Louisiana is the birthplace of Cajun and zydeco music, swamp pop and of course — jazz. These sounds are so distinctive that, when you hear a song from the Bayou State, there’s a decent chance you’ll recognize it almost immediately. You can bring a little bit of Louisiana into your home, car, earbuds or wherever you like via streaming services.
Don’t know how or where to get started, or which artists to check out? We can help with that!
Listen to Louisiana Online
Sure, many Louisiana radio stations play the same Top 40 hits you’ll hear anywhere else, but to get a real feel for what the Bayou State sounds like, check out a couple of the most popular locally run public radio stations streaming online.
KRVS is a Lafayette-based public radio station that focuses on indigenous Louisiana music, supporting south Louisiana’s Creole and Cajun communities. Lafayette is frequently called the Capital of Cajun Country, and KRVS leans into the region’s rich history. Legendary zydeco and Cajun artists you might hear when you tune into KRVS include Buckwheat Zydeco, Michael Doucet, Sonny Landreth, Red Stick Ramblers, Terrance Simien and Marcia Ball. Find the station at KRVS.org.
In New Orleans, WWOZ is the primary source for homegrown Louisiana music. Tune in any time of day, and you’re likely to hear deep cuts by any number of the city’s brass bands, or hits by Fats Domino, Dr. John, Lee Dorsey, Kermit Ruffins, Irma Thomas and James Booker. Though heavily New Orleans-focused, the Sunday morning Cajun and zydeco show spotlights the music of south Louisiana. Listen now at wwoz.org.
Louisiana Spotify and Apple Music Playlists
Spotify and Apple Music are by far the world’s most popular music streaming services. Thanks to the wealth of users making playlists based on particular genres and geography, you can hear highly curated mixes that feature Louisiana music and musicians. Visit Spotify or Apple Music, type “Louisiana” in the search bar and discover new playlists today.
Also check out LouisianaTravel.com’s Louisiana Soundtrack site. There, you’ll find a collection of Spotify playlists broken down by genre. Jazz, blues, country and zydeco are the highlights here, and the number of artists you’ll hear offer a great introduction to what Louisiana music is all about.
Louisiana’s GRAMMY® Award Winners
Louisiana has a long list of Grammy nominees and award winners! Begin your musical journey with Louisiana’s GRAMMY® Lifetime Achievement Award winners The Meters. This group pretty much wrote the book on New Orleans-style funk in the 1970s, both as a backing band for many artists produced by fellow New Orleans GRAMMY® Award winner Allen Touissant, and as recording artists themselves.
The Meters won the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018, but they’re not the only ones who’ve been bestowed the honor in recent years. 2015 winner Buddy Guy, whom music encyclopedia AllMusic.com called “contender for the title of greatest blues guitarist ever,” may be synonymous with Chicago blues, but aficionados of the genre know he was born in the central Louisiana town of Lettsworth.
Final Lifetime Achievement Award winner of note is Clifton Chenier. Dubbed the King of Zydeco, the Opelousas native defined the sound of the genre over a 40-year career. He first came to fame in 1955, covering a song by Bogalusa native Professor Longhair, “Ay Tete Fille (Hey, Little Girl).” His reputation as the ambassador of Louisiana zydeco only grew from there, and Chenier continued playing until just days before he passed in 1987.
These Louisiana legends are representative of the state’s musical backbone. But there are many current GRAMMY® Award-winning artists producing new sounds today. 2020 award winners include New Orleans native PJ Morton (winner of Best R&B Song for “Say So”) and fellow New Orleanian DJ Khaled (who won the Best Rap/Sung Performance award for “Higher”). The nominees definitely deserve a listen as well. Among many other Louisiana nominees, check out songs by New Orleans R&B group Tank & the Bangas (nominated for Best New Artist), Rebirth Brass Band (nominated for Best Regional Roots Music Album) and the Branford Marsalis Quartet (nominated for Best Jazz Instrumental).
Want to dive a little deeper into Louisiana’s GRAMMY® history? Look to 2019, when Lafayette native Lauren Daigle won awards for Best Contemporary Music Performance/Song and Best Contemporary Christian Music Album. Lifetime achiever Buddy Guy won the award for Best Traditional Blues Album, and fellow repeat winner PJ Morton won for Best Traditional R&B Performance. Learn more about Louisiana's Grammy-award winning artists.
Learn more about Louisiana's music scene.