Remembering Buckwheat Zydeco at El Sido's
Buckwheat Zydeco at Festival International de Louisiane, Lafayette LA
I write this article with a heavy heart because the man that the world knew as ‘Buckwheat Zydeco’ was Stanley Dural Jr. and he was family. I could go on about the countless awards and accolades he received from around the world but most significantly he was a good man. Everyone that really knew him could attest to that.
On Thanksgiving night, after the turkey dinner and the NFL games came to an end, Buckwheat played at El Sido’s Zydeco & Blues Club in Lafayette, La. every year. He didn’t have to do it he just wanted to. He never forgot that Sid Williams gave him his first break. He never forgot the helping hand he received from his friend. So, showing his appreciation, he played happily and for free. In fact, going to see Buckwheat that evening was free. Cars were lined up for miles around and people lined up toe-to-toe, admiring the hometown boy ‘who done good’.
Inside you saw people from the community, young and old, black and white, listening, tapping their feet and dancing to the pulsating sound of the scratch broad and the drum beats. Buckwheat playing his accordion making an unmistakable and unworldly sound that only he could make with that instrument. All the while, people are smiling, clapping and sweat is pouring from the dancers who are keeping up with the tunes. You knew Buckwheat was happy when you saw a smile illuminating from his face on stage, knowing that he could bring people together just jammin’ and havin’ a good time.
Buckwheat was all about bringing people together and we saw an example of this when Republican Presidential candidate and former Governor of Louisiana Bobby Jindal was using Buckwheat’s song at his rallies and events. Catching wind of what Mr. Jindal was doing, Buckwheat ordered the former governor - ‘Stop using my songs because you’re a disgrace to the state of Louisiana.’ He hated anyone who would try to divide people and he didn’t want his sterling reputation associated with Jindal’s divisive rhetoric.
In another stance, the song “Creole Country” was really a protest song. During the late eighties, the area of Southwest Louisiana (known as Acadiana) was going through a ‘Cajunization’ of the area and culture. It appeared (to the world) that only people from Cajun descent lived in the area. With ‘Cajunization’, old landmarks and institutions were changed to ‘Cajun This’ or ‘Cajun That’. The song ‘Creole Country’ highlighted that Creole people also lived in the area and contributed to the community just as much as their Cajun counterparts. So instead of calling the known area of Acadiana Cajun Country he flipped the script and called it Creole Country, thus shining a light to the world that Creole people live here too.
All things considered, this man who brought Southwest Louisiana dancehall music to the world, just wanted people to have a good time. Buckwheat hated people being pitted against one another, he wanted people to find common ground and he thought music was that vehicle. While I hadn’t seen Buckwheat in many years I still fondly remember that he loved to smile, he loved to laugh at funny jokes and he was always willing to volunteer his talent to a good cause. So on that last Thursday night in November, I will recall the long line at El Sido’s and remember the smile that he had while making people groove to his beat. Rest In Peace.
Discover the man and the music on his youtube channel 'Buckwheat's World'