Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Stanley Dural, Jr., dead at age 68

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

The world of zydeco music lost another legend on September 24, 2016. Stanley Dural, Jr., better known as Buckwheat Zydeco, passed away on that day from lung cancer.

Christa at Accordion Americana has a post about his passing on her excellent blog. There are also several Buckwheat Zydeco videos at that link.

I am fortunate to have seen Mr. Dural in concert several times, although I could never get him to play “Zydeco Boogaloo” at those concerts!

This reminds me of the old joke about two Cajun musicians, although, since Mr. Dural never wanted anyone to refer to his music as “Cajun” music, we will change the joke to zydeco musicians.

There were two brothers who played zydeco music. They both wondered about the afterlife, so they made a deal. Whichever one of them passed away first would try to return to earth to let the other brother know what Heaven was like. Sure, enough, about a year later, the older brother died. The younger brother continued playing zydeco music on earth. Then, after another year, suddenly the deceased brother appears to his younger brother!

The younger brother said, “Tonnere mes chiens! Frere, tell me ’bout what Heaven is like!” The older brother replied, “Oh, cher, Heaven is great! They got great zydeco dances every night, and lots of famous musicians to play those dances! For example, last week they had dances played by Boozoo Chavis, John Delafose, and Beau Jocque. For tonight’s dance, they got Buckwheat Zydeco playin’.

The younger brother said, “Tell me more!” The older brother hesitated, then said, “Well, you are booked to play tomorrow night’s dance!”

 

Creole du Nord at Bayou Detroit, September 21

Friday, September 20th, 2013

Creole du Nord is playing for the 1st “Bayou Detroit” celebration at the Majestic Theatre in Detroit on Saturday, September 21. The event starts with an open Cajun jam session at 6:00 pm (musicians, bring your instruments!), then there are zydeco (and Cajun two-step) dance lessons at 7:00 pm, then Creole du Nord plays from 8:00 to 11:00 pm. Tickets are $12 in advance (can be ordered online at the Bayou Detroit link above), or $15 at the door. The party is actually on the Majestic’s rooftop “Alley Deck” which is on the roof, overlooking the alley below. The Majestic Theatre complex is at 4120 Woodward Ave. in Detroit, MI. There is limited parking right behind the Majestic; get there early to grab a spot. You may be able to find a spot on the street, but most of the street parking has meters that are only good for two hours, although I believe the city stops enforcing the meters after 8:00 pm. Don’t take my word for that, though, as parking may have changed around there.

The Bayou Detroit web site also mentions “Cajun food on the outdoor grill” and then lists a Crawfish Boil 1/2 lb for $7.50 and Chicken Gumbo served with Fried Okra for $5.95 so I believe those are additional charges to the admission fee.

It sounds like y’all could pass a good time at this event. I’m hoping to make it there in time for the jam session, although I have been fighting off a cold.

–Bayou Joe

Zydeco Hepcats in action, Sept. 20-21

Friday, September 20th, 2013

Bonjour, y’all. Y’all have two chances to see Monsieur Guillaume & His Zydeco Hepcats the weekend of September 20-21, 2013. On Friday, Sept. 20, they play at the American Legion Hall at 2079 W. 12 Mile Rd. in Berkley, MI. There is a “Zydeco Steak Out” at 5:00 pm, the Hepcats play starting at 8:00 pm. I’m sure there is a cover/food/beverage charge. Call 248-542-7668 for more info.

Then the Hepcats play at Westland, Michigan’s “Blues Brews and Barbeque” on Saturday, Sept. 21. The Hepcats play from 8:00 to 9:30 pm, other (non-CZ) bands also play starting at noon. This event actually starts on Friday, Sept. 20, but the Hepcats only play there on the 21st.

Blues Brews and Barbeques is at the Westland City Hall Grounds, 36601 Ford Road.

–Bayou Joe

Cajun music jam sessions in Ann Arbor

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

Did I ever mention that there is a regular group of musicians who get together to play Cajun music in Ann Arbor, MI, every Monday evening? In the summer, they gather at the Argo Canoe Livery at 1055 Longshore Dr. If the weather is stormy in the summer, and in the fall/winter/spring, they meet at the Northside Community Center at 815 Taylor.

The musicians usually start to gather around 5 pm and play until 9 pm or so, but on Labor Day, Monday, September 2, 2013, they plan on starting around 4 pm at Argo. It’s also planned as a barbeque/cookout, so if you have food you want to grill and/or share, bring it! Also bring musical instruments if you want, although listeners are welcome too. And, although they have some picnic tables with benches under a shelter roof, you may want to bring a camp chair in case there are many people who show up. Also bring mosquito-repellent!

