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Performers


BLUES STAGE – 2016

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Booker T.

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Booker is a Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Musicians Hall of Fame inductee, Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient and arguably the most famous Hammond B3 player in history. As lead of the legendary Booker T and the MG’s, this pillar of soul music collaborated with Otis Redding, Albert King, Eddie Floyd and Sam and Dave during his tenure at the renowned Stax Records Label. Since then Booker has lent his trademark keyboard chops to artists as diverse as Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, Neil Young and produced classic albums such as Willie Nelson’s triple platinum hit ”Stardust” and Bill Withers’ “Just as I am” featuring the hit song “Ain’t No Sunshine”. Booker’s 2009 solo release on Anti Records, “Potato Hole” won a Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Album in 2010. Booker followed with “The Road From Memphis”, a soulful return to the classic Memphis sound recorded with The Roots and released in 2011 with Anti Records.

Booker T is performing at the Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival on Sunday, May 29th on the blues stage.
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Eric Burdon & The Animals

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Eric Burdon has one of the most powerful and distinctive voices in rock and roll.

A member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame since 1994, and hailed by Rolling Stone as one of the 100 Greatest Voices of All Time, Burdon’s music has forged new territory while also topping the charts for more than five decades.

Highly prolific, Burdon has released nearly 50 records in those 50 years, as front man of The Animals and WAR and simply as Eric Burdon. Through the changing sounds and genres, what remains constant is his courage as an artist to explore new sounds, diving into new territory with his unrivaled and unique voice. Eric Burdon has shared the stage with legends such as Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Witherspoon, Otis Redding and Bruce Springsteen, and has recently been cited by cutting edge musicians like Patti Smith and Iggy Pop as one of their personal top ten musicians.

Eric began his musical journey as a young man growing up in Newcastle, England. Listening to his idols, Ray Charles and Bo Diddley, he immersed himself in American blues and jazz. As front man and driving force of the British Invasion band The Animals, Burdon helped shape rock and roll’s DNA, and his imposing yet soulful vocals are the driving force of the iconic favorite “House Of The Rising Sun.”

A long string of hits followed, including “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” and the Vietnam-era anthem, “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place.” Pioneering the psychedelic San Francisco sound, Burdon’s classics include “San Franciscan Nights” and “Monterey.”

Burdon continued to perform throughout the years with different iterations of The Animals, while also founding and fronting the funk group War, one of the first multiracial bands, and topped the charts again with his groundbreaking hit single, “Spill The Wine.”

In the decades to follow, Burdon became an accomplished painter and author, and he continues to record and tour now as a solo artist. The year 2012 saw the release of his latest album, ‘Til Your River Runs Dry.

Eric Burdon will be performing on Saturday, May 28th on the blues stage at the Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival.
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Leon Russell

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Leon Russell is a music legend and perhaps the most accomplished and versatile musician in the history of rock 'n roll. In his distinguished and unique 50 year career, he has played on, arranged, written and/or produced some of the best records in popular music.

Leon has played on pop, rock, blues, country, bluegrass, standards, gospel, and surf records. As a session musician, arranger, producer, singer, songwriter, pianist, guitarist, record company owner, bandleader, and touring musician, he has collaborated with hundreds of artists, including Glen Campbell, Joe Cocker, Willie Nelson, Edgar Winter, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, J.J. Cale, David Gates, Bruce Hornsby, Hal Blaine, Tommy Tedesco, Bobby "Boris" Pickett, B.B. King, Freddie King, Bill Wyman, Steve Cropper, Carl Radle, Chuck Blackwell, Don Preston, Jesse Ed Davis, Rita Coolidge, Gram Parsons, Barbra Streisand, Ike & Tina Turner, Ricky Nelson, Herb Alpert, Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, Ann-Margret, Dean Martin, Marvin Gaye, Dave Mason, Steve Winwood, and groups such as Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, The Monkees, The Astronauts, The Accents, The Fencemen, The Ventures, The Beach Boys, The Byrds, Jan & Dean, Gary Lewis & The Playboys, Paul Revere & The Raiders, The Rolling Stones, The Ronettes, The Crystals, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, The Everly Brothers, The Righteous Brothers, The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Tractors and on and on and on…

Born in southwest Oklahoma in 1942, Leon began piano lessons at age 4. He was playing in Tulsa nightclubs at the age of 14. After graduating from high school, Leon's band, The Starlighters, went on the road with Jerry Lee Lewis. Leon left Tulsa at the age of 17 for Los Angeles where he began playing in the L.A. clubs and eventually became one of the best session musicians in Hollywood. He worked with the best Hollywood producers and top musicians in the business.

