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New York Times Features Creole Musician Améde Ardoin

A Creole prodigy who traveled the countryside playing his bluesy two-steps and waltzes, he changed Cajun music and laid down the roots for Zydeco

 

PINEVILLE, La. — Somewhere among the thousands beneath a grassy hill here lies the body of Améde Ardoin.

He was singular in life: one of the greatest accordion players ever to come out of south Louisiana. A Creole prodigy who traveled the countryside playing his bluesy two-steps and waltzes, he changed Cajun music and laid down the roots for zydeco.

At his death at the age of 44 in 1942, he was Case No. 13387 in the state psychiatric hospital, destined for an anonymous burial.

Years of attempts to recover the body of Améde, as he is widely known, have come to nothing. As with Mozart’s grave, Améde`s is known only by its general vicinity: the area where the blacks were buried. But a desire for some sort of physical commemoration of his life, beyond a few documents and a blurry photograph, has not gone away.

This may be the only known photograph of Améde Ardoin, a Creole prodigy who traveled the countryside playing his bluesy two-steps and waltzes, contributing to the roots of zydeco. Though music authorities view him as highly influential, his grave's location remains a mystery, and appreciators say there is little to commemorate his life and work.

Read more at the New York Times.

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