Our season-long Spotlight Series continues this week with Dwayne Dopsie (pronounced DOOP-see), a fiery accordionist from Lafayette, La. Along with his band, the Zydeco Hellraisers, Dwayne will be bringing an upbeat blend of blues, rock, and traditional Zydeco music to the stage at Levitt AMP Santa Fe this Saturday.
We have several fascinating facts about Dwayne Dopsie for you, but first let’s address a question that may already be on your mind: what is Zydeco? Indigenous to Louisiana’s Creole communities, Zydeco is a centuries-old style of music characterized by the unique combination of accordion in the forefront and washboard anchoring the rhythm section. The latter is usually worn on a vest called a frottoir that leaves both hands free for rhythmic rubbing. Most Zydeco tunes are fast-paced and eminently danceable, with two-step beats and furious bursts of accordion driving them forward.
Now, let’s get to know a musician on the leading edge of the contemporary Zydeco scene: Dwayne Dopsie!
- Dwayne Dopsie’s family is a bona-fide Zydeco dynasty. His father, Alton “Rockin’ Dopsie” Rubin, recorded with the likes of Paul Simon and Bob Dylan, and contributed to bringing Zydeco to audiences outside of Louisiana for the first time in its history. Two of Dwayne’s brothers, Dopsie Jr. and Alton Jr., are also Zydeco pros — their band is called Rockin’ Dopsie Jr. and the Zydeco Twisters.
- At the age of 19, Dwayne was crowned “America’s Hottest Accordionist” after winning a national competition hosted by the American Accordion Association. He founded his band, the Zydeco Hellraisers, the same year.
- Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers scored a GRAMMY nomination in 2017 for their album Top of the Mountain. The album competed in the category of Best Regional Roots Album.
- Dwayne is fluent in Louisiana Creole French, and often incorporates the dialect into his lyrics.
- Despite his muscular physique, Dwayne claims he has never lifted weights. He instead attributes his bulging biceps to many years of accordion playing. The instrument weighs about 20 pounds and requires considerable effort to open and close.
- Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers have taken their Zydeco sounds around the world. They’ve performed in China and the Baltic state of Georgia, to name a few.
Don’t miss your chance to see Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers live in concert this weekend at Levitt AMP Santa Fe. It’s a can’t-miss opportunity for fans of eclectic music to experience the energy of Zydeco firsthand.