Leon became part of an elite group of studio musicians called the Wrecking Crew and played on hundreds of hit records in the 1960's. He was part of studio groups such as The Routers and The Super Stocks. The Routers recorded the huge hit "Let's Go" and The Super Stocks recorded surf and hot rod tunes. In 1964, Leon was a member of the the house band on the Shindig! show on ABC television which showcased the top pop acts.

Leon built a recording studio in his home in 1967 where he and Marc Benno recorded songs which were released on two critically acclaimed records as the 'Asylum Choir'.

Leon co-produced, arranged, and played piano, organ, and guitar on Joe Cocker's second album, 'Joe Cocker!' in 1969. He also recorded and toured with 'Delaney & Bonnie & Friends'.

Leon Russell will be on the blues stage, Sunday, May 29th at the Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival.
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Dwayne Dopsie

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America’s Hottest Accordion” winner, Dwayne (Dopsie) Rubin, plays a unique, high energy style of zydeco. Dwayne hails from one of the most influential Zydeco families in the world. Although inspired by tradition, he has developed his own high energy style that defies existing stereotypes and blazes a refreshingly distinct path for 21st century Zydeco music. This singer/songwriter and accordionist has performed all over the world since debuting his band, Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers, at age 19.

Dwayne Dopsie first appeared at the Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival in 2014 and he was such a big hit that he’s coming back in 2016 for the third time and appearing on both stages.

He will be on both the Cajun & Zydeco stage and the Blues stage on Saturday, May 28rdth and on the Cajun & Zydeco stage on Sunday, May 29th.
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Rebirth Brass Band

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Whether seen on HBO’s Treme or at their legendary Tuesday night gig at The Maple Leaf, Grammy-winning Rebirth Brass Band is a true New Orleans institution. Formed in 1983 by the Frazier brothers, the band has evolved from playing the streets of the French Quarter to playing festivals and stages all over the world. While committed to upholding the tradition of brass bands, they’ve also extended themselves into the realms of funk and hip-hop to create their signature sound. “Rebirth can be precise whenever it wants to,” says The New York Times, “but it’s more like a party than a machine. It’s a working model of the New Orleans musical ethos: as long as everybody knows what they’re doing, anyone can cut loose.” In the wake of the sometimes- stringent competition amongst New Orleans brass bands, Rebirth is the undisputed leader of the pack, and they show no signs of slowing down.

Rebirth Brass Band will be appearing on the blues stage of the the Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival on Saturday, May 28th.
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Barbara Morrison

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Born in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and raised in Romulus, Michigan, Barbara Morrison recorded her first appearance for radio in Detroit at the age of 10. She moved to Los Angeles in 1973, at the age of 23. Well-known in the Los Angeles area for her duo and trio dates Ms. Morrison also tours extensively, blazing a trail as a Jazz and Blues legend in her own right across the Continental United States, Western Europe the Far East and "Down Under", wowing audiences with her band.

Over the years she has performed with a virtual "who's who" of the Jazz and the Blues worlds. That list includes legends such as Gerald Wilson, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Charles, James Moody, Ron Carter, Etta James, Esther Phillips, David T. Walker, Jimmy Smith, Johnny Otis, Dr. John, Kenny Burrell, Terence Blanchard, Joe Sample, Cedar Walton,Nancy Wilson, Joe Williams, Tony Bennett, and Keb' Mo. Ms. Morrison has also guest-starred with the Count Basie Orchestra, the Clayton-Hamilton Orchestra and Doc Severinsen's Big Band. "I Wanna Be Loved" written by Barbara Morrison and Michael Cormier is a musical theatre production about the life and times of Dinah Washington, Queen of the Blues.