Note that the Argo Canoe Livery does not have much parking right at the livery, and that folks renting canoes also want those limited parking spots. There is overflow parking about a block away uphill on Longshore Dr. You could always drive down to the livery and unload instruments, etc, then park up on the hill and walk back to the livery’s picnic shelter. For the jams at Northside, there is street parking in front of the center, plus a nearby parking lot.

— Bayou Joe

Report from Dancing in the Streets

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

Beaucoup folks enjoyed themselves in downtown Ann Arbor, MI, on Sunday, September 1, for Dancing in the Streets. The morning weather looked like it wanted to rain, and while I was contra dancing around 2:30 pm I felt a couple of rain drops. But after that the weather cleared and the sun shined through the clouds. It wasn’t too hot, but was very humid.

The humidity was perfect for the Cajun and zydeco music of Creole du Nord from 5:30 to 6:30 pm. I was able to pass a good time dancing with some folks then. Saw some folks I hadn’t seen in a while, like Ken and Lois, who you can see at many Michigan CZ dance events.

Creole du Nord at Dancing in the Streets

Creole du Nord plays on North Main St. at Dancing in the Streets 2013

Susan Filipiak gave some Cajun and zydeco dance lessons, and while the lessons were generally good, I wish she wouldn’t have taught folks to zig-zag from side to side while two-stepping as it makes it harder to pass slower folks who continually zig in front of you when the dance floor (or in this case, the dance street) gets crowded. She also taught something she called the “crooked two-step” that some of us knew as the “Mamou Two-Step.” For those who don’t know, the Mamou Two-Step is a variant where you lead with two steps to one side but only one step on the other side. Basically, the leaders will lead with two steps with their left foot and only one on their right, while followers will lead with two steps with the right foot and only one with their left foot. It’s easier to see and dance than it is to write about it.

Zydeco dancing at Dancing in the Streets

Zydeco dancing at Dancing in the Streets

I was pleased that I was able to do a lot of dancing at this year’s Dancing in the Streets. I danced the entire contra dance from 2 to 3 pm, then did a waltz workshop from 3 to 4 pm. Tried to dance to some English Country Dancing, but I was beginning to wilt from the heat so took a break to sit down and cool off by drinking a quantity of water. Then managed to dance most of the CZ dancing, too.

Maybe we’ll see the rest of y’all at next year’s Dancing in the Streets!

–Bayou Joe

Creole du Nord at Thumbfest, August 31

Friday, August 30th, 2013

I just found out that Creole du Nord is playing at Thumbfest in Lexington, MI, on Saturday, August 31. They are playing from 12:15 to 1:00 pm on the Virginia McNabb Realtor stage (outside the Lion’s Hall at Huron & Washington), From 3:00 to 3:45 pm at the Marty & Ruth Habalewsky Workshop area (on the north side of Huron between Washington and Dallas), and from 5:45 to 6:30pm on the Lexington DDA Harbor Stage (George Stewart Stage at the Harbor in Tierney Park). Go and check it out!

–Bayou Joe

Two CZ events for the Labor Day weekend

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Aiyeeee!!! You can actually get to dance to Cajun/zydeco music in the southeast Michigan area twice this Labor Day 2013 weekend. On Saturday, August 31, Monsieur Guillaume & His Zydeco Hepcats play at 11:15am (until around 12:30pm) on the FirstMerit Bank International Stage at the Arts Beats & Eats festival in Royal Oak, Michigan. There is a $3 fee to enter the festival before 3pm, plus you most likely will have to pay to park. Do NOT park where you’re not supposed to, or else expect a $50 ticket! You also can not bring in chairs or your own food or beverages. (What!? Dancers can’t bring their own water bottles?) It’s also sort of amusing that the festival puts a zydeco band on the “international” stage. Um, haven’t the Arts Beats & Eats folks heard that zydeco music is from Louisiana, and Louisiana is a part of the United States? Although, if you’ve ever visited southern Louisiana, it can almost seem sometimes like it is a different country.

