Cultural activist, environmentalist poet and singer-songwriter Zachary Richard’s roots are deeply planted in his native Louisiana. Inspired by the various styles of the region, his song s go beyond the limitations of any particular genre. Zachary’s style is uniquely his own.
Le Fou is Zachary’s 20th album. Going back to his roots, this album is steeped in the sounds and rhythms of Louisana. The texture is acoustic folk. The songs simple yet rich in emotion. The themes of resistance (Laisse le vent souffler - Let the storm wind blow), of separation (La chanson des migrateurs - The migrant’s song) and of identity (Orignal ou caribou - Moose or caribou) are still present in Zachary’s work, but this album has a unique Louisiana flavor as only Zachary Richard can prepare. Clif’s Zydeco, Sweet Sweet, Crevasse Crevasse, Bee de la manche pay tribute to the culture of Zachary’s bayou home. The title song (Le Fou - The Crazy) was inspired by the Deepwater Horizon spill of 2010. The first bird to be captured and cleaned in April of that year was a northern gannet, whose name in French is “Fou de Bassan” (Crazy from Bassan). The folly of which the song speaks is the folly of mankind in destroying the natural environment. It’s enough to make you crazy.
Zachary received his first recording contract at the age of 21. He was the last artist to sign with Electra records before the creation of WEA. That album, High Time, was lost in the maelstrom surrounding the merger and was not released until 2000 when the original masters were found in a vault in New York City and made available on Rhino Hand Made.
It was during his early days in New Yorek that Zachary made a discovery that would influence his art and effect the rest of his life. With the advance money from the record company, he purchased a Cajun accordion. From that moment on, he was swept up by the French language culture of Louisiana. Delving into the Cajun tradition, Zachary formed the first new generation Cajun/Rock band. It would be years, however, before Cajun music became popular outside of rural Louisiana. In the meantime, Zachary career led him to Canada and France.
From 1976 until 1981, Zachary lived in Montreal, recording seven albums (including two « gold » albums) which melded his Cajun roots with modern folk-rock. These albums are the seminal Cajun recordings of the post modern period: Bayou des Mystères, Mardi Gras, Migration, Allons Danser, Live in Montreal, Vent d’Été and Zack Attack. In 2007, these albums were digitally remastered from the original analog masters and re-released
In the mid1980s, Zachary returned to Louisiana andbegan another phase of his career, recording in English. After two albums for Rounder Records, Mardi Gras Mambo, and the perennial favorite Zack’s Bon Ton, Zachary signed with A&M, recording two albums, Women in the Room and Snake Bite Love. Non-stop touring and the strength of these recordings guaranteed Zachary an international following.
In 1994, Zachary appeared at the Congrès Mondial Acadien (Acadian World Congress), in New Brunswick, his first Canadian appearance in over six years. That experience affected him deeply. Returning to French, Zachary recorded his most successful album to date, the double platinum Cap Enragé . He had swung full circle establishing himself as a prominent singer-songwriter in both Canada and France. A follow up to Cap Enragé, Coeur Fidèle (Faithful Heart) was released in 2000.
Zachary Richard is a poet as well as a songwriter. His second collection of French language poetry, Faire Récolte (Make Harvest) (Perce Neige, Moncton, 1998) received the Prix Champlain, in recognition of his « considerable contribution » to the French language literature of North America. In his latest collection of poetry, Feu (Fire) ( Les Intouchables, Montreal, 1999) Zachary plunges deeper into the question of francophone identity.
Beyond his artistic endeavors, Zachary Richard is committed defender of the native French language of Louisiana. He is a founding member of Action Cadienne an organization dedicated to the promotion of the Cajun language and culture. He narrated, scored and produced Against the Tide, the definitve history of the Cajun-Acadien people of Louisiana and winner of the Best Historical Documentary in 2000 (National Educational Television Authority)
Zachary Richard is committed to the defense of the natural environment and the coast of Louisiana. Following the hurricanes of 2005 (Katrina & Rita), Zachary was deeply involved in the relief efforts. Following the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe of 2010, Zachary Richard founded Gulf Aid Acadiana in order to come to the defence of the coastal communities of Louisiana impacted by the oil spill.
Zachary Richard lives in a pecan grove in South Louisiana.