Buckwheat Zydeco to perform at SOPAC
If you’ve never heard of Buckwheat Zydeco, then you don’t know zydeco music. It’s no exaggeration to call Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural, Jr. and his band the face of modern zydeco and one of the greatest acts in the genre’s history.
Among their numerous accomplishments, the group has performed at two presidential inaugurations, played at an Olympics closing ceremony and won a Grammy an Emmy.
Soon, they’ll be bringing their act the South Orange Performing Arts Center on March 1.
Even if you’re not familiar with zydeco – the jovial, rhythmic music originated by the Creoles in Louisiana – you can still appreciate Buckwheat Zydeco, according to their manager and producer Ted Fox.
“I don’t think you can have a more fun time seeing live music than Buckwheat Zydeco,” he said. “It is impossible not to dance to it. It is impossible not to end up with a smile on your face.”
Fox himself knows about the power of zydeco. Originally a music journalist, he said he was captivated by the local zydeco scene when visiting Louisiana, especially Buckwheat Zydeco. After introducing their music to Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, he said Blackwell signed the band to his label and asked Fox to be their manager and producer. After almost 30 years, they’re still together.
Fox attributed Buckwheat Zydeco’s to the fact that the band has maintained a high quality of music while still changing with the times.
“Perhaps Buckwheat Zydeco’s greatest accomplishment is to be consistently good and creative and adaptable for many, many decades,” Fox said. “That kind of longevity and consistency is a very difficult thing to achieve in any creative field.”
That cross-generational appeal was seen when Buckwheat Zydeco performed “On a Night Like This” with Jimmy Fallon on the final episode of “Late Night” Fallon hosted. Fox said the band was thrilled and honored to be asked to play, specifically on the last show.
“Jimmy’s a huge Buckwheat fan – just loved Buck, loved that song in particular – and it was totally Jimmy’s idea,” Fox said. “The performance was off-the-charts.”
In order to reach new audiences, Fox said, Buckwheat Zydeco is launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund a YouTube series named “Buckwheat’s World,” which will give fans an intimate look at Dural and exclusive performances. It’s the next chapter in the prolific career of the performer Fox called the “ambassador for zydeco music and Creole culture.”
“Buck is the best,” Fox said. “He stands alone in terms of being this sort of lead figure in that world.”
Sean Quinn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.