King Cake

by Mike Wilson

Ever hear of a king cake? I hadn't. And I've been around awhile! Ever hear of Zydeco music? I hadn't. And… well. The assignment, therefore, to write a Zydeco song about king cakes set me on the path to enlightenment! Apparently, king cakes are a Deep South tradition, and hit the scene during the season preceding and leading up to Ash Wednesday. Thousands and thousands of these pastries are sold from January 6th through the celebration of Mardi Gras.

There is significant Christian symbolism surrounding this treat that we won't go into here, but you can research it if you like. (Notably the history and tradition of the "bean" or the plastic "baby" sometimes found in or on the cake.) But for our musical purposes here, the bottom line is, these tasty seasonal pastries are delicious.

There are a number of styles of king cakes. The most simple and common one is a ring of twisted cinnamon dough topped with icing or sugar, usually in green, purple, and gold (the colors of Mardi Gras). But cakes may also have fillings such as strawberry or cream cheese, and some might have chocolate icing or coconut filling.

There's nothing new about Zydeco music either. It's energetic and alive! Instrumentation is generally made up of drums, electric bass, guitars, a washboard for rhythm, and an accordion. We've followed this tradition with our song "King Cake."

High energy is definitely required for this easy 2-part arrangement. The song begins with the washboard joined by the accordion and band. A unison chorus familiarizes the listener with the melody and construct, followed by a second chorus, but this time with three solos and 2-part responses. The choruses vary between unison and solo calls with 2-part responses. Both the solos and the second part are optional. If you wish to use part 2, you'll find a short rehearsal track on our web site. Note that it is just the ending of the song as it is the same as earlier.

Verses are short – two lines. The song itself is also fairly short, so it's easy to maintain that energy throughout. The last shout should include a few higher pitch yells to add excitement! - MW

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.