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Geno Delafose, Keeping Zydeco in the Family

Cover of Geno Delafose's latest CD, <i>Everybody's Dancin'</i> (Times Square Records 2003)
Cover of Geno Delafose's latest CD, Everybody's Dancin' (Times Square Records 2003)

Zydeco singer-musician Geno Delafose learned the craft and the joy of zydeco music from his father John Delafose, a legend in the zydeco genre. He talks with NPR's Melissa Block about his latest CD, Everybody's Dancin, and the state of zydeco music today.

He grew up in the small town of Eunice, deep in the heart of Louisiana's bayou, a Creole town with multi-racial roots and a music tradition that borrows from traditional French and African music.

Geno Delafose first played the rub board in his father's legendary band, John Delafose and the Eunice Playboys, when he was just 8 years old. He went on to play drums, and then the accordion -- a complex instrument to play that's the centerpiece of any zydeco band.

Now that John Delafose has died, the younger Delafose -- still in his early 30s -- is the leader of his own popular zydeco band. He's bringing in a new generation of zydeco fans, and has traveled the world with his band, French Rockin Boogie.

Delafose's sound is both unique yet traditional -- he finds inspiration in the traditional Cajun and Creole melodies, but he and his band have crafted their own rich gumbo of Cajun, zydeco, R&B, country and blues.

He's been called "the young hope of traditional zydeco." And he hasn't forgotten how he got his start -- he's teaching the next generation of zydeco musicians, his own nephews, how to play.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

As special correspondent and guest host of NPR's news programs, Melissa Block brings her signature combination of warmth and incisive reporting. Her work over the decades has earned her journalism's highest honors, and has made her one of NPR's most familiar and beloved voices.