Entertainment Highlights: ‘Zydeco Sweetheart’ Will Make Them Dance in Plainfield Saturday
From the time she was first turned on to zydeco music as a teenager in Louisiana, Rosie Ledet has fought hard for the title of “Zydeco Sweetheart,” acting as an ambassador for the music of Cajun country and filling dance halls from the Deep South to the coasts with her fast-paced accordion playing and saucy lyrics. She’s received top billing at the annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and made a cameo with her band, the Zydeco Playboys, on the New Orleans-set HBO drama Treme.
Ledet will likely win over local listeners Saturday night in a show at Plainfield Town Hall at 8 p.m., the first of a three-concert series at the town hall organized by longtime concert promoter Thom Wolke of Twin Cloud Concerts. She aims to get the audience on their feet and leave them enchanted by zydeco, just as she was when she first heard it.
“I hope that the ones who never heard zydeco before get an appreciation for it and say, You’ve got some pretty good stuff down home,” Ledet said in a phone interview this week. “We travel a lot, all over the world, and we just hope we can bring a little bit of Louisiana and the sounds we have down home.”
Originating among the Creole people of southwestern Louisiana, zydeco music reflects the cultural melting pot of that region, with European and Afro-Caribbean influences. It remains a vibrant tradition into the 21st century, often sung in Creole French.
Ledet is one of the few female artists to have emerged on the zydeco scene. After two decades performing, she said she’s witnessed subtle changes in the music that are winning over young people who are more drawn to hip-hop and R&B.
“We’ve got to get new blood in, because zydeco is not a major genre as they say, and you have to try to keep it alive through whatever means you can,” she said. “Now some of those older musicians, they don’t really like it. They’re like, Oh that’s not zydeco anymore. Hey, you gotta do what (you can) to keep it alive.”
The common thread running through the history of zydeco is its danceability. But even if you don’t know how to Cajun two-step, Ledet stressed that “it’s OK if you don’t dance,” she said, “because I’m not a dancer myself.”
Rosie Ledet and the Zydeco Playboys perform at the Plainfield Town Hall at 8 p.m. Saturday ($25). A Louisiana-style dinner with gumbo and jambalaya will be served at 6 p.m. and are separate from the ticket price. Upcoming concerts at Plainfield Town Hall include a family show with Tom Chapin (March 24) and bluesman Guy Davis (April 27).
∎ Playwright David Ives’ modern adaptation of Pierre Corneille’s 17th-century play The Liar will be performed by the Dartmouth Theater Department at 8 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday in the Hopkins Center’s Moore Theater. The Liar tells the story of a young man with a penchant for tall tales whose bad habit catches up with him when he meets the woman of his dreams. Dartmouth’s production of The Liar also has music from Joel Mercier, musical director at the New London Barn Playhouse, and choreography from Dartmouth alumnus Josh Feder ($15-$19).
∎ Also at the Hopkins Center this weekend is a performance by the Dartmouth Glee Club of Leonard Bernstein’s opera Candide, which takes a satirical approach to Voltaire’s novella about a naïve young man who learns about the miseries of human existence. Directed by Louis Burkot, with Dartmouth alum Amber Dewey in the role of Cundgonde, Candide will be performed at 8 p.m. tomorrow and Friday in Spaulding Auditorium ($18-$22).
∎ The eight plays that are part of this year’s Parish Players’ Ten-Minute Play Festival manage to tell complex stories, from two insects waking up after a 17-year hibernation to a hostage situation, in a short span of time. This is the closing weekend of the festival, which takes place in the Eclipse Grange Theater in Thetford, with performances at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday and at 3 p.m. Sunday. The festival’s reputation has grown in recent years, with the Players receiving anywhere from 80 to 200 short play submissions annually ($10-$15).
∎ The pop-punk group Dudestew plays a gig with Moxley Union at the Main Street Museum at 8 p.m. Saturday ($5-$10).
∎ The experiences of Aboriginal Australians are explored in the songs of the Black Arm Band, whose members will sing about their homeland in “dirtsong,” a show at the Hopkins Center’s Spaulding Auditorium at 7 p.m. Wednesday ($15).
The Vermont folk duo Mayfly, featuring Katie Trautz and Julia Wayne, perform traditional and contemporary American folk music, as well as some of their own compositions, at Chandler Music Hall in Randolph at 7:30 p.m. Saturday ($13, advance; $16, day of show).
∎ A winner of Musician magazine’s “Best Unsigned Band” contest, Tom Pirozzoli performs tomorrow night at the Sunapee Community Coffeehouse, starting at 7 in the basement of the Sunapee Methodist Church.
