Stanley 'Buckwheat' Dural, Jr. Treated for Early Stage Cancer; Expected to Make Full Recovery
Grammy Award-winning singer and accordionist Stanley "Buckwheat" Dural, Jr., leader of Buckwheat Zydeco, is being treated for early stage cancer on his left lung and a vocal chord. Dural will begin treatment immediately and doctors expect a full recovery. Buckwheat Zydeco will postpone dates throughout the winter but expect to be back on the road in the spring and summer.
Dural -- along with his band Buckwheat Zydeco -- is the preeminent ambassador of Louisiana Zydeco music. He and his band have played presidential inaugurals, done Letterman and other major TV shows many times, performed with the Boston Pops, were featured in the Closing Ceremonies of the Atlanta Olympics, and opened Eric Clapton's entire North American tour. The New York Times says, "Stanley 'Buckwheat' Dural leads one of the best bands in America."
"I feel fine," says Dural, "I'll beat this and be back on the road soon...and you can take that to your best bank!"
His 2009 Alligator Records CD Lay Your Burden Down, produced by Los Lobos' Steve Berlin, received the Grammy Award for Best Cajun And Zydeco Album.
Stanley "Buckwheat" Dural, Jr. was born in Lafayette, Louisiana in 1947. His father was an accomplished, non-professional traditional Creole accordion player, but young Buckwheat preferred listening to and playing R&B. He became proficient at the organ, and by the late 1950s was backing Joe Tex, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown and many others. In 1971 he formed a 16-piece funk band, Buckwheat and The Hitchhikers. Never a traditional Zydeco fan when growing up, Buckwheat nonetheless accepted an invitation in 1976 to join Clifton Chenier's Red Hot Louisiana Band as organist. He quickly discovered the joy and power of Zydeco music, and marveled at the effect the music had on the audience.
Buckwheat's relationship with the legendary Chenier led him to take up the accordion in 1978. After woodshedding for a year, he felt ready to start his own band under the name Buckwheat Zydeco, and began his recording career. Recordings for Blues Unlimited, Black Top and Rounder followed. Buckwheat befriended New York-based journalist Ted Fox (who would later become his manager). Fox championed Buckwheat to Chris Blackwell at Island Records, and Buckwheat soon received a multi-record deal. He has toured the world and played with numerous music legends, including Paul Simon, Keith Richards, Robert Plant, Willie Nelson, Mavis Staples, as well as Eric Clapton and many others.