Cedric Watson will be performing in Harmony next Tuesday at the JEM Theater.
Cedric Watson will be performing in Harmony next Tuesday at the JEM Theater.
If one didn't get to go down to New Orleans to see the Super Bowl or Mardi Gras, don't fret as area residents will still have an opportunity to feel a part of the festive atmosphere when four-time Grammy nominated singer and songwriter Cedric Watson pays a visit to the JEM Theatre for a free mini-concert on Tuesday, Feb. 26, at 7 p.m.

Watson, who records with his band called Bijou Creole, is a multi-talented instrumentalist who has been sponsored through a grant from the Southeast Minnesota Arts Council through an appropriation from the Minnesota State Legislature and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The concert is part of the annual mini-concert series put on through the Harmony Public Library, which has been bringing local artists in for the past 10 years.

"I feel it's a great privilege for the Harmony Public Library," shared librarian Stephanie Silvers. "His music is wonderful; very lively and upbeat."

Watson and Bijou Creole perform Cajun, Creole and Zydeco music. Cajun music is a blend of French, Irish, German, Latin and Appalachian styles, and typically uses fiddles, accordions and other stringed instruments. If one has ever been down to Louisiana in the Deep South, this is the kind of music that is prevalent.

Zydeco music is much like Cajun music, but blends in other elements with a heavy French influence. The washboard instrument is often used for percussion.

In Watson's visit to Harmony, he will be bringing Bijou Creole's washboard player Desiree Champagne to demonstrate its contribution to the music.

According to Watson's website, he first started performing professionally when he was 19 in Houston, Texas. His fascination with French culture and language led him to move to south Louisiana where he moved around from band to band before starting his own group, Bijou Creole.

In a video describing his musical journey, Watson shared that he was mostly raised by his grandmother who gave him a guitar when he was younger. Watson wanted to play the fiddle, but wasn't obliged by his grandmother until he had learned the guitar.

Watson doesn't just perform music, he gets to know it on a personal level. All his music draws upon elements of his ancestry, which includes African, French, Native American and Spanish. He has traveled the world to share his unique blend of zydeco, cajun and creole music.

The concert is also being sponsored in part by the City of Rochester Music Department/Riverside Concerts. The mini-concert is a preview of the full concert Watson and the entire ensemble of Bijou Creole will be performing at the Mayo Civic Center Exhibition Hall on Saturday, March 2.

Information on concert seating and tickets can be found at www.riversideconcerts.com. Those attending the Harmony concert will receive a discount on the full concert.