Though known to a whole host of fans as Buckwheat Zydeco, his real name is Stanley Dural Jr. But feel free to call him Buckwheat, a nickname given to him as a youth because, with his braided hair, he looked like the character Buckwheat from “Our Gang/The Little Rascals” movies.
Born in Louisiana, Dural is one of the few zydeco artists to achieve mainstream success, and he’s ready to thrill happy audiences once again Friday when he performs at the Sellersville Theater, located off Route 309 between Quakertown and Montgomeryville.
“I was raised in a musical household. My mother sang spirituals and my father was an accomplished Creole accordion player who always urged me to listen to and play his kind of music,” Dural remembers. “But I preferred listening to and playing jazz and R&B.”
As time went on, Dural became proficient at the organ, forming his own band called Buckwheat & the Hitchhikers. And Dural says he still wasn’t interested in zydeco — until he got a chance to play with one of his father’s very best friends and a legendary zydeco performer, Clifton Chenier.
“Chenier offered me a chance to play with his band as an organist,” Dural says. “I was just going to play with him for one night and then go back to my own kind of music. I’d play the venue and then walk away. But something very strange happened that night. I heard zydeco music and wound up staying with the band for two years.”
The music, he explains, was so infectious and so energetic, that he switched to the accordion and eventually his own, new band was born.
Over the years, Buckwheat Zydeco has performed with a large number of famous musicians, from Eric Clapton (with whom Buckwheat has also recorded) and U2 to the Boston Pops. The band performed at the closing ceremonies of the 1996 Summer Olympics to a worldwide audience of three billion people.
Buckwheat has also performed for President Clinton twice, celebrating both his inaugurations. And the band has appeared on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” “CNN,” “The Today Show,” “CBS Morning News” and many more.
In 2010, Buckwheat Zydeco won the Grammy for Best Cajun and Zydeco album for “Lay Your Burden Down.” Dural is quick to thank his loyal fans for making the award possible. He says, “After five nominations in three different categories, we really appreciate wining it. Even if we never won a Grammy that would be OK too. We’d just keep doing what we do. But we’ve worked hard all these years, so winning it was a real blessing.”
Even though it’s hard to describe, zydeco music is easy to listen to. According to Dural it’s energetic and happy music that appeals to the young and the old alike. “It’s party music, and something the whole family can come to hear together and enjoy themselves. It’s feel good music, and I’ve seen kids as young as two in the audience having a good time listening to it.”
That’s the music. As far as describing himself, Dural says he’s just pretty much a hardcore musician who loves what he does. “I love seeing people having a smile on their faces and out there having a great time. That’s what is most rewarding to me. That’s the blessing I have received.”
Another blessing he says he received is the fact that his father lived long enough to see his son achieve success. “My father always wanted me to play this music and he lived long enough to see me do it. He also lived long enough for us to become best friends. And that, to me, is a true blessing.”
For times and ticket information, call (215) 257-5808.