TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — On Friday, Dec. 13 Arts For the Schools will present Cedric Watson and Dirk Powell.
After visiting two other northern California towns, Watson and Powell will hit the Truckee-North Tahoe area schools, culminating with an OnStage public performance on Friday night.
If you attended the sold-out January 2011 AFtS performance of Cedric Watson you know it will be a toe-tapping, dance-in-the-aisles kind of night.
Watson is described at one of the brightest young talents to emerge in Cajun, Creole and Zydeco (Louisiana French) music over the last decade. He is a four-time Grammy-nominated fiddler, singer, accordionist and songwriter with seemingly unlimited potential.
Watson’s sounds range from Zydeco, French music, Cajun, Creole, African, Native American, and Spanish.
Ancient sounds and spiritual rhythms, forgotten melodies, bluegrass, fiddles, accordions and strung band melodies are all in his repertoire.
Important to Watson are the origins of music and the evolution of music from Africa, France and the United States. Born in Texas, Watson relocated to Louisiana where his family had roots in Creole culture. He traveled to the Acadia region of Nova Scotia to study French. The word “Cajun” is a descendent of the word “Acadian.” Cajuns are descendents of Acadians exiled from Nova Scotia in 1755.
In Louisiana, Creoles are described as a native-born person of French ancestry. Zydeco is a type of music popular in Southern Louisiana that combines French dance melodies with elements of Caribbean music and blues. Some say that Zydeco came about when Creole music arrived in Texas and mixed with African-American roots.
There are other definitions and descriptions of Cajun, Creole and Zydeco, but you can be sure that Watson will make them all come alive in his musical way.
Dirk Powell has expanded on the deeply rooted sounds of his Appalachian heritage to become one of the preeminent traditional American musicians of his generation.
He is a musician, composer, producer and writer with extensive recording and film work with many well-known artists.
Powell carries on traditions that stretch back to Scots-Irish ancestors who came to the mountains in the mid 18th century. Spending time with his grandfather, James Clarence Hay of Sandy Hook, Ky. as a youth, Powell learned to play the fiddle and banjo.
To learn and understand more about the bond with his grandfather and his musical journey, read “Look Where the Music Has Brought Us Now,” a story written by Powell of he and his grandfather, the banjo and the fiddle, about being “knocked apart and put back together by music.”
Also written by Powell and available to read on his website are bedtime stories written for his daughters. In the introduction he reveals telling bedtime stories is one of the favorite things in his life.
“Most have a spiritual message that I hope will encourage my girls to look inward and find the beauty that lies within. I believe we are all equal expressions of one creative and un-namable energy. I believe our problems arise from blocking the paths to what already lies within, and my stories reflect that outlook. I hope they will inspire anyone who happens upon them.”
With two such passionate musicians working in our schools with our children, it’s highly likely you will hear about them at home. Making music, learning about the roots of music and where it came from, learning one’s own ancestry and roots, learning the sounds and instruments of music, this is the art that children need to see and hear, to reach for more and grow in their own artistic ways.
Come join the fun at 7 p.m. on Dec. 13th at the Community Arts Center, 10046 Church St. in Truckee.
Tickets are available online and at the door.
For more information on Arts For the Schools programs and to purchase tickets or make a donation, please visit www.artsfortheschools.org
Paula Rachuy is a member of the Arts For the Schools Board of Trustees.