Lafayette

Dec 12, 2013 11:53 PM by Erin Steuber

Clifton Chenier Receiving Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award

A Louisiana music legend is receiving a huge honor from the Grammy's. The King of Zydeco himself, Clifton Chenier, will be recognized at the awards in February for his lifetime of achievement. The Opelousas native began his career in the 50's and, even after his passing, has continued inspiring artists across south Louisiana. Now, a little golden gramophone will solidify the accordion master's place in music history.

It's a Zydeco legacy that has been carried on 26 years after Clifton Chenier's death by his son CJ.

"It's been a love affair with me and the music all these years. I don't want people to forget it. I don't want people to forget Clifton Chenier and the style of music he played," said CJ Chenier.

During an interview from the 1970's Clifton Chenier explained how his father inspired him.

"If you want to be something, be something. If you're going to be nothing, be nothing. But if you learn to play that accordion, I want you to do something. Let nobody beat you," said Chenier.

That's exactly what he did. Becoming known as the King of Zydeco. In 1983, Clifton became the second ever creole artist to win a Grammy. But he always remembered his Louisiana roots taking artists, like Grammy Award winner Buckwheat Zydeco, under his wing.

"If it wouldn't have been for Chenier, I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing. He's a very big inspiration to this culture in southwest Louisiana. He paved the way for myself and people that came after him," said Buckwheat Zydeco.

Clifton Chenier traveled the world, making Zydeco music appreciated internationally. In February, during Grammy week, the music world will show it's ultimate appreciation for the Zydeco King.

"Daddy, you did it. The hog as arrived. They know who you are for sure now," said CJ.

The Lifetime Achievement Award honors performers who have made significant artistic contributions to the field of recording. This year Clifton Chenier is among seven recipients including Kris Kristofferson and the Beatles.

 

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