Stanley ‘Buckwheat’ Dural Jr, who performed under the stage name Buckwheat Zydeco, has died aged 68 following a battle with lung cancer.
The news was confirmed by Dural’s manager Ted Fox, who reports: “It is with deep sadness that I have to announce that our great, beloved leader Stanley ‘Buckwheat’ Dural, Jr. has passed away.
“He died at 1:32am Louisiana time, keeping musician’s hours right to the bitter end. I am grieving for my best friend and colleague of more than 30 years. But, as this great road warrior once said, ‘Life is a tour, and it’s all about how you decide to get where you’re going. I don’t want to ignore the bad things in life, but I want to emphasise the good things.’
“Buck made everything and everyone he touched better and happier. RIP my dear friend, my brother.”
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Dural was born on November 14, 1947, and introduced zydeco – a music genre that evolved in southwest Louisiana – to the mainstream. He started out under the name Buckwheat Zydeco in 1979, releasing One For The Road that same year. His last studio album was 2009’s Lay Your Burden Down, which won a Grammy for Best Zydeco or Cajun Music Album.
During his career, Dural played and performed with a wide range of artists, including Eric Clapton, Robert Plant, Keith Richards, Willie Nelson, U2, Paul Simon, Mavis Staples and Warren Haynes. He also played at both of Bill Clinton’s presidential inauguration ceremonies.
Family friend Dustin Cravins tells Nola.com: “It’s a tough one for us and the entire zydeco community and the greater music community. Words like legend and icon are tossed around so much these days that it almost sounds watered down, but he was the true definition of it.”
Just last month, Dural’s friends and family set up a GoFundMe page to help with medical expenses. He is survived by Bernite Dural, his wife of more than 40 years, and five children – Reginald M. Dural, Stanley Paul Dural III, April Germain Dural, Stacie Durham and Tomorrow Lynn Dural.