It’s a party you’ll never forget. – C. J. Chenier
The son of the great King of Zydeco, Clifton Chenier. C.J.’s father was the first Creole musician to win a Grammy Award. C.J. spent his childhood in the tough tenement housing projects of Port Arthur, Texas. His earliest musical influences were an eclectic mix of funk, soul, jazz and Motown, and his first musical instruments were piano, tenor saxophone and flute. It wasn’t until his 21st birthday that C.J. first performed with his famous father and the legendary Red Hot Louisiana band.
Zydeco is a type of music that evolved from an acoustic folk idiom known as la-la, dating back to the 1920s and unique to black Creoles originally from rural southwestern Louisiana. The modern form emerged in Southeast Texas in the late 1940s and 1950s among immigrants from this ethnic group, who came to cities such as Houston and Beaumont to find employment. There they fused old Louisiana French music traditions with urban blues and R&B to create a distinctive sound.
Today, C.J. continues to record and rack up honors and awards. This year, he is being honored along with his late friend, Clifford Antone, in the acclaimed Museum of the Gulf Coast’s Music Hall of Fame in the Golden Triangle; where he will join the likes of Janis Joplin, Tex Ritter, Percy Sledge, George Jones, Marcia Ball, Johnny Winter, The Big Bopper, ZZ Top and, of course, his father, Clifton Chenier.