SEMINOLE – As the eighth annual free community concert series, Music in the Park, rolls out Friday, Sept. 10, tune lovers should get ready for the rootsy good-time sound of Louisiana Cajun and Zydeco. Presented by Freedom Square, the concert is on tap from 7 until 9 p.m. at Seminole City Park.
In 1992, Orlando residents Andy Burr (guitar, harmonica, vocals) and Greg Taillon (Cajun squeezebox, fiddle, vocals) formed The Porchdogs to perform the kind of music they loved but rarely heard in Central Florida.
The Porchdogs is the only group (national, Louisiana or Florida) to have performed all 10 years of the Fort Lauderdale Cajun Zydeco Crawfish Festival – the largest event of its type in Florida and one of the best Louisiana music festivals in the country. The band also is a featured act at the World Famous Iron Horse Saloon during Daytona’s Bike Week and Biketoberfest.
What is Cajun and Zydeco music? According to the group’s Web site, Cajun music is the sound of the people of French descent who had emigrated from Arcadia (Canada) to southwest Louisiana in the 18th century. Over time, the term Arcadian became Cajun. Zydeco is what developed as the black Creole people of the area adapted Cajun music, adding African and Caribbean influences and eventually incorporating blues and jazz.
However the genres developed, the lyrics of both Cajun and Zydeco are often sung in Cajun Creole French. The accordion is the lead instrument in both.
“In general, Cajun is country sounding and Zydeco is more bluesy,” as written on The Porchdogs’ site. “Both are meant for dancing and good times.”
While the styles of Cajun and Zydeco music are the group’s specialties, The Porchdogs can play a variety of pop, classic rock and standard favorites. The song list includes music from Chuck Berry to the Grateful Dead and much-loved tunes like Creedence Clearwater’s “Born on the Bayou” and Jimmy Buffett’s “Margaritaville.”
The Porchdogs have played at venues to include Walt Disney World and Universal Studios in Orlando, Cypress Gardens in Haines City and Silver Springs in Ocala and have performed at more than 25 events and festivals, most times more than once. More than 25 resorts and hotels have enjoyed the group’s sounds as have numerous nightclubs from Pinellas Park’s Cajun Cafe on the Bayou to Miami’s Hooligans.
“The Porchdogs were a real crowd pleaser,” wrote Gary Hayman, publisher of Zyd E-zine.
Music in the Park visitors will certainly be pleased Friday, Sept. 10, at Seminole City Park.
Concert-goers should plan on bringing their own lawn chairs or blankets, and food will be for sale by the local fire rescue union.
Presented by Waste Management of Pinellas, the Gypsy Wind band will supply its special brand of bluegrass music at the next free concert Friday, Sept. 17. For more information, call Steve Malla, recreation program coordinator, at 391-8345.
Music in the Park schedule continues to Oct. 15
• Sept. 10 - The Porchdogs (Cajun Zydeco)
Presented by Freedom Square
Vice Mayor Jimmy Johnson will kick-off the concert.
• Sept. 17 - Gypsy Wind (Bluegrass)
Presented by Waste Management of Pinellas, Inc.
• Sept. 24 - Wiley Fox (country)
Presented by Lake Seminole Square
• Oct. 1 - The Tom Kats (Oldies Rock ’n’ Roll)
Presented by State Farm Insurance, agent Mark Higgins