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Lark in the Morning




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On Saturday nights in Southwest Louisiana, a weekly ritual unfolds in the bars and clubs along the "crawfish circuit." Working men and women exchange their work clothes for plumed Stetsons and fancy dresses and converge on rural road houses for an infusion of zydeco--the exuberant dance music of Louisiana's black Creole community.

In eighty stunning portraits of the genre's leading people and places and through extensive interviews and historical commentary, photographer Rick Olivier and journalist/musician Ben Sandmel have created a book as spirited as the rollicking music it so vividly illuminates.

Once an obscure regional tradition, zydeco now enjoys worldwide popularity. In this book two respected veteran observers draw on more than thirty years of combined professional experience to explore zydeco's rural roots and trace its emergence on the global stage. Through Olivier's innovative use of lighting and Sandmel's skill as an interviewer, zydeco icons such as Clifton Chenier, Boozoo Chavis, and Stanley "Buckwheat" Dural guide readers through their music, its complex cultural context, and the unbounded joy they find in performing.

Zydeco is the first published collection of fine photographs, lively text, and oral history devoted exclusively to black Creole dance music. Readers will be transported to the fascinating land of Creole cowboys and back-country dance halls, where accordionists play on their knees limbo style, and audiences respond with uninhibited excitement.

With its deft blend of substance and informality, this inviting volume will appeal to zydeco aficionados and neophytes alike.

Rick Olivier is an award-winning New Orleans photographer. His work, which has been internationally exhibited, is part of the permanent collections of both the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Historic New Orleans Collection.

Ben Sandmel is a Grammy-nominated producer and drummer and the zydeco programming consultant for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

Olivier and Sandmel's work has appeared in such publications as Rolling Stone , Esquire , The Atlantic Monthly , and The New York Times Magazine , and they have provided the photography and liner notes for numerous zydeco albums.

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