The biggest star in modern Zydeco carries the torch lit by his mentor Clifton Chenier as he plays his accordion into the new century and brings this good-rocking dance music to the mainstream. Buckwheat Zydeco performed at both of President Clinton’s Inaugurations and, after playing to a TV audience of three billion at the 1996 Olympic closing ceremony, he must be the best known Zydeco player in the world.
The 80s was a good decade for Zydeco, and when Clifton Chenier passed away in 1987, Buckwheat was largely the man responsible for taking the music forward. Signing for the major Island label, he interpreted music from Booker T, Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton with a verve that opened people’s ears to the essence of Zydeco. Buckwheat opened a 12-night season for Eric Clapton at the Albert Hall in London, and found himself sharing stages all over the world with Paul Simon, Willie Nelson, Ry Cooder, Robert Plant and countless others. His music appeared on several film soundtracks, and he worked with Yo La Tengo on the soundtrack to the Dylan bio-pic ‘I’m Not There’. Buckwheat also wrote TV music and picked up an Emmy for the TV movie ‘Pistol Pete’. His contribution to the Katrina Benefit album ‘Our New Orleans’ was ‘Cryin’ in the Streets’, which says it all. In 2009, Buckwheat’s ‘Let the Good Times Roll’ was his 21st album, and he continued to make people dance all over the world until his passing in Lafayette on September 24th 2016.