KQKI is saddened to announce the passing of Swamp Pop Legend Rod Bernard. He passed away today at the age of 79. According to his son Shane Bernard’s Facebook page, Bernard passed away in New Iberia after a short non-Covid illness.
According to Wikipedia, Bernard helped to pioneer the musical genre known as “swamp pop”, which combined New Orleans-style rhythm and blues, country and western, and Cajun and black Creole music. He was generally considered one of the foremost musicians of this south Louisiana-east Texas idiom, along with such notables as Bobby Charles, Johnnie Allan, Tommy McLain, and Warren Storm.
Bernard was born on August 12, 1940, in Opelousas,Louisiana. His parents were French-speaking Cajuns from working-class backgrounds, and as a child he imbibed the traditional Cajun French music performed in his grandfather’s dancehall, the Courtableu Inn, located in nearby Port Barre, Louisiana. There he heard the music of noted Cajun musicians Papa CAldus Roger,airo, and Jimmy C. Newman, as well as zydeco pioneer Clifton Chenier, all of whom would exert a strong influence on Bernard’s music.
Some of Bernard’s huge swamp pop hits include “This Should Go On Forever”, “Colinda”, and many more.
Bernard was also a well-known broadcaster in the Acadiana area. He got his start in broadcasting at the young age of 10 years old while working as a DJ at KVOL radio. He then later worked for KLFY TV 10 for approximately 30 years. In 2009, he joined the staff of the radio stations owned by Acadiana Broadcast Partners of Crowley, KYBG 102,1, KPCZ 106.7 and KSIG 1450 before retiring several ago.