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Zydeco accordionist and vocalist Ann Goodly was born in 1971 in Lake Charles, Louisiana, where she still lives. She describes herself as a self-taught musician and has been performing for many years. She has traveled the world sharing her love of zydeco.
The daughter of Davis and Mildred Goodly, she learned to play the accordion at the age of nine when her father brought an accordion home. She had never seen an accordion before and found it fascinating. She taught herself to play by listening to recordings. "I sat down every day and listened to zydeco records over and over again. I practiced and practiced. It took me a little while, but once I caught on, I didn't stop," she said.
With her band, she has performed at festivals and clubs throughout Louisiana and the United States; including Plaisance Zydeco Festival, the New Orleans Heritage and Jazz Festival, Natchitoches/NSU Folk Festival, the Jambalaya Jam in Philadelphia, the Louisiana Folklife Festival, and events in Tennessee, California, and Arkansas. The band has also had a successful European tour, performing in Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and France. Audiences were so enthusiastic that they sometimes threw tables over and broke bottles of wine "screaming at the top of the lungs wanting more."
She has a recording called "Miss Ann Goodly and the Zydeco Brothers." She says that her playing "come[s] from the heart ... you have to have something in you to play this kind of music. You can't take lessons."
As the mother of a young daughter, Mildred Rachel, and as a born-again Christian, Ann Goodly does not perform publicly as frequently as she once did. She no longer has her own band, but still loves the music and often accepts invitations to play with other bands.
Updated January 19, 2017 by Nathitoches-NSU Louisiana Folklife Center Staff