Abstract

The analogy of linguistic creolization to cultural creolization is examined with reference to the evolution, form, style, and performance of zydeco music and related community aesthetic expressions among rural African-French Louisiana Creoles. The expressive culture demonstrates African, European, and Native sources both conserved and transformed in this New World setting where Creole is a local group identity. The processes observed in this particular creole culture are extended and appli to other aspects offolk and vernacular culture in America and world-wide-with the implication that cultural creolization is the central process in the maintenance and evolution of culture and cultures globally. Originally presented as a keynote address framed and punctuated by musical examples, this essay is offered in a manner that attempts to maintain its oral character. Discussion of the musical examples is augmented with selections on the web at www.americanroutes.org under the heading "Deep Routes."

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