Archive Files of Cajun, Creole, and Zydeco Musicians
Posted between 1999 and 2008

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Tribute to
Clifton Chenier

Festival International de Louisiane
April 29, 2001

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The 15th annual Festival International de Louisiane held in Lafayette ended triumphantly  with a tribute to the late Clifton Chenier performed before a huge crowd seated in folding chairs, squatting directly on the parking lot pavement, or, more often than not, on their feet cheering and dancing.

On stage were "All the King's Men," members of Clifton Chenier's Red Hot Louisiana Band at some time in the band's history up until the undisputed King of Zydeco's death in 1987. Leading the performance was Stanley "Buckwheat Zydeco" Dural from Carencro, who today is the most widely traveled, internationally recognized star of zydeco. Dural joined the Red Hot Louisiana Band in 1976 as an organ player at the invitation of guitarist Lil' Buck Sinegal, who was among those on stage for the reunion of the King's Men.

Other musicians included drummer Robert St. Julien; Sonny Landreth, the slide guitarist who was the first white musician to join Chenier's band; Harry Hypolite, the  blues guitarist who in 2001 released his first album on his own, Louisiana Country Boy; saxophonist John Hart, now blind due to the effects of diabetes; Lee Allen Zeno and Alonzo Johnson on bass; plus Reginald Dural, Stanley Dural's son, on rubboard.

Also joining the band was C.J. Chenier, Clifton's son, who has himself become a major zydeco star. While C.J. Chenier was on stage playing accordion, Buckwheat Zydeco shifted to organ, the same instrument he played when he was in Clifton Chenier's band.

The top three photos show Stanley "Buckwheat Zydeco" Dural.

C.J. Chenier is pictured next, including a photo of Chenier on accordion and Buckwheat Zydeco on organ.

Buckwheat Zydeco is shown performing with his son, Reginald Dural, on rubboard.

The bottom photos show blind saxophonist John Hart by himself in one shot, jamming with Buckwheat Zydeco and his son in the next, and, in the third, on stage with Sonny Landreth, Harry Hypolite, and Lil' Buck Sinegal.

The bottom photo shows a large portrait of Clifton Chenier draped across the back of the stage.


Note: Harry Hypolite died in a traffic accident June 22, 2005, at the age of 69.  John Hart died Dec. 26, 2003, at the age of 71.

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Posted 1-28-02

All photographs and text by David Simpson.

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