Idyllwild is a dancing town. The weather has been blistering hot. How fitting then that Lisa Haley and The Zydekats open the 16th season of the Idyllwild Summer Concert Series with heat lightning and thunder rumbles of joyous musical contagion.
Starting at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 2, Haley and her Kats launch into their infectious brand of Cajun and Zydeco music that, unless resisted, can send listeners into ecstatic thralls. If you haven’t had a Zydeco-generated ecstatic thrall, and you’re open to the possibility, you will. Haley and the Zydekats create musical heat, humidity and a steamy environment that makes sitting still very difficult. Their brand of dance contagion is called Zydecosis — the beat intensifies, the pulse grows and drives listeners to the dance floor where they experience, you guessed it, ecstatic thrall.
Zydeco was originally created at house dances in Louisiana where families and friends gathered for socializing. Zydeco integrated many musical influences as it developed in the early part of the 20th century — waltz, shuffles, two-step, blues, rock and roll, and gospel — with the common denominator being hard-to-resist rhythmical intensity. Haley’s Zydeco celebrates the power of family songs and stories, and embraces both the French and Irish-Celtic heritages that imbue Louisiana musical tradition.
Long a favorite of Idyllwild audiences, Grammy-nominated Haley returns with Cameron “Cam” Tyler on drums, percussion and vocals, David Fraser on accordion, keyboards and harmonica, and longtime Kat, Andy Anders on electric bass and vocals.
“We’re going to have a great time,” said Haley. She noted her newest album is her third to be charted on Billboard.
Opening for Haley is local Idyllwild favorite Swift Pony, featuring Wayne Cameron and Lily McCabe. They start at 6 p.m. and Haley and the Zydekats take the stage at 7.
As they do each year, Ken Dahleen and his ISCS board begin the season without enough money to fully fund it. With acts new to the Hill, two big bands and a great mix of musical genres, Dahleen and company have jam packed this season with an exciting mix of diverse musical fare. As a result, the budget is also greater than it has been in the past. This year, Dahleen and board will need to raise $31,200 to fund the series. Currently on hand, including some money carried over from last season, is $8,450. Donors may contact Dahleen at 951-659-2229.
For more information about the season, visit www.idyllwildsummerconcerts.com.