Grammy-award winning musician Terrance Simien brings fusion-blend style from Louisiana

Terrance Simien performs at Magnolia Fest at the Spirit of Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak Florida on Friday. October 17, 2014.

The happy sound of Zydeco music will fill the Historic Midwest Theater on Nov. 12 as fan favorite Terrance Simien returns from Louisiana for another performance in western Nebraska.

“Terrance has one of those sounds that makes me want to move a little jiggy,” Midwest Theater Director Billy Estes said. “I can’t quite sit still either from tapping my foot or bouncing in my seat. Terrance has been touring for the past 38 years, so he must be doing it right.”

Zydeco, an indigenous music from the bayous of southern Louisiana, is a fusion of Creole, Cajun and native styles that are a joyous celebration of life.

Driven by fiddles, accordion and rub-board percussion, Zydeco was originally played at house dances where family and friends gathered to socialize and dance.

Since 1983, when he was 18, Simien and his band have been touring professionally. They’ve toured millions of miles across 45 countries while performing more than 9,000 concerts.

“Of all the artists we’ve presented, he’s a standout favorite,” Estes said. “People keep mentioning him on patron surveys telling us they’d like to see him come back.”

Simien’s music can be heard in movies like “The Lucky One” and the Dennis Quaid film “The Big Easy.” It’s also played on a number of syndicated shows through National Public Radio and along the way, he’s won two Grammy awards.

Simien puts on a great show, but he’s especially active in youth education, sharing his musical heritage with school kids.

“His education work is incredible and he’s so charismatic with the kids,” Estes said. “We host a bus-in workshop that brings in about 500 kids. He’s also going to do an outreach performance in one of the elementary schools while he’s here.”

Estes said one of Simien’s Grammy awards is on his mantel. The other trophy tours with him for educational purposes.

“When he’s working in the classroom, he pulls out the trophy and tells the kids what it was like to win and the hard work that went into the award,” Estes said. “He tells the kids he wants to collect their fingerprints on it. He wants them to feel the literal weight of that award and the time it takes to practice and craft your art as an artist.”

Simien will perform live at the Midwest Theater in downtown Scottsbluff on Tuesday, Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m. Depending on location, tickets are from $36 to $26. They’re available at the theater, 1707 Broadway, or by calling 308-632-4311. Tickets are also available at the door or online at midwestheater.com.

jpurvis@starherald.com

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Jerry Purvis is a reporter with the Star-Herald. He can be reached at 308-632-9046 or emailed at jpurvis@starherald.com.

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