Innovators, renegades, survivors! The Zydepunks have grown from underground heroes into one of New Orleans’ most talked about bands. Yiddish riddles, Irish ballads, Cajun punk, and vocals in six languages astound and enrapture audiences. Wild folk dances fronted by accordion and fiddle and backed by relentless drums and bass make for a bedazzling backdrop to the high-energy folk-punk dance craze that is a Zydepunks show.
The band began with a simple idea – to combine the Cajun/Zydeco they loved with punk rock they grew up with. Soon it became impossible to resist adding other influences to their repertoire, and they quickly took the New Orleans music scene by storm with their amped-up versions of Celtic, Slavic, and Louisiana folk music.
The band was only together for a year when Hurricane Katrina plowed through their homes and left the city, the music scene, and the band in a desperate state. In the wake of Katrina new songs were added including “Song For Mike” and “Long Story Short”, both dedicated to friend and fellow musician Michael Frey whose murder marked for many the dark return of violent crime to the city. Tracks written by drummer Joseph Lilly break the folk boundaries and push the band out of the realm of traditional folk or punk and into an entirely new sound. A short two months after the devastating hurricane the Zydepunks had the privilege to play Halloween night at the legendary Café Brazil on Frenchmen Street. A full crowd of revelers dancing the night away and the National Guard standing outside at full attention made for a magical return to New Orleans.
With all of the Zydepunks’ music produced locally, the list of musicians featured on their various albums include a who’s who of the Louisiana music scene: bassist Alan LaFleur (from the Grammy-nominated Lost Bayou Ramblers), cellist Helen Gillet, violinist Matt Rhody (New Orleans Jazz Vipers/Hot Club of New Orleans), guitarist Stix duh Clown (My Graveyard Jaw), singer Meschiya Lake, violinist Frank Scully, and cellist Aubrey Freeman (Why Are We Building Such a Big Ship, Hurray for the Riff Raff). Their strong New Orleans roots give them the electrified and diverse energy fans from around the world have come to crave. Opening for Balkan Beat Box, Flogging Molly, Hold Steady, New Model Army, just to name a few, have taken this world/punk band touring around the world. In recent years the Zydepunks have played the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (New Orleans), Voodoo Fest (New Orleans), Dranouter (Belgium), Aymon Folk (France), Musikfest (Pennsylvania), Tropical Heatwave (Florida) and many others.
The Zydepunks are:
Denise Bonis: violin, vocals
Eve: accordion, melodica, vocals
Juan Küffner: accordion, fiddle, lead vocals
Joseph Lilly: drums, vocals
Scott Potts: bass, vocals