Follow Accordion Americana on WordPress.com

The Legendary Buckwheat Zydeco

 Buckwheat Zydeco

Buckwheat Zydeco

By Christa T. for Accordion Americana Sad news was received about Buckwheat Zydeco. He passed away on September 24, 2016 from cancer. Stanley Dural, also known as Buckwheat Zydeco, will be greatly missed.  To mark his passing, I am running the following article that I previously posted  on this site, September 2015. Rest in peace.

As a young child growing up in Lafayette, Louisiana, Stanley Dural, Jr. was said to look like the Little Rascal’s character “Buckwheat” in the Our Gang comedy series filmed during the 1930’s. This whimsical image was to stick with him his entire life as a professional musician. Drawing from his musical roots, the artist who became known as Buckwheat Zydeco,has shown that he is not afraid to move forward and reach beyond the Zydeco traditions to become a legend in American music.

Zydeco music evolved from the French speaking musicians who played at house dances who blended blues, rhythm and blues and the music of the indigenous people of southwest Louisiana. Stanley did not start out as a Zydeco artist, but he continuously worked as an organist from the late 1950’s throughout the 1960’s and well into the 1970’s. Dural concentrated on rhythm and blues, backing well known acts such as Joe Tex, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, among many others. As a mature musician in 1976, he agreed to be hired as a backing organist for Zydeco pioneer, Accordionist Clifton Chenier and his Louisiana Red Hot Band.  It was the turning point in his career because it was through this professional relationship that Dural came to be, like Chenier, proficient on the piano-accordion. Stanley Dural, Jr. then recast himself as a Zydeco musician and formed his own band, Buckwheat Zydeco and debuted with One for the Road in 1979. Since then, Dural and his band have become one of the most renowned Blues and Zydeco acts. Buckwheat Zydeco is distinguished as being among the few Zydeco artists to find mainstream success in the music industry and he is the only accordionist of any genre to ever reach that level of recognition in recent times in America.

Throughout three decades, Buckwheat Zydeco has performed and toured extensively around the world. They have also performed at the 1996 Summer Olympics closing ceremonies, and for both of President Clinton’s inaugurations. Buckwheat Zydeco has performed and recorded with major names in the business such as Eric Clapton, Bono and U2, The Boston Pops Orchestra, Paul Simon, Keith Richards, Robert Plant, Willie Nelson, Mavis Staples, Ry Cooder and Los Lobos.  The band has also appeared on television numerous times and was chosen by Jimmy Fallon for his final show, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. They have  appeared on Late Night with David Letterman, The Today Show, MTV, BET, CNN and have been featured on news programs on NBC, CBS and National Public Radio. Buckwheat Zydeco has appeared numerous times at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, as well as the Chicago Blues Festival, the Newport Folk Festival, the Montreux Jazz Festival and countless major music festivals and venues across America.

Nominated several times for the Grammy Award, Buckwheat Zydeco won for ‘Best Zydeco or Cajun Album” for Lay Your Burden Down in 2010. They also received an Emmy for music performed in the CBS television movie Pistol Pete: The Life and Times of Pete Maravich. The music of Buckwheat Zydeco has been  featured in the movies, The Waterboy, Fletch Lives, Hard Target, Ya La Tengo and Bob Dylan’s I’m Not There. The band also made an appearance and performed in The Big Easy, a movie that is credited with revitalizing Zydeco and Cajun music in America. Buckwheat Zydeco’s version of the classic “Cryin’ in the Streets” is featured on the album for Hurricane Katrina, Our New Orleans: A Benefit Album for the Gulf Coast.

Because of his commitment to promoting Louisiana cuisine, Dural wrote and performed the theme music for the PBS television series, Pierre Franey’s Cooking in America. Out of that interest, in 2014, Dural and his long time manager and collaborator, Ted Fox, premiered the You Tube documentary series “Buckwheat’s World”. The online show focuses on the music and colorful lifestyle of the artist, Stanley Dural, Jr. who became known as Buckwheat Zydeco.  Dural and Fox have shown their skill as writers and commentarians by becoming bloggers for The Huffington Post in 2014, with their first post, “Mardi Gras Is The Flip Side of the Blues”.

http://www.nbc.com/the-tonight-show/video/jimmy-the-roots-and-buckwheat-zydeco-on-a-night-like-this/2745768

https://www.youtube.com/c/buckwheatsworld

Buckwheat Zydeco

http://www.buckwheatzydeco.com


Making Music, Texas Style: Debra Peters and The Love Saints Band

Debra Peters

Photo by Jay Hudson

By Christa T. for Accordion Americana   Austin, Texas is home to one of the most diverse musical landscapes in the United States. The accordion has always had a role in the local music scene from the advent of the town’s German Beer Halls in the 1800’s, through the evolution of Tex-Mex music. Because of this presence, the accordion is alive and well represented in Texas music, today.

One of the most popular and respected Texas accordionists is Debra Peters. For the last 24 years, she has consistently performed in Austin and all around Texas with her band, Debra Peters and The Love Saints Band. Debra is a career singer, songwriter, accordionist, pianist and session musician. Also, well-known in Austin as a teacher of the accordion, she is an entrepreneur, producing and marketing her own music recordings and accordion educational videos.

