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Tue, 01.15.1929

Ida Guillory, Accordion Musician born

Ida Guillory

*Ida Guillory was born on this date in 1929.   She is a Black musician specializing in Accordion and Vocals and an author of cuisine. 

From Lake Charles, Louisiana, she grew up in the Cajun/Creole communities of Southwest Louisiana and East Texas. Although her lyrics are now bi-lingual, her first language was French, and the songs she learned from her brothers and uncles were French, too. In 1946 her family moved to San Francisco, CA. Guillory eventually married and put aside the accordion to raise a family.   In 1974, Guillory teamed up with her brother Al Lewis to perform for a special Mardi Gras Party.

A front-page article in the San Francisco Chronicle's "California Living" magazine dubbed her "Queen Ida," She immediately got bookings in Bay area clubs and at the Monterey Jazz Festival.   Soon she got offers to tour Europe, and after several successful trips abroad, America began to discover Queen Ida.  In the past quarter century, Queen Ida has completed several trips to Europe and toured extensively in all regions of the U.S. and Canada. She was a regular guest on Prairie Home Companion. She was recently featured on NBC's Good Morning America, CBS Nightwatch, National Public Radio's Weekend Edition, and the Attitudes and Home Shows.

Guillory was awarded a Grammy in 1983 and received her fourth Grammy nomination in 1986.  Guillory’s tours have included performances for Native American French-speaking groups in North Dakota funded by the North Dakota Arts Commission, her eighteenth consecutive year at the Arvada Center, and a sold-out benefit for the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra in Florida. In 1989, she was invited by the U.S. State Department to tour for three weeks in French-speaking Africa. She was greeted warmly by heads of state and received rave reviews. Queen Ida's Cajun/Creole cookbook and memoirs, "Cookin' with Queen Ida," was published in 1990.

The second edition features a new chapter on low-fat Cajun/Creole cooking. Her tenth album in 1999 is "Together Again" (a project with her brother, Al Rapone).  She is a recipient of a 2009 National Heritage Fellowship awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the United States' highest honor in the folk and traditional arts. She officially retired from playing in 2010 and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she enjoys cooking for her friends and family.  

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