! Simien was also the recipient of the prestigious Foundation for Louisiana Worldmakers unrestricted grant with priority to BIPOC artists. He was one of 30 awarded out of 360 applications, and the only from his part of the state and genre. Finally, the zydeco exhibit we helped curate, went live on MLK Day this year at the $60 million National Museum of African American Music in Nashville, TN – ironically, right across the street from The Ryman where few African Americans have performed.

2020 is not the most remarkable year in our lives and careers, but finishing a studio album was no small feat during a pandemic – so, we’ll take it!

2019 marked Simien’s 34th consecutive New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival – the gold standard for diversity in American roots music.

2014 proved to be another memorable year when Simien & his collaborators from the Zydeco Experience band were honored with their second GRAMMY award in Los Angeles on January 26, 2014 at the Nokia Theatre.

2012 found Simien & his band mates seen performing their original song “Dance Everyday” in the Warner Brothers film “The Lucky One” starring Zac Efron and Blythe Danner, and directed by Oscar nominated director Scott Hicks. Simien’s version of zydeco standard “Uncle Bud” was also used in the film.

2009 signaled the release of Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog”, set in the city of New Orleans and featured their first black princess. Alas, history was made with that one move! Simien is the featured guest artist on “Gonna Take You There”, a zydeco flavored song penned by Randy Newman. Simien recorded the song with Newman in Los Angeles in late 2007 and it has became a favorite track for children everywhere! Simien’s student audiences all over the country sing along with him when he & his band mates perform it during their school time concerts. History was also made again, in a very big way for this genre – as it was the first time Disney featured zydeco music in a film! As if that was not enough – the word zydeco was also spoken in the movie by one of the characters and has introduced generations of young children and families to this black American roots music. And because of this film, millions have heard zydeco for the very first time! We are forever grateful to John Lasseter and the team at Disney for this rare opportunity to have zydeco immortalized in a Disney film.

In 2005 Simien led HBO producers deep into Creole country for another high visible opportunity for the genre and he introduced them to the prodigious 5 year old zydeco talent, Guyland Leday. This gifted young musician was featured in the HBO doc “The Music in Me: Children’s Recitals from Classical to Latin, Jazz to Zydeco. This was a huge victory for his state, genre and Creole culture. It was also this year that they became the first zydeco artists to perform in Cuba for the U.S, State Department. In 2006, Carnegie Hall presented them in Mali, West Africa as part of their unique Global Encounters program. There have been multiple U.S. State Department tours to North Africa, Ukraine, Russia, Dominican Republic, Paraguay – all as part of the U.S Cultural Diplomacy efforts around the globe that began in 1955.

However, it was 2008 that proved to be one of the most memorable years of their eventful career when they were honored with their first GRAMMY™ award and the first in zydeco since Rockin Sidney Simien received his in 1985. They also performed that day at The 50th GRAMMY™ Awards pre-Tel ceremony. This was also the culmination of 7 years of hard work to establish a new Grammy category for best Zydeco or Cajun Music Album that Simien and his wife/business partner, Cynthia led to success. They effectively changed the vocabulary of the Recording Academy and the trajectory of the history for both genres. Because of their efforts that began in 2001, to connect their region with the GRAMMY awards after decades with little or no recognition in the awards, since 2008 over 100 Cajun & zydeco artists have garnered Grammy noms and awards. Their hard work embodies an inclusive leadership style and artist advocacy for the greater good of their broader music community, city (Lafayette & Opelousas) and state of Louisiana. This is also now an important part of Southern roots music history, African American music history and the Americana Music Triangle.

Simien was born in 1965 (appropriately) into the hippie folk and soul music era that still intrigues him today. He grew artistically being influenced and inspired by all of the music from that period. He was as influenced by Dylan and Simon and Garfunkel as he was by Sam Cooke and the Commodores. Since his family is documented in history books as one of the first Creole families to settle St. Landry Parish, his musical roots are firmly planted alongside the great zydeco pioneers like Chenier, Delafose, Chavis, Ardoin and that other Simien, Rockin Sidney, to name a few. He counts himself one of the fortunate few who hail from a 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 hotshots because he understands how critical mentoring is to the success of his indigenous music that has become synonymous with the cultural identity of Louisiana and an important part of the musical landscape of this country.

