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Form of dance music from southwestern Louisiana, U.S., with roots in French, African American, and Afro-Caribbean styles. Similar to the music of the Cajuns (displaced French Canadians who settled in Louisiana), zydeco was created by the Creoles (those of African heritage in Louisianan French culture). Its name is thought to come from a modified pronunciation of the French phrase les haricots (the beans) heard in a popular song. The music usually features guitar, accordion, fiddle (violin), and washboard played to a driving beat, but it may also include electric guitar, electric bass, saxophone, and keyboards. It became widely popular in the 1980s through the performances of Clifton Chenier, Queen Ida, Buckwheat Zydeco, Boozoo Chavis, and others.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on zydeco, visit Britannica.com.