Amédé Ardoin around 1912
|Born||March 11, 1898|
|Died||November 3, 1942(aged 44)|
|Instruments||Vocals, Cajun accordion|
|Labels||Columbia Records, Arhoolie Records|
Amédé Ardoin (March 11, 1898 – November 3, 1942) was a Louisiana Creole musician, known for his high singing voice and virtuosity on the Creole/Cajun Accordion. He is credited by Louisiana music scholars with laying the groundwork for Cajun music in the early 20th century.
Ardoin, with fiddle player Dennis McGee, was one of the first artists to record the music of the Acadiana region of Louisiana. On December 9, 1929, he and McGee recorded six songs for Columbia Records in New Orleans. In all, thirty-four recordings with Ardoin playing accordion are known to exist.
Life and career
The date and place of his death is uncertain. Descendants of family members and musicians who knew Ardoin tell a story, now well-known, about a racially motivated attack on him in which he was severely beaten, probably between 1939 – 1940, while walking home after playing at a house dance near Eunice, Louisiana. The most common story says that some white men were angered when a white woman, daughter of the house, lent her handkerchief to Ardoin to wipe the sweat from his face. Canray Fontenot and Wade Fruge, in PBS's American Patchwork, explained that after Ardoin left the place, he was run over by a Model A car and crushed his head and throat, damaging his vocal cords. He was found the next day, lying in a ditch. According to Canray, he "went plumb crazy" and "didn't know if he was hungry or not. Others had to feed him. He got weaker and weaker until he died." Others consider the story apocryphal. Other versions say that Ardoin was poisoned, not beaten, possibly by a jealous fellow musician.
Contemporaries said that Ardoin suffered from impaired mental and musical capacities later in his life, probably from that infamous night.
- Amédé Ardoin & Dennis McGee: Blues du Basile Listen
- Amadé Ardoin – Louisiana Cajun Music Vol. 6 : Amadé Ardoin – The First Black Zydeco Recording Artist (1928–1938) (OT-124 Old Timey Records, 1983)
- Pioneers of Cajun Accordion 1926–1936 (LPOT128 Old Timey / Arhoolie, 1989)
- I'm Never Comin Back: Roots of Zydeco (ARH7007 Arhoolie, 1995)
- Amede Ardoin – Mama, I'll Be Long Gone: The Complete Recordings of Amede Ardoin 1929–1934 (TSQ2554 Tompkins Square Records, 2011)
- Snyder, Jared (1995). Amédé Ardoin "I'm Never Comin' Back" (CD Liner). El Cerrito: Arhoolie Records. pp. 10–14. 096297700723.
- Campbell Robertson (May 28, 2015). "Mystery, and Discovery, on the Trail of a Creole Music Pioneer". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
A Creole prodigy who traveled the countryside playing his bluesy two-steps and waltzes, he changed Cajun music and laid down the roots for zydeco. ... At his death at the age of 44 in 1942, he was Case No.13387 in the state psychiatric hospital, destined for an anonymous burial.
- Snyder, Jared (1995). I'm Never Comin' Back (CD Liner). Amédé Ardoin. El Cerrito: Arhoolie Records. p. 10. 096297700723.
- Tisserand, Michael (1995). I'm Never Comin' Back (CD Liner). Amédé Ardoin. El Cerrito: Arhoolie Records. pp. 5–7. 096297700723.
- Herman Fuselier, "Mr. Ardoin, He Dead", OffBeat Magazine, Vol. 24, Num. 6, June 2011, Page 12.
- I'm Never Coming Back on Arhoolie records
- Amédé Ardoin in Encyclopedia of Cajun Culture at the Wayback Machine (archived October 7, 2007)
- American Roots Music (PBS)
- Louisiana Folklife Program select musician biographies
- on YouTube