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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Fest 2016 announces talent lineup

Los Angeles area’s largest Cajun, Zydeco, Blues and Roots music festival, held over Memorial Day weekend, features two stages, a Mardi Gras parade, crafts and dozens of food booths

Above: Blues stage headliners Leon Russell, Booker T., Eric Burdon
SIMI VALLEY, Calif. — The 27th annual Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival will rock once again at Memorial Day weekend, Saturday and Sunday, May 28 and 29, at Rancho Santa Susanna Community Park, 5005 Los Angeles Ave., in Simi Valley. The event features two full stages (and two dance floors) for each of its musical genres. Music will proceed non-stop each day from 12 noon until 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults (13 and over) and children 12 and younger are free. Discount single day tickets of $20 and two-day passes for $35, are available only online at <>. Parking is ample and free. Fast-moving California Hwy. 118 (Ronald Reagan Freeway) can be taken to the Stearns Street exit; the festival is four blocks south.
This year, the blues stage features headliners Booker T, legendary keyboardist for Stax hitmakers Booker T & the MGs; Eric Burdon & the Animals; Leon Russell; and the Rebirth Brass Band;as well as L.A. blueswoman Barbara Morrison; Alvon Johnson; Guy Martin; Kelly’s Lot and returning from last year by popular demand, Reverend Tall Tree. Once again Dwayne Dopsie performs at both the blues stage and the Cajun and Zydeco stage, “King of Cajun” Jo-El Sonnier brings his Acadian spirit to Simi. 
On the Cajun and Zydeco stage, Cajun hitmaker Doug Kershaw joins forces with Steve Riley, and Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers once again perform at both the Cajun/Zydeco and blues stages. Grammy Award winners Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band bring genuine Louisiana-styled Zydeco.Also appearing are Mark St. Mary, Bonne Musique Zydeco and the Bayou Brothers.
The annual Mardi Gras Parade will take place both days at 4 p.m.
About the headliners:
Booker T.: Booker is a Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Musicians Hall of Fame inductee, Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient and arguably the most famous Hammond B3 player in history. As lead of the legendary Booker T and the MG’s, this pillar of soul music collaborated with Otis Redding, Albert King, Eddie Floyd and Sam and Dave during his tenure at the renowned Stax Records Label. His 2009 solo release on Anti Records, “Potato Hole” won a Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Album in 2010. Booker followed with “The Road From Memphis”, a soulful return to the classic Memphis sound recorded with The Roots and released in 2011 with Anti- Records.
Eric Burdon & the Animals: Eric Burdon has one of the most powerful and distinctive voices in rock and roll. Hailed by Rolling Stone as one of the 100 Greatest Voices of All Time, Burdon has released nearly 50 records in those 50 years, as front man of The Animals and WAR and simply as Eric Burdon. Through the changing sounds and genres, what remains constant is his courage as an artist to explore new sounds, diving into new territory with his unrivaled and unique voice. Eric Burdon has shared the stage with legends such as Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Witherspoon, Otis Redding and Bruce Springsteen, and has recently been cited by cutting edge musicians like Patti Smith and Iggy Pop as one of their personal top ten musicians.
Leon Russell:  In his distinguished and unique 50-year career, Leon Russell has played on, arranged, written and/or produced some of the best records in popular music.  As a session musician, arranger, producer, singer, songwriter, pianist, guitarist, record company owner, bandleader, and touring musician, he has collaborated with hundreds of artists, but is best known for his own hits, including “Tight Rope,” “Song For You,” “Delta Lady,” “Lady Blue,” “Roller Derby” and his cover of Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall.”
Barbara Morrison: Over the years, Detroit-born L.A. blues legend Barbara Morrison has performed with a virtual who's who of the jazz and blues worlds: Gerald Wilson, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Charles, James Moody, Ron Carter, Etta James, Esther Phillips, David T. Walker, Jimmy Smith, Johnny Otis, Dr. John, Kenny Burrell, Terence Blanchard, Joe Sample, Cedar Walton,Nancy Wilson, Joe Williams, Tony Bennett, and Keb' Mo. Morrison has also guest-starred with the Count Basie Orchestra, the Clayton-Hamilton Orchestra and Doc Severinsen's Big Band. "I Wanna Be Loved" written by Barbara Morrison and Michael Cormier is a musical theatre production about the life and times of Dinah Washington, Queen of the Blues.
Rebirth Brass Band: Whether seen on HBO’s Tremé or at their legendary Tuesday night gig at The Maple Leaf, Grammy-winning Rebirth Brass Band is a true New Orleans institution. Formed in 1983 by the Frazier brothers, the band has evolved from playing the streets of the French Quarter to playing festivals and stages all over the world.  
Doug Kershaw with Steve Riley: Take one monumental figure from the history of Cajun music. Combine in equal portions with the reigning master of contemporary Cajun music. Blend in a couple of 90-year-old accordions and a couple of 250-year-old fiddles. Let sit in an elaborate shack out on the Cajun prairie for five days. Flavor with four original tunes, eight traditional tunes, apportioning roughly an equal number of vocals for each musician. Title the collaboration album, simply, Doug Kershaw and Steve Riley Face to Face. Sit back and prepare to be transported.
Dwayne Dopsie: America’s Hottest Accordion winner Dwayne (Dopsie) Rubin, plays a unique, high energy style of zydeco. Dwayne hails from one of the most influential Zydeco families in the world. While inspired by tradition, he has developed his own high-energy style that defies existing stereotypes and blazes a refreshingly distinct path for 21st century Zydeco music. This singer/songwriter and accordionist has performed all over the world since debuting his band, Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers, at age 19.
Jo-El Sonnier: His music steeped in passion and relentless dedication, Sonnier has been the undisputed King of Cajun for the past 25 years and occupies a significant place in the rich artistic landscape of this country. Born in Louisiana to poor, French speaking sharecroppers. He began to play the accordion at three years of age. By the middle ‘80s, Jo-El had a Grammy nominated recording to his credit with Cajun Life.  In 2015 he was awarded the Grammy for The Healing Song which he wrote with his Nashville friends Billy Henderson and AJ Masters and recorded with a veritable who’s who of Cajun and Zydeco music.

Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band
: often referred to as The World’s Premier Zydeco Showman, Chubby Carrier was born in Churchpoint, Louisiana and is the third generation of zydeco artists so it was only natural that he began his musical career at the age of 12 by playing drums with his father’s band. At 15 he took up the accordion and by age 17 he was playing with Terrance Siemien with whom he toured the world for 2 1/2 years. In 1989 he formed his own band. And in 2011 the band won the Grammy Award for the Best Zydeco or Cajun Album. Carrier and band have recorded ten CDs over the past 22 years while also touring the world.
Once again the blues stage is booked by Martin Fleischmann and his company, Rum & Humble. For more than 20 years Rum & Humble has played a key role in presenting some of the world’s most celebrated musical talent (Radiohead, Manu Chao, and the Rolling Stones, to name a few) to Los Angeles audiences, in venues ranging from the Echoplex to the Orpheum Theatre to the Hollywood Bowl. The company has co-produced the Santa Monica Pier’s Twilight Concert Series since 2011. In addition, Rum & Humble has collaborated closely and creatively with artists such as Jackson Browne and Paul Oakenfold as well as with a varied roster of corporate and non-profit clients ranging from KJAZZ Radio to the Conga Room nightclub to the National Geographic Society.
The festival has received national press accolades: “Everywhere you turned, there was something exciting happening. Put this on your 2013 festival calendar,” wrote Blue Revue editor Art Tipaldi, who made the trek from New England. The Blues Blast writer enthused, “I attend many venues and festivals throughout the year but the ones that seem to impress me the most are the ones that serve the community in some way. I highly recommend you put this on your calendar for next Memorial Day weekend.” And the music industry trade journal Hits added, “As the last strains of [Candye] Kane’s set rang in our ears, we left the grounds fully sated by music, food, drink and, as the saying goes, bon temps.”
The festival boasts dozens of food booths featuring a variety of fare: authentic Cajun creations and Southern BBQ as well as multi-cultural cuisine. More than 100 craft booths and retailers will be scattered throughout the festival grounds.
Tickets may be obtained online at
Support of the not-for-profit Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival has benefited dozens of local community, national and international organizations, a list of which may be found at <>.
The Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival is a presentation of the Rotary Club of Simi Sunrise.
Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Festival web site:  
(Schedule subject to change)
12:15 p.m. Guy Martin
1:35 p.m. Barbara Morrison
3:00 p.m. Rebirth Brass Band
4:45 pm. Eric Burdon & The Animals
6:20 p.m. Dwayne Dopsie  
12:25 p.m. Bayou Brothers
1:55 p.m. Dwayne Dopsie
3:25 p.m. Doug Kershaw with Steve Riley
4:35 p.m. Mardi Gras Parade
4:55 p.m. Chubby Carrier
6:25 p.m. Mark St. Mary
12:15 p.m. Kelly’s Lot
1:35 p.m. Alvon Johnson
3:00 p.m. Booker T
4:45 p.m. Leon Russell
6:20 p.m. Reverend Tall Tree  
12:25 p.m. Bonne Musique Zydeco
1:50 p.m. Jo-El Sonnier
3:15 p.m. Chubby Carrier
4:20 p.m. Mardi Gras Parade
4:40 p.m. Doug Kershaw with Steve Riley
6:05 p.m. Dwayne Dopsie

Below: Cajun/Zydeco headliners Jo-El Sonnier, Doug Kershaw & Steve Riley, Dwayne Dopsie

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