Nathan Williams plays zydeco, the fast and furious accordion-driven dance music of the Creole people of South Louisiana, a relatively modern style that emerged after the Second World War. With its trademark rubboard percussion, electric guitars and R&B influences, zydeco is distinct from the fiddle-driven music of neighboring Cajuns. Growing up in a Creole-speaking home in St. Martinville, Nathan eagerly sought out the music of zydeco originators such as Clifton Chenier. When he was too young to actually attend a Clifton Chenier dance, he hovered by the window-sized fan at the back of the building to hear his idol, only to have the bill of his baseball cap clipped off by the fan when he leaned too close. Later, while recovering from a serious illness, Nathan decided to dedicate himself to learning the accordion. That dedication blossomed into an illustrious career, encompassing seven albums and spanning close to two decades.
The music of Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas is the expression of a remarkable South Louisiana family. 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 here is uplifting, new music that remains connected to its place in history. If you haven't heard what's happening in zydeco lately, here's your chance!