Cajun/Zydeco Grammy® Category!

A hard fought, more than 6 year battle, singularly led by a determined Cynthia Simien, is finally won. There is now a Grammy® category for Cajun & Zydeco music. The effort was perceived by Louisiana music advocates as an obvious gap in the awards; but, the process of adding a category was overwhelming to most. Cynthia Simien, whose husband Terrance Simien is a major zydeco star and advocate, spent countless hours working the system to achieve this milestone. She not only joined the Recording Academy (NARAS), which gives the awards, but rose through the organization to become a member of its regional Board of Governors where she worked tirelessly to make this happen.

Though many people lent their names and time to this effort, it is and was the work of Cynthia Simien that deserves the most credit. She rightfully deserves accolades far beyond what I can give via this blog. Those of us who know Cynthia and shared her energy and her sometimes much-deserved wrath, are proud beyond words for her, Terrance and for Louisiana. We now have a validation long sought; and, every year, Cajun and Zydeco music will have a bright spotlight as the Grammys® honor our best.

Thank you Cynthia & Terrance Simien. You have honored Louisiana with this remarkable and permanent achievement.


2 responses

  1. It is Monday, December 17, 2007, and I am looking at my final round Grammy ballot. There are 6 outstanding Louisiana nominees; I wish I could vote for them all, but Terrance will be getting my vote, for several reasons.

    The music. Terrance, Cynthia, and the band have been true ambassadors of Louisiana music – I believe all of our nominees are; however, the Simiens have been the driving force in gaining this honor and opportunity for Louisiana music. There is no better way to say “Thank you.”

    There is also the fact that a non-Louisiana musician based in a major metropolitan area is among the nominees. The problem with this is twofold: One, the music of this submission really is neither Cajun nor Zydeco; it is not a true representation of either genre. Two, this musician has access to a huge network of contacts and potential votes – which means that because Louisiana’s small voting base may be split 6 ways, it won’t take that many phone calls to garner a win for the other musician.

    The Grammy screening committee for this category allowed a musician who calls herself Cajun / Zydeco (but is neither, and we in Louisiana understand the difference) to be included in the category. While some of the members of the screening committee had a real understanding of the genres, it’s clear that the majority did not. And alas, politics enter into the voting, no matter how the Recording Academy tries to avoid it.

    Unfortunately, should a non-Louisiana musician win this first year, I fear that the category will lose support from Louisiana musicians in the future. I believe the music should speak for itself, but due to politics, it doesn’t always.

    So I encourage NARAS voting members who truly care about authentic Louisiana music to consider a vote for Terrance. Next year, let the “chips fall as they may,” but a win by a Louisiana musician this first year of the category would indeed be that validation long sought.

  2. Hi Brenda:

    Thanks for your thoughts. You have a truly passionate and logical approach to this dilemma. I hope your words reach enough members to make a difference.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: