The Arhoolie Foundation has teamed up with Little Village Foundation to produce “Working From Home,” a video series of mini house concerts recorded live by traditional musicians trying to make it through the current public health crisis doing what they do best. Please join us in supporting these working musicians by donating directly to them through the links provided. We will match the first $500 in donations to each.

This week we present C.J. Chenier, coming to you straight from his backyard with a short set of zydeco and blues. Behind him are some personal mementos and a photo of his famous father: the late Clifton Chenier, undisputed King of Zydeco. The accordion C.J is playing belonged to his dad, who called it Black Gal. Clifton gave it to C.J. It doesn’t leave the house often, if ever, so it’s a rare treat to see it in good shape after all these years and coming to life again in C.J.’s able hands.

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Donate directly to CJ Chenier:
(Together, AF & LVF will match the first $500 donated)

C.J. Chenier is a GRAMMY-nominated zydeco and blues musician and recording artist. Son of the late Clifton Chenier, C.J.’s Louisiana Creole and zydeco roots run deep. When he was 21 years old, his father called him to join his Red Hot Louisiana Band on the road. C.J. grabbed his saxophone, met the band in nearby Bridge City, and never looked back. Over time he learned accordion by watching and listening to Clifton up close, and in the months after his father’s death, Arhoolie Records released his first album as a leader. Let Me In Your Heart featured CJ out in front of the Red Hot Louisiana Band, playing the accordion left to him by his father. 

Today, C.J. can look back on a distinguished career of his own. For over thirty years he’s kept his zydeco roots alive and some form of the Red Hots on the road delighting audiences here and abroad. He has recorded and toured with Paul Simon (Rhythm of the Saints), appeared on national television (Daily Show, CNN, VH1), played many of the biggest festivals (New Orleans Jazz & Heritage, Chicago Blues, SXSW), and won his share of awards along the way. Like so many working musicians right now, he can’t wait to get back out in front of live audiences. “I’m not happy at all about not being able to come out there and make everybody happy,” he tells us in his WFH video. “I miss everybody and I’m really ready to perform.”  

Learn more about C.J. Chenier at:

Statement on the passing of Chris Strachwitz

Arhoolie Records Founder
July 1, 1931 – May 5, 2023

We celebrate the life of our founder, friend, and great record man Chris Strachwitz. He died peacefully at home in Marin County, CA, surrounded in his last days by dear friends and family. Over his 91 years, Chris captured the music that represents the best “down home music” the world has to offer.

He was at the forefront of nearly all the roots revivals over the last 60 years including blues, zydeco, Cajun, Norteño and Tejano music. His drive to document traditional music helped introduce the nation to our diverse musical heritage. He had the foresight to save music that might have otherwise been lost to obscurity and played a role in strengthening cultural traditions through his records, films, and most recently the Arhoolie Foundation. He cared for those around him, fought for royalties and recognition for Arhoolie artists, and provided counsel to countless musicians, writers, film makers, and academics.

Plans for a public celebration of his life will be announced in the coming weeks. Today we’re thinking of all that Chris brought to our lives and the lives of the musicians and fans with whom he shared his passion.