Sangamon Auditorium at the University of Illinois Springfield presents Creole for Kidz & the History of Zydeco on Tuesday, October 17, 2017 at 7:00 pm in the UIS Sangamon Auditorium as a part of the Visiting Artists series. Tickets to the 7:00 pm show are on sale now for $22 for adults and $14 for youth. Contact the Ticket Office at 217-206-6160 or visit SangamonAuditorium.org.
Since 1981, two-time GRAMMY award winning artist Terrance Simien, has been shattering the myths about what his indigenous Zydeco roots music is - and is not. Leading his 5 piece, highly skilled and well traveled, Zydeco Experience band, Simien has become one of the most respected and accomplished artists in American roots music today. He and his band mates have performed over 8500 concerts, toured millions of miles to over 45 countries during their eventful career. 2017 marked Simien's 32nd consecutive performance at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival; the gold standard for showcasing and celebrating Louisiana music alongside more mainstream, popular music. Simien is currently starring in a nationally syndicated television show called "Sing Like A Star" with host Arthel Neville, Art Neville's oldest daughter. In 2014, Simien and his band mates garnered their 2nd GRAMMY award for "Dockside Sessions" produced by George Receli, Bob Dylan's long time drummer. In 2012 Simien & his band mates are seen performing their original song "Dance Everyday" in the Warner Brothers feature film "The Lucky One". 2009 was another really big year for zydeco music; it marked the release of Disney's "The Princess & The Frog", set in the city of New Orleans and featured their first black princess. Simien collaborated with Randy Newman on "Gonna Take You There", a zydeco flavored song inspired by Simien's music. The film made history for his genre: it was the first time Disney featured zydeco music in one of their classic animated films. To really seal the deal, children and their parents all over the world heard to word zydeco spoken in the film! This introduced millions of families around the globe to this American roots music genre born in Louisiana. In 2005 Simien led HBO producers deep into Creole country for another high visible opportunity for the genre and he introduced them to the prodigious 5 year old zydeco talent, Guyland Leday who was featured in the HBO doc "The Music in Me: Children's Recitals from Classical to Latin, Jazz to Zydeco that still airs on HBO. This was a huge victory for his state, genre and Creole culture. However, it was 2008 that proved to be one of the most memorable years of their eventful career as they were honored with their first GRAMMY award, the first in zydeco since Rockin Sidney Simien received his in 1985. They also performed that same day at The 50th GRAMMY Awards pre-Tel ceremony.
Simien was born in 1965, into the hippie folk and soul music era that has always intrigued him. He grew artistically being inspired by all of the music from that period. He was as influenced by Dylan and Simon and Garfunkel as he was by Sam Cooke and the Commodores. An 8th generation Louisiana Creole his family is documented in history books as one of the first Creole families to settle St. Landry Parish. His musical roots are firmly planted alongside the great zydeco pioneers like Chenier, Delafose, Chavis, Ardoin and that other Simien, Rockin Sidney, to name a few. He counts himself one of the fortunate few who hail from a generation with a direct link to these artists, some of whom mentored him as an emerging talent. He has assumed that same role to a new generation of young Zydeco hot shots because he understands how critical mentoring is to the success of his indigenous music that has become synonymous with the cultural identity of Louisiana and an important part of the musical landscape of the America.
In 1983 at the young age of 18, Simien began touring professionally and by 20 he was sharing the stage with Fats Domino and Sarah Vaughn at the Bern Jazz Festival. His career exploded after that and Terrance remains a pivotal part of Zydeco music history. In the early 1980's there were only 2 emerging bands reaching a younger audience with their indigenous roots music the young Terrance Simien & the Mallet Playboys and The Sam Brothers Five. Being an innovator made Simien vital to the "renaissance" of a genre that was becoming extinct with the passing of each pioneer starting with Clifton Chenier in 1987. By the end of the 1990's, all of the other influential pioneers had departed. This placed Terrance at the forefront of an exciting period of growth and popularity for his genre.
Terrance is blessed with an extraordinary talent that expresses the deepest human emotions through the original instrument: The Voice. He takes his audiences on a multicultural tour of the world. The many countries he's visited on tour also inform his musical language. He creates a hypnotic blend of New Orleans funk-reggae-flavored-soulful-American-zydeco-roots music that beckons you to your feet and into the groove. He has found a seamless and artful way to deliver his eclectic music as a relevant, evolving artist who is clearly rooted in Creole tradition. Well known for his legendary live performances, Simien also helped changed the path of success for his genre by introducing complex vocal harmonies, diverse repertoire and carefully crafted high quality recordings.
Simien has shared studio & stage with Robert Palmer, Stevie Wonder, Los Lobos, Taj Mahal, Dr. John, the Meters, Alan Toussaint, Paul Simon and Dave Matthews Band to name a few. He & his band mates have been featured in TV commercials and a dozen or more films, including the blockbuster "The Big Easy" which changed the game for Louisiana music in the 80's. His music has been heard on NPR syndicated radio shows like World Café, American Routes, E-town & House of Blues Radio Hour. Rolling Stone, Billboard, and other notable music industry publications, as well as major daily newspapers have praised his recordings. His extensive discography dates back to vinyl 45's. In 1991 he was signed to rock label Restless Records by A&R rep Ron Goudie who brought the band Poison to the same label group.
In 2005 they became the first zydeco artists to perform in Cuba for the US State Department. In 2006, Carnegie Hall presented them in Mali, West Africa as part of their unique Global Encounters program. Simien's groundbreaking Creole for Kidz & The History of Zydeco for student, youth and family audiences has reached nearly 500,000 since its debut in 2000. This dynamic program is presented at performing art centers, schools and festivals. Simien is helping change the vocabulary and build generations of more culturally literate young performing arts patrons who are more knowledgeable about zydeco roots music because of his program. Simien has received countless awards, grants and recognition for his work and artistic contributions.
Along with this family friendly show, the Sangamon Auditorium will include free lobby pre-show activities beginning at 6pm.