Fernest Arceneaux

Fernest Arceneaux has gained a reputation as one of south Louisiana's favourite Zydeco and blues artist. His acclaimed button accordion style, reminiscent of the late Clifton's Chenier's piano accordion, coupled with a distinctive, deep feel vocal, delivers some of the swampiest, soulfullest zydeco coming out of the region. Born august 27, 1940 to a rural farming family, way back on the bayou in tiny Carencro, Louisiana, John 'Fernest' Arcenaux grew up surrounded by his native American and Creole heritage, as well as the ever present vintage new Orleans R&B and southern Rock'n'Roll of the period via the airwaves.

At the age of six he took up accordion and was playing with musicians relatives at community "La Las". Following the untimely passing of his mother in 1952, young Fernest began performing professionally at dances in and around the Lafayette area, leading his rock 'n' roll band on guitar early on.

He later switched to accordion and the exciting new "zydeco" sound his mentor (and creator of the genre), Chenier, was putting down. In 1977 Clifton took Fernest under his wing, pointing his European promoter in the protégé's direction. That act of royal good-will would pave the way for an extensive Arceneaux overseas touring and recording career that was to last the better part of the two decades.

Clifton later predicted, a few days before his death, that Fernest would one day be wearing the Zydeco crown. No wonder he is sometimes referred to as the "Last of the Mohicans", or, in other words, the last of the first generation of Zydeco artists performing today.

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