Tu Le Ton Son Ton

Tout le temps en temps it is time to listen to Tu le ton son ton. Here it is as played in 2010 by Leon Sam.

This weekend it would be possible to see André Thierry and Corey Ledet in Loreauville. Allons danser. The radio says there will be a special Creole music event in Arnaudville on Sunday.

Here they are in Canada, singing Colinda:

Allons danser Colinda, danser collés Colinda, allons danser Colinda, pendant que ta mère n’est pas là. And these are the best zydeco dancers.

And I live in an exotic place. Last weekend I explained to French visitors the meaning of eh, toi, and eh, (toi) là-bas, but I do not think they got it.

Axé.

14 Comments

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14 responses to “Tu Le Ton Son Ton

  1. Stringer Bell

    That dance is awesome!

  2. -k-

    Hey, this post happened twice! You weren’t kidding with the tout le temps part.

    Is all zydeco danced symmetrically?

  3. Z

    Yes, it came up by mistake when it was in draft — now it needs revision, because I forgot to talk about the Caribbean origins of the Kalinda dance: http://www.vodoun.com/kalinda.htm

    Symmetrically, you mean is it always a partner dance? Yes. Glad you like it too, Stringer — those guys are awesomely good at it…

    • -k-

      Symmetrically, entirely nontechnically, I meant that these two mirror one another’s movements all the way through, and, as someone who enjoys thinking about the architecture of dance and the way that’s negotiated between dancers and musicians– I just wondered if this was always the case (the kind of salsa I most enjoy dancing, for example, involves a lot of individual expression interspersed with the partner work, but I guess I think of it as still always being a partner dance).

      Thank you for sharing these things.

      • Z

        Well, you have to be really, really good to get non symmetrical in zydeco in this case. Most often when you see it done non symmetrically it is because one partner is more advanced than the other. And most often when you see a lot of “individual expression” it is because the dancers don’t really know how to zydeco and are doing salsa that they learned in a dance studio. Other tourists go to zydeco halls and do the Lindy Hop, taking up a lot of space.

        These are of course my subjective views, I’m not an expert or an insider, just a longtime resident. But the thing is that the dance is a dance of the group, not of the couples. So part of the beauty of it is how semi symmetrical it can get, no matter how involved, and then how you can see a whole room doing it. Each individual has their own tone, but the point is to coordinate tightly with your partner and also with the other couples. You do the steps fast in a small space, and look cool, and when you do flashy things you still do them in a cool not a flashy way.

        Here’s a fairly famous clip of Harold Guillory, who’s kind of a pro, dancing with one Mandy in 2006 – the site has some more zydeco info … http://www.neworleans.co/videos-harold-mandy-dancing-zydeco-%5BYKVTjCdWzrI%5D.cfm

  4. Z

    Here we are: the Kalinda (…Colinda) spread through Louisiana from Congo Square.

    OH, the link I meant to put here did not come through. It’s a site on Congo Square that explains that the Cajun Colinda really does refer to the Caribbean Kalinda.

    Face it French speakers:
    Allons danser Colinda does not have to mean “Let’s dance, Colinda,” but can also mean “Let’s dance the Colinda!”

    Especially since the Colinda / Kalinda was supposed to be licentious and scandalous and you danced close and it was something you shouldn’t do while your parents were watching. (“Allons danser Colinda / danser colles Colinda / Allons danser Colinda / Lorsque ta mere n’est pas la”).

  5. Z

    And, speaking of Congo Square, observe this new book: http://www.ulpress.org/catalog.php?item=120 — F. W. Evans, …African Roots in New Orleans, it has actual lyrics to songs sung in the 18th and 19th centuries in Congo Square!

  6. Stringer Bell

    Here’s another one that I’ve watched more than a dozen times. Goddamn, it’s so sexy. Wish I had some rhythm!

    • Z

      Yeah, that’s Harold Guillory again, and he’s really good.

      One of the old dancehalls that’s still open, at least last I heard, is Slim’s – http://www.slimsykiki.com/ – although I wish they’d update their site. We used to go up there back in the day. I should go now. The thing is that if the whole room is doing this and you relax and watch, you will eventually find that you do “have rhythm.”

  7. Z

    P.S. Stringer, you know you can attend authentic zydeco in California. Los Angeles and Richmond are two key places. Check Zydeco Brad for SoCal events: http://zydecobrad.com/ He links inter alia to a Cajun and Creole festival in Simi Valley that we all just missed, but can maybe go to next year.

    • Stringer Bell

      Thanks, Z, for the info.

      • Z

        De rien, Stringer! You see, right, that at the end of the next post (San Juan, on another topic) I went back to some music links and called your name? 🙂

  8. -k-

    No reply button up top, so- very cool. I know nothing about zydeco, so the videos (nice, Stringer) and your observations are great. (The ‘dance studio salsa’ bit- I know what you mean. The ballroom bachateros always get me, but I tell myself that at least they’re having fun and try not to laugh too much at that silly damn kick.)

    • Z

      The Clifton Chenier celebration, with lots of bands, is going on right now, but it’s about 80 miles from Maringouin and I am lazy. Love Clifton, though: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Am7d9Uj122M … he’s the source and the best, and it’s his birthday, he would be 86 were he living … I’d post this video for today if it had movement.

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