Barbara Morrison will be performing on the blues stage on Saturday, May 28th at the Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival.
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Alvon Johnson

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Alvon Johnson performs and tours with big bands, small bands and performed with the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame group “The Coasters.” Alvon Johnson has become a highly respected international Singer, Musician, and Entertainer. Weather he sings with Big Bands performing the great material of the American Song Book or the Low Down Blues, Alvon Johnson is an artist whose act should not be missed. He tours constantly on the international level as well as nationally in such places as Russia, Spain, Africa, Hungary, Portugal, Poland, Malaysia, China, France, Italy, Japan, Singapore, New Zealand, Europe, Canada, The Bahamas, and Australia.d you into ecstasy with his soft, soothing sexy voice and then turn you into a wild woman with his magnificent guitar playing and body movements. This is a true showman, and he gives his all in all of his performances. If you have not been to one of his shows, you owe yourself this one pleasurable experience with man that can uplift your life in just one performance.

Alvon Johnson is performing at the Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival on Sunday, May 29th.
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Guy Martin

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Guy Martin was born and raised in Ventura, CA. His love for playing the guitar didn't really come out until the ripe old age of 16. It was then that Guy's good friend from high school showed him the electric guitar. Finding an instant attraction to the instrument, Guy bought his first electric guitar and started practicing...5 hours a day. With no interest in reading boring sheet music, he began to listen to his favorite rock records and play along. About 1 year later, he was introduced to the hard driving blues notes of Stevie Ray Vaughan. This changed Guy's path immediately.

At the time, Guy was playing along with all the SRV records, and the legendary Jimi Hendrix records Guy could get his hands on. He began to self enhance his guitar skills at home in his bedroom...hour after hour. Realizing some potential in himself, he started a popular high school band...they called themselves "The Threads". It was party time now...at all the school dances and house parties.

Still honing the guitar chops a few years later after high school, Guy grouped together a power trio band that covered mostly SRV material. They called themselves "Rude Mood". With all of the SRV and Hendrix influences behind him, the band's set list was rockin'. "Rude Mood" rocked Ventura County for about 3 years straight. Soon after though...Guy realized his first love in music was writing and arranging his own songs...being original!

Currently Guy's band consists of long time bass player Tony Trigueiro, and drummer Pete Galagher. Lots of good original music is just on the horizon for Guy and his band. In the mean time, be prepared to mix it up a little with some SRV, Hendrix, and a lot more of his own original

He and his band will be appearing on Saturday, May 28th on the blues stage at the Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival.

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Reverend Tall Tree

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Shouting, moaning, stomping, shuffling & hollering, Reverend Tall Tree plays original Blues & American Roots music in the tradition of Little Walter, Howlin' Wolf, Bo Diddley, and others. The debut album by Reverend Tall Tree will be released on April 28, 2015 on Nine Yards Records/ADA with touring to follow. The band is headed by Reverend Tall Tree (also known as singer/songwriter Chris Pierce), who is an internationally acclaimed singer, songwriter and performer. In addition to his own headlining tours, he has opened worldwide shows and tours for such artists as B.B. King, Al Green, Toots and the Maytals, Seal, Aaron Neville, Beth Hart, Robert Cray, Blues Traveler and Jamie Cullum. His voice & music have been heard in numerous films including Soul Men and the Oscar award winning motion picture Crash and has been licensed by such T.V. shows as True Blood, Grey's Anatomy, Brothers and Sisters, Single Ladies, Eli Stone, In Plain Sight, Dawson's Creek and Army Wives.

This is Reverend Tall Tree’s second appearance at the Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival. He will be performing on the blues stage on Sunday, May 29th.
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Kelly’s Lot

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Kelly’s Lot weaves a variety of Americana styles on a Blues and Rhythm foundation. Lead by singer/songwriter Kelly Z, the band has released 11 CDs and performed at countless concert venues and events. During their 20 years together this Southern California band has toured nationally and internationally and has been featured on many media outlets including radio, television and in film. In 2013 Kelly and her co-writer/lead guitar player, Perry Robertson, toured parts of the USA and the UK to support their acoustic release “Plain Simple Me.” They joined French artist, Jeff Toto Blues, and toured France in October 2013, August 2014 and September 2015. Their newest release, “Don’t Give My Blues Away” features the full band which includes a horn section and keyboards. Kelly continues to write and record songs including one for the upcoming feature film, “Last Call at Murray’s.” The band includes Kelly Z on volals, Perry Robertson and Rob Zucca on guitars, Matt McFadden on bass, Sebastian Sheehan on drums, Bill Johnston on Sax, Dave Welch on Trumpet and Bobby Orgel on keys. Kelly and Perry write and perform with heart and an inspiring spirit. With the band behind them, the connection kelly’s Lot makes with a listener or and entire audience is contagious.

