The Vanier Playboys came together in 2018 to form Ottawa’s first and only Zydeco Band. They are built on the same solid frame as Ball And Chain and The Wreckers with Jody Benjamin and Michael Ball leading the band.
The rhythm section is Bob Bangs-drums, Derek Jeffrey-bass, and Fred Guignion-guitar. The various accordions at stage left are in the capable hands of Antoine Laroque, from Montreal.
The repertoire is sourced from the varied palette of dance floor favourites of SW Louisiana, both older and more recent, and a growing number of originals as well as Zydefied chestnuts drawn from the well of R&B/Roots/Rock/Reggae.
Zydeco music is made for dancing. It springs from SW Louisiana and East Texas with influences from Africa, the Caribbean and Native American cultures… this combined with French lyrics makes for a zesty, groovy gumbo.
Popular Zydeco artists over the years, include Clifton Chenier, Boozoo Chavis, Queen Ida, John Delafose and Buckwheat Zydeco.
Everybody in the band has Ottawa East connections – that puts the Vanier in Vanier Playboys. The band name arises from the tradition of adding the suffix “Playboys” to the name of the place you call home… thus: Bob Wills and The Texas Playboys, Steve Riley and The Mamou Playboys, Walter Mouton and The Scott Playboys, etc.
It has been 27yrs. that Jody Benjamin and Michael Ball have been active on the Ottawa music scene, starting out as a duo, “Ball And Chain”, playing vintage country and cajun dance music, later expanding to include their band “The Wreckers”, and most recently branching out into Zydeco with The Vanier Playboys.
There are seven albums in the catalogue which testify to their staying power on the local scene.
The VPB’s, with one recording to their credit, were formed from a need to see more Zydeco performed locally and to honour their loyal following in the Ottawa Dance community.
Dancing to live music is simply, The Best!