AARP Prime Time Radio is the distributor for Zydeco Nation. Fiscal sponsorship is provided by Deep Springs College and the International Documentary Association. This project was made possible with support from Cal Humanities, an independent non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information, visit www.calhum.org.
Andrew Carriere was a late bloomer on the accordion but has been making up for lost time ever since. He performs regularly throughout the Bay Area, both with his own band and with the Creole Belles. His repertoire features zydeco, but also includes more traditional French music as well as country and rock ’n’ roll. The sight of the 74-year-old’s enormous biceps as he squeezes his accordion is truly wondrous.
Carriere is the son of fiddler Joseph “Bébé” Carrière and the nephew of Eraste “Dolon” Carrière, two of the most renowned Creole musicians of their generation. Growing up, young Andrew loved listening to zydeco, but didn’t become a serious musician himself until after he had landed in California in the early 1970s and began working as a welder on a nuclear submarine. Eventually he began singing and playing triangle with the California Cajun Orchestra, and then moved on to the accordion. In this outtake, he explains how this childhood passion turned into a later-in-life career.