By Marilyn Delk
“Barbecue and Blues,” Darke County Center for the Arts’ annual celebration of summer, music, and food, has always been a lot of fun, providing good music, good food, good times. Add to that the presence of Zydeco super star Terrance Simien and his band, and a transcendent good time is guaranteed! The fun starts at 6 p.m. on Friday, July 8 at Greenville Public Library’s inviting lawn; you don’t want to miss out on this truly special event.
The good music begins with Indianapolis bluesman Levi Driskell, who has created his own eclectic blend of blues, folk, and Americana that leaves audiences feeling happily enthusiastic about his unique skills. Drawing inspiration from great predecessors such as Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, and Sister Rosetta Tharp, as well as Ed Sheeran, the singer/songwriter who wrote his first song at age 15 has developed into a world-class artist whose universally acclaimed music generates a whirlwind of emotions in his audiences.
Then, Terrance Simien and his Zydeco Experience band will bring their joyful music to the outdoor stage — and “Let the good times roll!” For the uninitiated, zydeco, the indigenous music of the French-speaking Creoles of central and southwest Louisiana, is an exotic blend of many sounds and cultural influences. This multicultural roots music blends rural blues with jazz and Native American rhythms, and is anchored by the melody of the accordion and the rhythms of the frottoir, a percussion instrument also called a rubboard. Today’s Zydeco music infuses contemporary sounds like rock ‘n roll, R & B, reggae, funk, soul, and blues into the exciting mix, appealing to fans of good music from all genres.
An eighth-generation Louisiana Creole, Terrance has earned two Grammy Awards while promoting the exhilarating, complex, and diverse music of his people; he and his band have been featured in movies including Disney’s The Princess and the Frog, set in the city of New Orleans. His Zydeco Experience band currently includes long-time member Danny Williams on keyboards, Stan Chambers on bass, Ian Molinaro-Thompson on drums, and newest additions Revon Andrews playing trombone and saxophonist Orlando Gilbert, both recent Berklee College of Music graduates.
This appearance at “Barbecue and Blues” is definitely not Terrance’s first appearance in our community; many current and former students will vividly remember when Terrance and The Zydeco Experience appeared at their schools in rousing performances that had the kids enthusiastically moving to the music and squealing with delight at the joy of it all. Terrance’s award-winning “Creole for Kidz and The History of Zydeco” Arts In Education program is truly so much fun that the students don’t realize they are learning a lot about history and culture, but know that they are having a really good time. The energetic musicians also headlined a memorable “Evening of Wine and Jazz” at Montage Cafe that had everyone moving around on the dance floor during a performance that nobody wanted to ever end.
If the above information is not enough to persuade you to come out and enjoy great music and a really good time with friends and neighbors, perhaps the food and drink options will help provide motivation. Food vendors include local food truck favorites Nacho Pig and Wholly Smokes BBQ, as well as downtown Greenville’s Merchant House, while drinks will be provided by Moeller Brew Barn and Heidelberg Distributing.
Tickets for “Barbecue and Blues” are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under; food and drink are not included in the ticket price. Although tickets will be available at the gate, DCCA strongly recommends purchasing them in advance; tickets can be reserved by contacting DCCA at 937-547-0908 or www.DarkeCountyArts.org and are also on sale at Greenville Public Library, Readmore’s Hallmark, and Darke County Welcome Center. Join almost everyone you know on July 8; bring your blankets and lawn chairs to the expansive and welcoming Greenville Public Library lawn, then lean back and enjoy this fun festival of food, drink, music, and merriment. You’ll be glad you did!
Marilyn Delk is the former executive director of the Darke County Center for the Arts and can be reached at [email protected] Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.