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My two cents

Nowadays, the music of the Slum is commonly labeled as Zydeco - a typical accordion-blues-rock mixture - But that's just a casual similarity. In fact, as a young accordion player I'd never heard about Zydeco!

In my first solo contracts in '68, within a standard repertory of musette, marches and tangos, I added the hits of artists of those days: Joe Dassin, Mungo Jerry, Nino Ferrer, Richard Anthony.

At the local pub and my friends' places, American and British rock albums played in a continuous loop. The well-behaved Beatles and Donovan were set aside when I was caught by John Mayall, Deep Purple and Canned Heat.

Then one day I heard that voice... Never before had I felt such a groove! It was
Creedence Clearwater Revival.

I switched temporarily from the accordion to the bass playing with
The Wheels. It followed me during my Lausanne student years. Meanwhile, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hendrix, The Doors, Eric Clapton and J.J. Cale continued to heat the room while leaving space for new sounds like Talking Heads and Roxy Music.

Vevey '77. Fête de Vignerons with the accordion but still on bass with Strasstango, I had my hands on tenor saxophone for awhile. All of a sudden, the Sultan of Swing, Mark Knopfler, in single lick of Strat', blazed through the ambiant/cold wave to call me back to where I belonged.

I just joined Irratics as bass player when Vicky, the singer, soon-to-be mother left us as a trio. Under Pieral's cheerful and down-to-earth influence, I went back to the accordion. Blaise also teased me, talking much less about his father, who played accordion in his own local café in Vernayaz, than about Louisiana people, Zydeco music and its King,
Clifton Chenier.


These are the origins of Slum music: three guys from Valais with a heap of common influences and affinities. One day, carried by Southern winds, some magic bean with a Creole spirit took root by the fertile River Rhône. Meanwhile, John Fogerty, the soul of Creedence, is still singing about the swamps and the bayous from his California homeplace...

«What kind of music?» - Français >
Route Gourmande '02 - Chailly on Montreux - VD - Switzerland

When people try to define the band's style as a category, no one can come up with a specific answer. Even if it handles on obvious influences: Blues, Cajun, Zydeco, Country, R&B, Rock’n’Roll... It’s a mix of those ingredients cooked up in our own way without trying to follow anyone else's recipe.

Gives the image of a mix of people, of various styles and cultures, a simple and easy lifestyle. Those mongrel ways might disappoint someone looking for a classic blues or straight-up country, but it’s great to see that person unable to resist tapping his foot to the beat, or getting up to dance. In between, some more intimate sounds may make you fall under the charm of a melody and surprise you at a corner of your heart…

We may be from the
French-speaking part of Switzerland, but confess to a preference for American music, leaning toward a Southern sound, and not forgetting frequent detours in British blues. Our musical passions were born in the late 60's and matured in the 70's, but we travel freely through time to play easily to audiences of all ages.

Arrival of the Acadians in Louisiana - Robert Dafford - 1995
Acadian Memorial - St. Martinville, Louisiana, U.S.A. - Mural 12" x 30"

Then there's the long trail of our French connection. In addition to the essential musette of local waltzes, we include many touches from our francophone cousins across the sea. The Acadian settlers from Nova Scotia who headed south to Louisiana about 250 years ago eventually shook off the chill of the North Atlantic winds and took root in the bayous and towns as a distinct Cajun culture. Their music, full of fiddle-based dance tunes, is as lively and fun as their spicy cooking. Mix that with blues roots from the African/Caribbean heart of the Creole style, add an accordion, and laisse le bon temps rouler! Zydeco sprouted up in the 1950's from a new blending of Creole, Cajun, Blues and R&B, with some touches of Country & Western from Nashville. The source of the name 'zydeco' is said to come from 'les haricots' from a Creole expression 'les z'haricots sont pas salés' [the beans aren’t salty].

One of the things the Slum has in common with all these life and music styles is the love of seeing a hall full of people eating, drinking, dancing and enjoying each other's company. Those pleasures are the same all over: whether it's jambalaya, schnitzel or raclette on the table, folks like to go out and have a good time.

Text: Lucivee
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