Cajun/Zydeco Grammy killed

by Walter Pierce

It's back to duking it out with the polka guys.

It's back to duking it out with the polka guys. The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences - the folks behind the Grammy Awards - announced today that it is paring down the number of categories in which it awards prizes from 109 to 108, and one of the victims of that downsizing is the Best Zydeco or Cajun Album.

The Cajun/zydeco category has been in place for four years following several years of lobbying by Acadiana musicians, notably zydeco band leader Terrance Simien, who took home the first award in 2008.. The most recent winner, in 2011, was zydeco musician Chubby Carrier. NARAS is moving Louisiana's indigenous music back into a broader category - Best Regional Roots Music Album - in which Cajun and zydeco bands will compete against Hawaiian, native American and polka music. This is essentially a return to how Cajun and zydeco music were categorized in years past. Only Beausoleil has taken home a gramophone trophy when Louisiana roots music was competing against Tejano, polka and the like.

The Grammys require a genre to release 40 albums per year in order to have its own category, a rare feat for Cajun and zydeco music.