Photo: David Hidalgo, Buckwheat Zydeco, Dwight Yoakam | photo via Facebook
Few artists in southwest Louisiana, ground zero for zydeco, can match the resume of Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural of Carencro. Leader of the Grammy- and Emmy-winning band Buckwheat Zydeco, Dural performed before a worldwide TV audience of 3 billion during the closing ceremonies of the 1996 Summer Olympics.
Two years later, he had 500,000 fans screaming and dancing at the Boston Pops 25th annual Fourth of July show. Dural has shared the stage and studio with Eric Clapton, U2, Lyle Lovett, B. B. King, Dwight Yoakam and countless other stars.
Dural has added another first to his 30-year career. “Buckwheat’s World,” which went live on Mardi Gras Day (Feb. 17), marks the first time a zydeco artist has had a dedicated YouTube channel.
Besides new and vintage performances, “Buckwheat’s World” will offer short video features on Dural’s offstage life, band members, musician friends and southwest Louisiana food and culture. Current episodes feature Dural with his collection of more than a dozen classic cars, animals on his Carencro ranch and a cooking episode with Paul “Lil Buck” Sinegal, the band’s guitarist.
Ted Fox, Dural’s longtime manager, said YouTube offers a chance experience Dural up close and personal.
“He’s got that personality and that genuineness that you can’t buy,” said Fox. “You can’t fake it. You can’t make it up. He’s just such a genuinely, fascinating, appealing character, as well as performer. That’s one of the keys to his success.
“I’ve worked with him almost 30 years. You don’t see stuff like that. There’s no fake anything. This is Stanley Dural.”
“Buckwheat’s World” was funded last April through a Kickstarter campaign that raised $31,000. The funding helped hire Peabody-winning filmmakers Louis Alvarez and Andy Kolker, renowned for their critically-acclaimed documentaries.
The channel will have new episodes every Tuesday. Upcoming shows will also include zydeco icons Keith Frank and C. J. Chenier, along with Roddie Romero, Eric Adcock and other musician friends.
Fox said YouTube allows Buckwheat Zydeco to continue its musical evolution. In 1986, the band signed with Island Records, becoming the first zydeco act to sign with a major label.
In 1999, Dural started his own label and distribution with Tomorrow Recordings. Fox said YouTube is the next step.
“We’ve done it all over the past 30 years,” said Fox. “Where is it now? People don’t want to pay for a
CD. They don’t want to even pay for a download.
“The most important way people get music these days is YouTube. That’s where people are going. The Billboard charts are tied to YouTube plays.
“You have to stay at the forefront of what’s going on, if you want to keep going and have a career.”
Fans in the zydeco homeland get a taste of Dural during Festival International de Louisiane in Lafayette. “Buckwheat’s World,” with special guests Nathan Williams and Roddie Romero, are scheduled to close the festival April 26 on the main stage.
Fox said just like the YouTube channel, the show is about Dural sharing his music, culture and friends.
“That’s the concept. It’s not just another musician playing music. This is the guy who introduced zydeco to most people in the world. If you’ve heard of zydeco over the past 30 years, it’s probably because of Buck. You can say the same thing about Creole culture and the whole scene in southwest Louisiana.
“This is ‘Buckwheat’s World’ and what it comprises. It’s the whole thing.”