What Bob Marley did for reggae, Stanley Dural, Jr. did for zydeco. As founder and leader of the band Buckwheat Zydeco, he brought a regional genre of music to a world stage. At his peak, he opened for Eric Clapton, recorded with everyone from Robert Plant to Willie Nelson, performed at both of Bill Clinton’s inaugurations and scored a series of Grammy nominations along the way.
Dural (November 14, 1947-September 24, 2016) was a latecomer to zydeco. His first loves were R&B, funk and soul, which he played with bands Sam and The Untouchables and Buckwheat and The Hitchhikers. But after repeated requests, he reluctantly agreed to play organ for zydeco great Clifton Chenier.
According to his obituary in New Orleans The Times-Picayune, Dural would cancel a contract if his music was described as “Cajun.” So what’s the difference between Cajun and Zydeco music? While Cajun music traces its roots to French Acadians, Zydeco originated with Creole speakers, who brought African and Caribbean influences to their music. The accordion is central to both genres, but Zydeco uses the piano accordion (instead of the diatonic accordion), which allows for more melodic versatility and a wider range of key signatures.