∎ One of the hardest-working musicians in New England, folk singer Cheryl Wheeler travels to the Upper Valley for a show at Tupelo Music Hall in White River Junction at 7 p.m. Sunday. A much sought-after songwriter, Wheeler’s songs have been covered by everyone from Kenny Loggins to Bette Midler to Garth Brooks ($30).
The third Friday contradance at the Little Theater in Woodstock with caller Ricky Holt and music from the Old Sam Peabody Band takes place tomorrow evening. Dinner starts at 5:30, followed by a family dance at 6 and the main contradance at 8 ($8, free for children 18 and younger).
Vermont Comedy Club founder Nate Hartswick joins Boston-area humorist Mike Donovan and up-and-coming comedian Kit Rivers for a night of comedy at Tupelo Music Hall tomorrow at 8 p.m. ($17).
The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde’s comedy about the dual identities of two Victorian men, gets the Northern Stage treatment this month in a production directed by New London Barn Playhouse Artistic Director Carol Dunne and starring Catherine Doherty, Northern Stage’s longtime producing director, as Lady Bracknell. The show will be performed today at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m.; tomorrow, Saturday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.; and at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Briggs Opera House in White River Junction. Visit www.northernstage.org for more information.
Bar and Club Circuit
Joey Leone performs at Firestones Restaurant in Quechee tonight at 8.
∎ Jason Cann plays shows at Harpoon Brewery in Windsor at 6 tonight and at Shepard’s Pie Restaurant on Route 4 in Quechee at 7 p.m. Saturday.
∎ The Albany, N.Y. power-pop duo Sirsy makes a return appearance to Salt hill Pub in Lebanon tomorrow at 9 p.m. The pub also hosts singer-songwriter Dan Walker from Portsmouth at 9 p.m. Saturday, and as always, a live traditional Irish music session takes place at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
∎ Sean Wyatt performs unplugged versions of new classics from the ‘90s at Salt hill Pub in Newport tonight at 8. The Celtic punk-rock group The Gobshites play the pub at 9 p.m. tomorrow.
∎ Sensible Shoes will get the crowd dancing at a post-Valentine’s Day show at Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland at 9 p.m. tomorrow. Saturday, the Sensible Shoes duo of Barbara Blaisdell and Tim Utt perform at Canoe Club in Hanover at 7 p.m.
∎ Enfield singer-songwriter Brooks Hubbard has gigs tonight at 6 at Bistro Nouveau in Grantham and at 9 p.m. Saturday at Salt hill Pub in Newport.
∎ Funk, soul and R&B are the specialty of MoCombo, which plays Salt hill Pub in Hanover at 9 p.m. tomorrow. On Saturday, Dixie Dee and the Diamonds play blues, soul and rock music at the pub starting at 9 p.m.
∎ Carlos Ocasio of Frydaddy performs for diners at Jesse’s Restaurant in Hanover at 6 p.m. tomorrow.
∎ Seven Barrel Brewery in West Lebanon has the band Don’t Tell Mutha at 9 p.m. tomorrow.
∎ Canoe Club in Hanover has music from classical guitarist Jairo Sequeira tonight, folk singer Cormac McCarthy tomorrow, folk pianist Jonathan Kaplan on Tuesday and pianist Keith Bush on Wednesday.
Open Mics, Jams
Jim Yeager hosts an open mic tonight at Artistree Community Arts Center in Woodstock, starting at 7.
∎ A new acoustic music showcase hosted by Dave Clark of JukeJoynt takes place Sunday nights from 8 to 10 at Canoe Club in Hanover.
∎ Bentley’s Restaurant in Woodstock has an open mic led by Brian Warren on Monday nights.
∎ Chad Gibbs hosts the Monday night open mic at Salt hill Pub in Hanover, starting at 7:30.
∎ Shepard’s Pie Restaurant on Route 4 in Quechee is the site of a Tuesday night open mic, starting at 6.
∎ The Colatina Exit in Bradford has an open mic on Tuesdays at 8 p.m.
∎ There’s an open jam every Tuesday night from 7 to 9 at Tuck’s Rock Dojo in Etna.
∎ Wednesday night is open mic night at Skunk Hollow Tavern. It’s led by Gregory Brown and starts at 8:30.
∎ Anthony Furnari hosts an open mic at Seven Barrel Brewery in West Lebanon at 8 p.m. Wednesday.
Entertainment Highlights appears each Thursday. Email news of upcoming events to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A meal of Louisiana gumbo and jambalaya are separate from the ticket prices for the Rosie Ledet show at Plainfield Town Hall tomorrow night. A mention of the meal in an earlier version of this column incorrectly stated otherwise.