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Alphonse Ardoin
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Obituary fromThe Daily Advertiser - Lafayette, LA
Article published May 18, 2007.
by Herman Fuselier

Before his death Wednesday night May 18, 2007, Alphonse "Bois Sec" Ardoin, 92, was the oldest link in one of Louisiana's richest musical legacies. Three generations of the Ardoin family, who hailed from Duralde in Evangeline Parish, have recorded Creole music and its more modern sound, zydeco.

Barry Ancelet, professor of folklore at UL, said Ardoin was one of the last living links to an era of pioneering musicians who played Creole and Cajun music before they became popular trends.

"He was one of the last native practitioners of a style that pre-dated what just about everybody is playing now," said Ancelet, who profiled Ardoin in his book, Makers of Cajun and Creole Music. "He was so generous and freely shared his music with young people that there are quite a few young people who are carrying on his tradition in some way.

"He was the real deal. He hadn't learn this on purpose to learn it. He grew up with it. He grew up in it.

"Like a lot of people from that generation, what made their music sound the way it did was the way that they lived. Young musicians, who have learned from their records or sitting with them, have learned to play the notes. But they're playing the notes in a remarkably different context."

A lifelong farmer, Ardoin earned his nickname Bois Sec (French for dry wood) for his skills at seeking shelter when the rains started on the farm.

Zydeco veteran Terrance Simien was among the young musicians educated by Ardoin.

"I remember I had one of these little Hohner accordions," said Simien. "He looked at it and laughed and said 'You need to get you a real accordion.

"I was totally blown away by his level of skill on accordion. He took the time with me and was happy to do it. I'll never forget that as long as I live."

Ardoin was the cousin of Amédé Ardoin, a Creole accordion master who teamed with Cajun fiddler Dennis McGee in the 1920s and '30s. Ardoin and McGee tunes, such as the Eunice Two Step, Opelousas Waltz and Midland Two-Step, are still being recorded by musicians today.

Bois Sec Ardoin and his late wife, Marscline, had 14 children, including Morris, Lawrence and the late Gustave Ardoin, who recorded as the Ardoin Brothers in the 1970s.

Morris's son, Dexter, continues to record and play Creole music. In the 1990s, Lawrence's sons Chris and Sean formed the popular Double Clutchin' Zydeco Band. Sean started his own band, Zydekool, in 1999 and Chris continued the Double Clutchin' name.

In 2006, Chris started his NuStep band, which remains a top attraction on the zydeco circuit.

In 1986, Alphonse Arodoin was presented with the National Heritage Fellowship of the Folk Arts Program of the National Endowment of the Arts.

Full Name: Alphonse "Bois Sec" Ardoin

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Ardoin, Alphonse appears in
  Cajun Country
Dry Wood
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