Creole Cowboys

Tabitha Denholm Shines a Light on Louisiana’s R&B-Infused Zydeco Trail-Riding Culture

“I loved the idea of going to massive parties on horseback,” says British director Tabitha Denholm of filming the Louisiana trail-riding scene. “Its word-of-mouth element reminded me of the early-90s raves in the UK—it is huge, but it’s outside of the mainstream media. You find out about events from flyers or from your mates.” Filmed in rural areas outside Lafayette over four days that included a raucous Labor Day weekender, Denholm’s short captures the fundamental relationship between horses and zydeco music and Louisiana’s Creole population. While Cajun grew from the white tradition in Southern Louisiana, zydeco evolved as a faster, more rhythm-driven incarnation of Creole or ‘la la’ music as it used to be called. Trail riding combines both riding and dancing elements, as groups of young and old set out through the countryside until they reach a designated party spot. Zydeco has always absorbed other types of music, and the scene has been reinvigorated by the influence of hip-hop and R&B. As loops and breaks have bolstered the traditional accordion and washboard, so a new audience has saddled up to find the party. “In New Orleans they told me, ‘The real action is in the countryside,’” says Denholm. “And it’s true. These dudes are so proud of their horses. They customize them, paint their hooves, plait their hair. They're like mods with their scooters.”

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  • imjabr
    I am from New Zealand and this was so special, the subject, the content and those boys ride horses like gypsy boys . Love it and want go there now. Beautiful
    • Posted By imjabr
    • December 12, 2013 at 8:28PM
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  • MOST SHARED IN CULTURE
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    Candor: The Art of Gesticulation

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    I thought about the site daily. Please Don’t Break Up felt like a lost bit of wisdom in our world—so simple. The phrase played itself over and over, like a beautiful song in my head. I was moved by the idea of someone being invested in the fate of another person’s relationship—the relationship of strangers, even. The idea that people should be together simply because they already were together felt hilarious, obvious and profound. I saw it for the first time: Commitment wasn’t merely important to love, it made it love. 

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