Stanley “Buckwheat Zydeco” Dural, Jr. has passed away in Lafayette on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016.  Buckwheat had a history of cancer since 2013, and was thought to be cancer-free, but it returned recently.  It is hard to overestimate the importance of Buckwheat to zydeco music.  He started as Clifton Chenier’s keyboard player, went out on his own on accordion, and has recorded a massive catalog over the last 40 years.  Our sincerest condolences to family, friends, and colleagues.

The flooding in southern Louisiana is well known to everyone by now, and it has affected many, including Buckwheat Zydeco.  To make matters even more difficult, his cancer has returned (warning: Advertiser page).  There are currently two GoFundMe appeals currently available to contribute:  In Support of Buckwheat Zydeco created by Cynthia Simien and Buckwheat Zydeco and Family (created by “Tomorrow Dural”).  I am not endorsing either of these campaigns, but want to make others aware of them.

The 30th annual Zydeco Extravaganza takes place this Sunday, May 29, 2016.  It’s still indoors, at the Blackham Coliseum in Lafayette, LA, starting at noon and running until it runs out!  Where else can you see Geno Delafose, Keith Frank, Chris Ardoin, J. Paul, Jr. and more on a single stage?  Purchase $20 tickets through the web site.

The United States Library of Congress is the de facto national library of America.  Its National Recording Preservation Board annually selects musical and spoken recordings of importance to add to its National Recording Registry.  This year they’ve chosen recordings as diverse of Clarence Williams, Mahler, Julie London, and John Coltrane.  Among them is the wonderful 1976 Clifton Chenier release, Bogalusa Boogie.  This year is the 40th anniversary of this amazing session, recorded in a single day in Bogalusa, Louisiana.  Clifton left us many years ago, but his recordings live on!

The mammoth New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival will go on April 22-24 and April 28 through May 1 at the Fairgrounds.  The “cubes” are out, showing who plays at which stage at what time.  As in past year, look for the lion’s share of zydeco, Louisiana Creole and Cajun acts at the Fais Do-Do stage.  The biggest acts occasionally appear on the Gentilly or Acura Stages, but those are the behemoths, like Buckwheat Zydeco (Friday, April 22, Acura Stage, 2:05-3:05pm).  Fais Do-Do is also the scene for larger, touring alt-country and folk acts, like the Black Lillies, and locals, like Gal Holiday.  The Allison Miner Music Heritage Stage is in the grandstand, has air conditioning, seats and decent toilets, definitely worth trying at least once.

Recommendations for zydeco, Louisiana Creole and Cajun music and interviews:

  • Goldman Thibodeaux The rural Creole “la-la” legacy of Amédé Ardoin Interviewer: Darrell Bourque, Friday, April 22, Allison Miner Music Heritage Stage, 1:30 – 2:15 pm
  • Belton Richard, Fais Do-Do, Saturday, April 23, 12:20-1:10pm (he never plays New Orleans–the big dancehall sound)
  • Belton Richard Cajun accordion and vocal legend, Interviewer: Barry Ancelet, Allison Miner Music Heritage Stage, Sunday, April 24, 4:00 – 4:45 pm ()
  • Savoy Family Band, Fais Do-Do, Thursday, April 28, 12:15-1:15pm (Marc Savoy is one of the best accordion players alive)
  • Lost Bayou Ramblers with Ricki Lee Jones and Spider Stacy (The Pogues), Gentilly Stage, Thursday, April 28, 1:45-3:10pm (an incredible matchup)
  • T’Monde, Lagniappe Stage, Thursday, April 28, 12:35 – 1:30 pm  (amazing trio with the old-time sound)
  • T’Monde Cajun tradition meets classic country harmony, Interviewer: Jim Hobbs, Allison Miner Music Heritage Stage, Thursday, April 28, 4:30-5:15 pm (yeah, that’s me)
  • C.J. Chenier and Todd Mouton Way Down in Louisiana Interviewer: Herman Fuselier, Allison Miner Music Heritage Stage, Friday, April 29, 4:00 – 4:45 pm
  • The Band Courtbouillon, Fais Do-Do, Sunday, May 1, 1:20-2:15 (Steve Riley, Wayne Toups and Wilson Savoy; Grammy winners)

The annual free French Quarter Festival will take place April 7-10, 2016.  Cajun and zydeco music will appear on the stage on N. Peters St. again, as in past year.  The lineup includes Bruce Daigrepont, T’Canaille, Grammy-nominated The Revelers, the Lost Bayou Ramblers, Granny-winner Chubby Carrier, Jo-el Sonnier, and Feufollet.

The French Quarter Festival is a huge, free music festival held in the French Quarter of New Orleans.  There is no admission fee, and music is played from twenty or more stages.  There is one Cajun and zydeco stage.  This year’s lineup of Cajun and zydeco artists is:

Thursday, April 7:  Bruce Daigrepont Cajun Band, the Doghill Stompers, T’Canaille

Friday, April 8:  Babineaux Sisters Band, Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band, Leroy Thomas and the Zydeco Roadrunners, the Lost Bayou Ramblers, the Waylon Thibodeaux Band

Saturday, April 9:  Amy Nicole and Zydeco Soul, Donna Angelle and the Zydeco Posse, Feufollet, Jo-el Sonnier, Sunpie and the Louisiana Sunspots

Sunday, April 10:  Amanda Shaw (playing less Cajun these days), Buckwheat Zydeco, Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers, Rockin’ Dopsie [Jr] and the Zydeco Twisters, Roddie Romero and the Hub-City Allstars, Sweet Cecilia (not traditional Cajun)