Kelly’s Lot will lead off on Sunday, May 29th on the blues stage at the Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival.


CAJUN & ZYDECO STAGE – 2016

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Doug Kershaw with Steve Riley

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Take one monumental figure from the history of Cajun music. Combine in equal portions with the reigning master of contemporary Cajun music. Blend in a couple of 90-year-old accordions and a couple of 250-year-old fiddles. Let sit in an elaborate shack out on the Cajun prairie for five days. Flavor with four original tunes, eight traditional tunes, apportioning roughly an equal number of vocals for each musician. Title the project, simply, Doug Kershaw and Steve Riley Face to Face. Sit back and prepare to be transported.

For those of you who may have come in late (and even those of you who may have been around a while): Just who, exactly, is Doug Kershaw? Short answer: The Louisiana Man. Slightly longer answer: The Original Ragin’ Cajun. Or, as Steve Riley puts it, “Doug Kershaw has taken his Cajun roots farther than just about anyone I know.”

Steve Riley? Well, you know him mainly with the Mamou Playboys. But then there’s cameos with Lil’ Band of Gold, two solid side-projects, High Performance and Racines, and his participation in 2012’s The Band Courtboullion with Wayne Toups and Wilson Savoy, which, by the way, took home that year’s Grammy for Best Regional Music.

“I love the way Steve plays,” Kershaw explained recently. “He can play today, and he can play yesterday. So I just said to him, ‘Why don’t you and I get together, face to face, and just play some music?’ We’re both good enough, and we both know enough, and we have enough experience not to get in each other’s way, to help each other, you know? So all I wanted to do was, come down, put our heads together …”

Needless to say, the final product as a whole is not just Cajun music unplugged, but Cajun music totally off the grid.

This unique duo will be performing at the Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival both days, Saturday May 28th and Sunday May 29th on the Cajun & Zydeco stage.
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Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers

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America’s Hottest Accordion” winner, Dwayne (Dopsie) Rubin, plays a unique, high energy style of zydeco. Dwayne hails from one of the most influential Zydeco families in the world. Although inspired by tradition, he has developed his own high energy style that defies existing stereotypes and blazes a refreshingly distinct path for 21st century Zydeco music. This singer/songwriter and accordionist has performed all over the world since debuting his band, Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers, at age 19.

Dwayne Dopsie first appeared at the Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival in 2014 and he was such a big hit that he’s coming back in 2016 for the third time and appearing on both stages.

He will be on both the Cajun & Zydeco stage and the Blues stage on Saturday, May 28rdth and on the Cajun & Zydeco stage on Sunday, May 29th.
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Chubby Carrier And The Bayou Swamp Band

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Chubby Carrier is often referred to as “The World’s Premier Zydeco Showman.” Born in Churchpoint, Louisiana, Chubby is the third generation of zydeco artists so it was only natural that he began his musical career at the age of 12 by playing drums with his father’s band. At 15 he took up the accordion and by age 17 he was playing with Terrance Siemien with whom he toured the world for 2-1/2 years. In 1989 he formed his own band. And in 2011 the band won the Grammy Award for the Best Zydeco or Cajun Album.

Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band have recorded ten CDs over the past 22 years while also touring the world. Chubby and the band travel 150 to 175 days a year including major festivals such as the New Orleans Jazz Fest, the Chicago Blues Fest and several in Europe.

If you haven’t experienced the high energy, swamp funky zydeco sound of Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band, then it’s high time that you do at the 27th Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival over Memorial Day weekend – May 28th & 29th.
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Jo-El Sonnier

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The music of Jo-El Sonnier is a way of life. Steeped in passion and relentless dedication…he has been the undisputed “King of Cajun” for the past 25 years and occupies a significant place in the rich artistic landscape of this country.

Jo-El was born in Rayne, Louisiana to poor, French speaking sharecroppers. He began to play the accordion at three years of age, first as a toy to occupy Jo-El while his parents visited with neighbors. As he grew, so did his love for the instrument and his ability to play it. Singing only in French, his Cajun heritage was very strong and clear. By the middle 80’s, Jo-El had a Grammy nominated recording to his credit with Cajun Life.

