Andre Thierry is a Grammy-nominated (2012 Best Regional Roots Music Album)Zydeco musician. He leads the band Zydeco Magic.
Andre was born in Richmond, California on July 9, 1979, to Olivia "Tee" Guillory originally from Basile, Louisiana and Gregory Thierry, originally from Jennings, Louisiana. Andre's childhood was deeply influenced by his maternal grandparents, the late Houston Pete Pitre (Pa-Pa as they called him) from Basile, Louisiana and his grandmother, known by many as Mama Lena Pitre, from Soileau, Louisiana.
In America, great migrations produce great music. Just as Delta musicians took Highway 61 to Chicago and electrified their blues, so did the Creoles and Cajuns migrate to California and establish vital dance communities. Now the California scenes rival anything back home in Louisiana, and that's due to players like Andre Thierry, a standard bearer for the new generation. Thierry is among the best of both the West Coast and the Gulf Coast, and he combines youthful vigor with a mature appreciation for his inherited tradition.
Thierry grew up experiencing the French Creole (La-La) dances his grandparents held at their church parish, St. Mark's Catholic Church. The best Zydeco musicians Louisiana had to offer traveled to California to play at the dances and spent considerable time at the Pitre's house while in the area. On one such visit, the "King of Zydeco," Clifton Chenier, grabbed three-year old Andre by the arms and deemed him a future accordion player. From then on, Andre's father encouraged the young Andre to play the accordion.
Captivated by Chenier, Andre began teaching himself to play by listening to Clifton's music. Andre demonstrated an innate musical ability and his skill quickly grew. Andre played his first song, Willis Prudhomme's version of "Give'm Cornbread" in the backyard of his grandparent's home. He soon began playing Chenier's music on stages all over Northern California.
His grandparents continued to host Louisiana musicians and this exposure to his heritage allowed him to develop his love for, and mastery of, traditional French Creole music. By age twelve, with the help of his mother, Andre formed his own band, "Zydeco Magic." Andre's repertoire grew as he was regularly invited to play with numerous visiting bands, such as the late John Delafose, his son, Geno Delafose, and many local Zydeco and Cajun bands, including the late Danny Poullard (California Cajun Orchestra).
Thierry is a virtuoso on the accordion. Although Andre's instrument of choice is the accordion he also displays talent on bass guitar, rhythm guitar and drums. He sings traditional songs in original Creole French and his voice has been characterized as rich and soulful.