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Remembering Stanley 'Buckwheat' Dural Jr., A Legend In Lousiana's Zydeco Music

(SOUNDBITE OF BUCKWHEAT ZYDECO SONG, "ZYDECO LA LOUISIANEE")

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

You know that we often try to take note of the deaths of people who've made a mark on history or politics, in the culture or in sports. Frankly, we can't get to them all, but we do feel a special obligation to note those you might have missed. So today, we want to tell you about a legend in zydeco, a musical genre born in the bayous of Louisiana. Stanley Buckwheat Dural, Jr. died on Saturday. He was 68 years old. He was known as an ambassador for Louisiana roots music with its accordion, washboard and infectious fast-paced energy.

(SOUNDBITE OF BUCKWHEAT ZYDECO SONG, "ZYDECO LA LOUISIANEE")

MARTIN: Dural died of lung cancer in Lafayette, La., yesterday. Here he is speaking with NPR's Scott Simon back in 2009.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

STANLEY DURAL, JR: I was raised in a home with music surrounded. My father played accordion, only for family entertainment. My mother sang spiritually in the home. I was raised with seven sisters and six brothers and in a two-bedroom home. And I was always into music. And I played piano at the age of 5 till 9, when I got my first organ.

SCOTT SIMON, BYLINE: So how did you meet the zydeco?

DURAL: Well, I was introduced to a gentleman called Clifton Chenier, the king of zydeco. And he was one of my father's best friends. And he played the accordion, and my dad tell me that I need to play the accordion but like Clifton Chenier.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ZYDECO BOOGALOO")

BUCKWHEAT ZYDECO: All right...

DURAL: I decided to go and perform with Clifton Chenier for one night right here in Lafayette at Ammons (ph). And I put my organ on stage, the Hammond organ, and we played for four hours nonstop. And he was telling people goodnight, and I couldn't believe it. And I thought we had just got on stage. That's how much energy he had projected. I wound up staying with Clifton over two years. I said, next band I'll get - I'll be playing accordion.

(SOUNDBITE OF BUCKWHEAT ZYDECO SONG, "TEE NAH NAH")

MARTIN: And so he did. In 1979, Dural started his own band, Buckwheat Zydeco. And in 30 years of touring and recording, he took the zydeco from the bayous of Louisiana to stages around the world. We'd like to say one more time to Mr. Dural, laissez les bons temps rouler. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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