Women musicians who have their own bands are rare. But, a woman musician with the professional longevity that Debra Peters has shown, are all the more rare. Monthly, for the last 2 decades, Debra Peters has appeared at the legendary Broken Spoke in Austin.  Also, throughout that time, Debra and her band have toured Europe, Japan, Mexico, North America and Hawaii.  Debra Peters and The Love Saints Band were featured at the International Accordion Festival held in San Antonio, Texas. They are scheduled to appear at the upcoming 2016 Texas Folk Life Festival in Austin.  This marks the 32nd anniversary for Texas FolkLife, which was started in 1984.  The festival presents and honors the diverse cultures and living heritage of the Lone Star State.  Tex-Mex and Zydeco/Cajun music are represented in The Love Saint’s Band’s repertoire along with Americana, polkas and other dance music. The daughter of a Canadian railroad engineer, Debra enjoys performing a selection of railroad songs, as well.

As an accordion educator, Debra has presented workshops every year for the past 12 years.  ” I am a lifelong music student as well as a lifelong music teacher. Around every corner, there is always something more and great to learn!” Her vision of producing and marketing her own accordion educational videos came out of a workshop held in Las Vegas. Upon viewing an accordion lesson video done by another accordionist, Debra remembered that, as a child, she was introduced to the piano by a lesson video on VCR. At that moment, she determined that she would create her own lesson videos. “It was almost like I was stung by a bee!” Immediately, she went to work to produce an educational video and, in 2005 created The Blues, Chords and Chops. The reaction from her students was positive and in 2007, Debra created The Blues ,Chords and Chops, Volume II.  Since then, she has produced and marketed other video accordion lessons, including one that focuses on bass patterns for the Stradella bass keyboard, 25 Bass Patterns. It was a lot of work for the already busy musician to “write and present the lessons, film and edit them, design the covers, produce the actual copies, set up the mail system, build a website, and do the marketing.” She persevered, and today sales from her web site are healthy and she has plans for more lesson videos.

Debra Peters

Debra Peters

Her enthusiasm for the accordion and her passion for people is evident. Debra strives to encourage others to play the accordion, especially girls and other women. A hardworking professional musician, Debra Peters is inspired, not only to entertain, but to empower others who seek to become skillful accordionists locally and in places far away from her Austin, Texas home. Update: Debra Peters and The Love Saints Band have been invited to participate August 20-21, 2016 at the Cotati Accordion Festival, Cotati California.

www.debrapetersmusic.com

Love Saints Music, Austin Texas USA


Rosie Ledet and the Zydeco Playboys

rosie2

Rosie Ledet

By Christa T. for Accordion Americana  Accordionist, Singer and Songwriter, Rosie Ledet IS the Zydeco Sweetheart. But, make no mistake, there’s nothing sweet about the way she can rock and roll with her diatonic accordion. Yes, that’s what I said….the accordion. She is quite unique among accordionists, of any stripe. But if Zydeco is a man’s world, and if the accordion is a major part of that world, then they both need Rosie Ledet, with her sass, style and all that swag that goes with it to make it all the more exciting.

Born in the small Louisiana town of Iota, Rosie came late to the accordion. As a teenage bride of 17, Rosie began to study the diatonic accordion on her own, with the guidance of her musician-husband, Morris. The couple decided that they would both pursue music as a full time career. With Morris Ledet as producer and bassist, the couple has been performing, writing and touring with their hot back up band, The Zydeco Playboys, throughout the 1990’s to the present. Travelling throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe, Rosie Ledet and The Zydeco Playboys bring their own brand of Contemporary Zydeco to the U.S., North America and to the world.

Rosie Ledet’s method of playing the accordion is very percussive, with both heart and guts behind her moves to show she is not about being shy with her instrument. Influenced by Santana and ZZ Top, among others, Rosie leans heavily on those influences, applying them to traditional Zydeco music, to create a different spin.  Add a little Etta James, some definite Louisiana blues influences and her own French Creole heritage, Rosie Ledet presents an interesting mix of styles in her sultry voice.

With ten albums to their credit since the Ledet’s began performing together, Rosie has written nearly all songs that she sings. Hardworking Musician/Performers who are also Singer/Songwriters bring to the table a weighty amount of credibility, and Rosie Ledet is no exception. She has opened for Bob Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival, and performed with the late James Brown among many other great musicians.  Appearing at festivals and venues large and small she is clearly growing as an artist with her upcoming appearance at Colorado’s prestigious Telluride Jazz Festival in August 2015. Rosie Ledet, with her full, beautiful voice, is coming into her own, as an exciting breakout artist who just happens to play the accordion. Rock our world!

Awards…

  • 2008 Louisiana Treasure Award by The Black Heritage Association of Louisiana
  • 2007 Zydeco Music & Creole Heritage Award for Best Female Vocalist
  • 2006 New Orleans Big Easy Award for Best Zydeco Artist
  • 2003 Louisiana Treasure Award by The Black Heritage Association of Louisiana
  • 2001 Best of the Beat Awards by Off Beat Magazine for Best Zydeco Vocalist, Best Performer & Best Band
  • 2001 Zydeco Music & Creole Heritage Award for Best Female Vocalist
  • 2001 Southwest Louisiana Music Association Award for Best Zydeco Band
  • 1999 Zydeco Music and Creole Heritage Award for Best Female Vocalist

http://www.rosieledet.net


Michael McDonald: “Christmas on the Bayou”

Michael McDonald

Michael McDonald

Happy Holidays

from

Accordion Americana!