Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

On the Cover Queen Ida

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

On the Cover Queen Ida

Article excerpt

THE former Ida Guillory was well into her 40s when she traded in her school bus driver's uniform for the cloak of zydeco royalty. Now, almost two decades and several awards later, "Queen Ida" is at the zenith of her popularity, playing to standing-room only crowds and winning accolades all over the place.

Her performance is so exhilarating, so full of joie de vivre ("my basic personality") that when she and her zydeco band really get rolling, they provide their audiences with a musical gumbo, filled with a curious blend of polka, blues, country, salsa and jazz. Whatever its label, the music is repeatedly described as one of the most infectious sounds in memory.

"I thought of retiring about three years ago," she said, referring to her energy-sapping performances in a recent phone interview. "We were doing up to 200 gigs at a time, and the twinges in my back were becoming too much. …

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