Ida Lewis "Queen Ida" Guillory
(born January 15, 1929 in Lake Charles, Louisianna)She was the first female accordion player to lead a zydeco band Queen Ida's music is an eclectic mix of R&B, Caribbean, and Cajun, though the presence of her accordion always keeps it traditional
Born Ida Lee Lewis to a musically talented family in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Queen Ida learned to play accordion from her mother after she spent a few years learning the piano. Her family moved to Beaumont, Texas, when she was ten and eight years later moved to San Francisco, California. Her first language is French, and wherever they went, took their Creole culture and music with them.
Queen Ida and her band played at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1976 and 1988, and the San Francisco Blues Festival in 1975, 1978, and 1991. In 1988, Queen Ida toured Japan, becoming the first zydeco artist to do so. She toured Africa the following year and in 1990 went to Australia and New Zealand.
On the album “Back on the Bayou” (1999), Queen Ida got together on the bayou in Louisiana with her brother, Al Rapone, for a zydeco reunion. Rapone often wrote and produced for her and formed the Bon Temps Zydeco Band, which later became Queen Ida's backup group. Doubling up on accordions with her oldest son Myrick "Freeze" Guillory, they are joined by Terry Buddingh on bass, James Santiago on guitar, Bernard Anderson on saxophone, Erik Nielsen on drums, and her youngest daughter Ledra Guillory and son Ron "The Rock" Guillory on rub board and vocals. As "Queen Ida and the Bon Temps Zydeco Band," the ensemble was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live on November 23, 1985, with Paul Reubens as host.
Queen Ida also co-authored a cookbook, “Cookin' with Queen Ida” in 1990, which featured Creole recipes.
Queen Ida continued to perform live through the 2000s, and though she did not release any albums during this period, she has joined her son Myrick and his band onstage. She officially retired from playing in 2010 and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she enjoys cooking for her friends and family.