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Friday, February 1, 2019

Nathan Williams and the Zydeco Cha Chas Play By A Creed

Nathan Williams and the Zydeco Cha Chas Play By A Creed that Suits the Rollicking Style: “Let the Good Times Roll.

February 1, 2019

by Paul Fred
Monterey County Weekly

Nathan Williams, lead accordionist for Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Chas will perform Friday, Feb. 22. 2019 at the Sunset Center (San Carlos and Ninth) in Carmel. California.

Like a great gumbo or jambalaya, the music called zydeco is a rich simmering stew of no less than five musical genres: blues, jazz, rhythm and blues, Creole and Cajun music. It’s beyond toe-tapping and head-bobbing – it moves the body and lifts the spirit. As the late, great zydeco pioneer Clifton Chenier once said, “If you can’t dance to zydeco, you can’t dance!”

Zydeco Cha Chas founder and leader Nate Williams was friends with Chenier, and he knows all about the swampy spirit of this rollicking southern Louisiana music. But it was another zydeco titan, the late Stanley Dural, also known as Buckwheat Zydeco, who influenced Williams even more.

“Buckwheat became friends with Chenier when Clifton was doing a longtime gig at The Brother’s Club,” Williams says. “I met Buckwheat there. He had a band for my whole life and I learned everything from him. He was like a father to me.”

Formed by Williams in 1985, the Cha Chas have always been a family affair. Only one bandmate, longtime bassist Junius Antoine, isn’t immediate family, as the rest of the group is populated by Williams’ brother, nephew and brother-in-law.

“Junius is rock solid and I love him like a brother,” Williams says.

While some might view zydeco as just good-time party music, Williams sees it as music with a message. “It’s a fun music for sure,” he says, “and we all love seeing people enjoying life so much. But we’re also bringing a message to the people – it’s a great education about the way things should be.”

The band’s emergence was rapid – they signed with Rounder Records just two years after they formed in 1987. And in 2009, Williams founded his own label, Cha Cha Records. Along the way, they’ve played venues as diverse as the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and Nashville’s Grand Ol’ Opry and everywhere in between.

Still, Williams says things remain the same, right in line with the longtime Cajun/New Orleans/zydeco credo, laissez les bons temps rouler (let the good times roll!), an expression indicative of the joy of living attitude that pervades the Big Easy.

“I play the same way for every crowd,” Williams says. “We’re just up there doin’ our thing, you know what I mean? All we want to do is make people happy. You’re gonna be entertained. And you better bring your dancin’ shoes because we’re gonna sock it to ya!”

Nathan Williams and the Zydeco Cha Chas Play By A Creed
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