Like many children at a young age Anthony Dopsie remembers his father, zydeco great Rockin’ Dopsie (Alton Rubin), as just another dad heading off to work, even though Rockin’ Dopsie toured the world with his music.
By the time he hit his teenage years, Anthony Dopsie realized how special his father was, particularly after Rockin’ Dopsie unexpectedly passed away in 1993.
“He gave a lot to the community,” Anthony Dopsie said. “He was a very soft-hearted person. He didn’t have a hard bone in his body. Sometimes you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.”
Dopsie remembers watching his father perform his bluesy accordion at Festivals Acadiens et Créoles, as well as other events. It was through his father’s performances that Anthony Dopsie (born Anthony Rubin) learned to play accordion and keyboards and toured the world himself along with his brothers Rockin’ Dopsie Jr. (David Rubin) on rub board and Tiger Dopsie (Alton Rubin Jr.) on drums.
The brothers make up Rockin’ Dopsie Jr. & The Zydeco Twisters who will perform at Festivals Acadiens et Créoles at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 11, as part of “The Legacy of Rockin’ Dopsie” on the Anniversary Stage.
Although Anthony Dopsie and siblings are following in their father’s footsteps, the brothers, like so many Cajun and Creole musicians in South Louisiana today, have developed their own musical style. Rockin’ Dopsie Sr. and Clifton Chenier were the first to add rub boards, Anthony Dopsie explained, then they and later musicians added guitars, drums, keyboards, bass guitars and saxophones. The Zydeco Twisters have a rhythm section and brass.
“We all learned from somebody,” Dopsie explained. “But you develop your own style and do it your own way.”
Despite zydeco’s evolution, Dopsie insists it all hails back to Louisiana and those who came before. “The music’s changed a lot but you’ve got to keep your roots. You got to remember where you came from.”
The band recently toured Brazil and one concert featured an audience of 60,000 fans who celebrated the unique sounds of Louisiana zydeco.
“When that accordion came out those people freaked out and I thought, ‘Wow’,” Anthony said. “It really freaked me out at how they related to our accordions. It really touched me that this was something that I was doing that really touched people.”
“It goes to show you what we have here,” he continued. “We have something here that no one can take from us. We got to hold on to what we got, because what we got is going on!”