The sounds of his accordion can be heard on the albums of such great legends as Hank Williams Jr., Johnny Cash, Alan Jackson, Robert Cray, Neil Diamond, Mark Knopfler, Elvis Costello, Merle Haggard and Dolly Parton among others. Jo-El has lent his talent on the accordion to more than 100 Artist records. He continues to maintain a regular schedule as a session player. In 2004, Jo-El recorded a duet with Chris LeDoux, on what would be Chris’s last album. In 2006 he was back in the studio, adding a little Cajun spice to the new CD by “Hot Apple Pie.”

In February 2015 he was awarded the Grammy for The Healing Song which he wrote with his Nashville friends Billy Henderson and AJ Masters and recorded with a veritable who’s who of Cajun and Zydeco music.

There is no doubt…Jo-El Sonnier is “The Real Deal!”

This is Jo-El’s first appearance at the Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival. He will be appearing on Sunday, May 29th.
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Mark St. Mary

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Mark St. Mary’s family moved to the San Francisco Bay Area around 1960 in search of “better money” and greater freedom. The hardworking Mary St. Mary Louisiana Blues & Zydeco Band has been a favorite of Cajun/Zydeco festival crowds for years. St. Mary and company were voted the best zydeco band of 2007 by the Bay Area Blues Society. St. Mary began playing accordion when he was 12, inspired originally by “King of Zydeco” Clifton Chenier. Singing in English and Creole French, St. Mary leads his band through original songs including “St. Mary Special” and “Moi Seado (My Syrup),” interspersed with dance floor favorites from Chenier’s “I’m Coming Home” and the classic Harry Choates version of “Jolie Blon” to Rockin Sidney’s “Don’t Mess with My Toot Toot.”

Today St. Mary lives in Alameda and calls himself the Delta King, a title he received at The Isleton Crawdad Festival. He plays a bluesy zydeco style influenced by accordionist Clifton Chenier. Depending on the venue, he might play pure zydeco, or he might “cut loose,” throwing in “a little R&B, jump, and a little down-and-dirty belly rubbing.

Mark St. Mary will be appearing on the Cajun/Zydeco stage on Saturday, May 28th at the Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival.
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Bonne Musique Zydeco

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Bonne Musique Zydeco (BMZ), literally “good zydeco music,” is a 6-member band specializing in the Creole music of Louisiana and east Texas. BMZ draws upon the style of traditional Cajun and Creole musicians, and the influences of the blues and New Orleans artists of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s to create a blend of music designed for dancing. Bervick J. Deculus, a native of Louisiana, bass player and leader of BMZ, founded the band in 1991.

He is carrying on the tradition of his well known family, which includes internationally recognized Grammy Award winners Queen Ida and Al Rapone, and the innovative Beau Jocque, a circuit to draw in the area between New Orleans and Houston, who also gained international popularity before his early death in 1999. BMZ has featured several accomplished accordionists and recording artists, namely, Al Rapone, Willis Prodhomme, Jo Jo Reed, Christopher P. Ardoin and Bryant Keith Broussard. Many of these artists are featured on BMZ’s first recorded CD, Gumbo Mix. BMZ still enjoys arranging performances with these Louisiana musicians. BMZ has gained a strong reputation on the West Coast for bringing native Louisianans and people of all ages and cultures out to dance. The members of BMZ are all vereran musicians. They are Gee Rabe – accordion; Billy Butler – drums, lead vocals and rubboard; Norman Weatherly – keyboard and background vocals; Andre Allen – drums and background vocals; George Sallustio – guitar, and B.J. Deculus – bass and saxophone.

Bonnie Musique Zydeco will be performing on the Cajun & Zydeco stage on Sunday, May 29th at the Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival
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Bayou Brothers

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The Bayou Brothers started in 1995 with a shared love of Cajun and Zydeco music by founder John Chambers, on accordion and keyboards, and Ric Lee, laying down Zydeco and Cajun dance grooves on the drums.

Throughout the last 15 years, they have been playing their music at festivals and concerts venues all over the southwest and are well known for their rowdy shows, bluesy Zydeco that drives the band and fans Zydeco dance crazy! Adding to the Bayou Brothers sound is sax and percussionist Thom Pod.

The Bayou Brothers are performing on the Cajun-Zydeco stage on Saturday, May 28th at the Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival.

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Rotary Club of Simi Sunrise
Cajun Festival
P.O. Box 940326
Simi Valley, California 93094-0326
805-517-9000
www.rotaryclubofsimisunrise.com
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