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Accordionist Wilson Anthony “Boozoo” Chavis had also recorded in the 1950s, and his signature song “Paper in My Shoe” had become a local hit.

When Chenier was ailing during the 1980s, a distinct style of zydeco began to emerge, as did another unforgettable performer.

Folklorists Nicholas Spitzer and Barry Ancelet have developed the theory that the language and sound of zydeco are related to traditional music found in parts of West Africa as well as on a number of Indian Ocean islands, especially Rodrigues.

In the recorded era, early precedents for the modern zydeco sound are first heard on 1934 field recordings by folklorist Alan Lomax, as well as the early commercial recordings by the legendary black Creole accordionist Amédé Ardoin.

In later years, traditional Creole music would become popularized by the accordion-fiddle team Bois Sec Ardoin and Canray Fontenot, who like Cajun fiddler Dewey Balfa were early defenders of their culture’s musical traditions.

Zydeco’s hallmark merging of folk traditions and popular music got underway when Louisiana farmers began moving to the oil towns of west Louisiana and east Texas.