In 1983 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. His career exploded after that and Terrance remains a pivotal part of Zydeco music history. In the early 1980’s there were only 2 emerging bands touring nationally; the young Terrance and The Sam Brothers were the only artists reaching a younger audience with their indigenous roots music. Simien was also vital to the “renaissance” of a genre that was becoming extinct with the passing of each pioneer starting with Clifton Chenier in 1987. By the end of the 1990’s, all of the other influential pioneers had departed. This placed Terrance at the forefront of an exciting period of growth and popularity for this black roots music born in the rural, French speaking Creole communities of South Louisiana. Some might call him the OG of zydeco! We’re def down with that.

Simien is blessed with an extraordinary talent and charisma that expresses our deepest human emotions through the original instrument: The Voice. He takes his audiences on a multicultural tour of the world as the many countries he’s visited while on tour have informed his musical language. He creates a hypnotic blend of New Orleans funk-reggae-flavored-world-blues-American zydeco roots music that beckons you to your feet and into the groove. He has found an authentic and artful way to deliver his roots music as a relevant, evolving artist who is clearly rooted in Creole music traditions. Well known for his legendary live performances, Simien also helped change the vocabulary for his genre by introducing complex vocal harmonies, diverse repertoire and carefully crafted high quality recordings.

Terrance and his loyal and skilled band mates, the Zydeco Experience, have shared studio & 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. Their music has been featured in TV commercials and a dozen or more films, including the blockbuster “The Big Easy” which changed the game for Louisiana music in the late 80’s. Their music has been heard on NPR syndicated radio shows like World Café, American Routes, E-town & House of Blues Radio Hour. Rolling Stone, Billboard, and other notable music industry publications, as well as major daily newspapers have praised his recordings. His extensive discography dates back to vinyl 45’s. In 1991 he was signed to rock label Restless Records by A&R rep Ron Goudie who brought the band Poison to the same label group.

Simien’s groundbreaking Creole for Kidz & The History of Zydeco for student, youth and family audiences has reached nearly 500,000 since its debut in 2000. This dynamic program is presented at performing art centers, schools and festivals. Simien is helping build a more culturally literate young performing arts patron who is more knowledgeable about zydeco roots music because of his program. Simien has received countless awards, grants and recognition for his work and artistic contributions as a respected Cultural Ambassador for his state and country.

Doors: 6:30pm / Show: 7:30pm

Tickets: $15 adv / $18 day of show

Opening Act: None

Age Restriction: 19+ (minors must be accompanied by parent or guardian)

Web: www.terrancesimien.com

Genre: Zydeco

All tickets are general admission. Purchasing a ticket does not guarantee a seat.

RIVER MUSIC EXPERIENCE POLICES:

*Ticket Disclaimer*

All tickets for RME events are sold via Eventbrite and carry applicable transaction fees. Tickets can be purchased the day of event online and at the door (subject to availability). Ticket fees also still apply for admission at the door.

*Reserved Seating*

The Redstone Room at River Music Experience is a standing room only concert venue. All tickets are General Admission unless otherwise stated. For the comfort of our guests, a limited amount of seating is available on a first come first serve basis.

Reserved Tables: a limited number of tables are for sale in advance, sold through our ticketing service. You will need to add both your General Admission tickets AND your Reserved Tables to the cart for purchase. There are four seats to a table.

Physical Accommodations: If you require seating or a reserved space due to health or physical needs, you will need to purchase your General Admission ticket first, and then email feedback@rivermusicexperience.org to reserve up to 2 seats. Tables must be purchased separately.

*Age Restrictions*

Most shows in the Redstone Room are 19+, unless otherwise noted, but minors may attend if accompanied by a parent or guardian.

*Refund Policy*

Purchased tickets are nonrefundable, except in cases of rescheduled or cancelled shows.

*Further Questions?*

Please email feedback@rivermusicexperience.org

Venue

River Music Experience
129 Main St
Davenport, IA 52801 United States