Outside People
Nathan Williams plays zydeco, the fast and furious accordion-
driven dance music of the Creole people of South Louisiana, a rel-
atively modern style that emerged after the Second World War.
With its trademark rub-board percussion, electric guitars and
R&B influences, zydeco is distinct from the fiddle-driven music of
neighboring Cajuns.
In the hands of a dedicated musician and songwriter such as
Nathan Williams, zydeco is one of the most expressive sounds in
roots music. Nathan’s down-home parables are delivered with
surprising musical turns and a distinctive Caribbean lilt that
reaches back to the very beginnings of Creole culture
in Louisiana.
In the world of contemporary African-American music, roots
styles are easily categorized as old music—good for sampling,
maybe, but not music that relates to the lives of mainstream
American people. Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas might make
us think twice about this assumption, for they deliver uplifting,
new music that remains connected to its place in history.