Then on Sunday, September 1, head over to Ann Arbor, Michigan, for their annual Dancing in the Streets. The city of Ann Arbor shuts down S. Main St. around Washington and Liberty Streets between 2pm and 7pm, and there are several areas where you can try out different kinds of dancing. There’ll be swing, contra, folk, waltz, English Country dancing (no, it’s nothing like “American” country dancing), even some Polynesian dancing and a Charleston workshop. And for folks like me, there is the pièce de résistance with Creole du Nord playing Cajun and zydeco music on Main St. between 5:30 and 6:30pm. Susan Filipiak will be giving some Cajun dancing lessons, also. Dancing in the Streets is free, parking in downtown Ann Arbor is free on Sundays, and you can bring your own chairs and water, although you probably won’t need the chair because you’ll be dancing, right? Check out the DITS schedule at http://aactmad.org/dits/.

Bayou Joe

I’m/we’re back

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

OK, so I haven’t posted anything here since October 2011. Well, it’s like this… In October of 2011, I had a knee replaced due to its deterioration from past athletic injuries. Then, after the surgery, I had about 7 months of heavy-duty physical therapy in order to get the new knee joint to bend again. It took 14 months to wean myself off narcotic pain-killers. I had to slowly reduce the dosage to avoid some unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. While I was on the narcotics, I found it impossible to learn to play any new tunes for most of that time, whether on accordion or piano. It was also difficult to play tunes I already knew. I also took three months off work, and during that time I was either using a walker or crutches, so I didn’t feel like picking up any accordions. When I did try to play piano, I had to sit sideways, like Jerry Lee Lewis, because of the difficulty I had bending my knee.

About six months after the surgery, I began to tentatively dance a little. Irish Ceili dancing was too hard, as I couldn’t move my replaced knee fast enough, and that leg had trouble going behind the other leg to dance Irish “sevens.” I could do some contra dancing, though, and that helped my mind a lot. But for some reason I just couldn’t bring myself to write in this blog. Maybe it was a sort of “sour grapes” feeling I had, where if I couldn’t really participate in playing music or dancing then I didn’t want to write about it.

Well, anyway, I’m back now. So is my Cajun/zydeco band, Maison Bleue. We have a gig playing at Ann Arbor, Michigan’s Top of the Park on Wednesday, June 26. We play from 7:00 to 8:00 pm. We also hope to have Cyndy and Gail teaching some Cajun dance lessons starting around 6:30 pm. The Top of the Park stage is on E. Washington St., between Thayer and Fletcher Streets. There is a parking deck on Fletcher right at the end of E. Washington St. There is a fee to park, but the music and dancing is free! You can dance in the street, so wear some good shoes. There are also some food booths from local restaurants, plus there is a special seating area where you can purchase adult beverages if you are of a certain age.

Oktoberfest with Creole du Nord at the Local Pub & Brewery, October 7 & 8

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

The Local Pub & Brewery (local to Jackson, Michigan, that is) is having an Oktoberfest party on October 7 to 9. And since an Oktoberfest party is a lot like a Cajun Fais Do Do, they’ve got Creole du Nord to play on Friday and Saturday. Friday has Creole du Nord play from 7-10 pm, Saturday it’s “La Petite” Creole du Nord from 3-5:30 pm. All of the music and dancing takes place outside under a tent, and good (warm) weather is forecast for this weekend, so head on out and check it out! While you’re at the pub, you can also fill up on food and beverages. The Local Pub & Brewery is at 6020 Ann Arbor Road, in Jackson, MI. Make sure you go to Ann Arbor Road in Jackson and not in Ann Arbor nor Plymouth nor even in Jackson, Mississippi!

Creole du Nord is also celebrating a CD release party. Although I haven’t heard their CD, if it is as good as their live music, you’ll want to buy one of those CDs! The CD is entitled “Snow Swamp,” and they’re $10 each.

Get out and (zydeco) dance on October 1

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

First, let me apologize for not posting much recently. I have finally reached the stage where I need one of my knees replaced and will have that surgery soon. I wore it out from playing lots of sports, and also from lots of dancing in my past years. I’m hoping I can make a full recovery so I can join y’all on the dance floors of the future, but in the meantime I haven’t been as motivated to write about music and dancing as I could have been.

Anyhow, this Saturday, October 1, you’ve got a choice of three different Cajun/zydeco bands playing in three different cities to choose from. First, if you’re near Detroit, Monsieur Guillaume and His Zydeco Hepcats play at Kelly’s Bar & Grill in Hamtramck (at 2403 Holbrook–across from the big Kowalski sausage sign). They crank it up starting at 9:30 pm. The Hepcats also recommend getting there earlier and having dinner. There’s no cover charge (I could have just said “no cover” like the Mardi Gras picture about this event on their homepage). Call Kelly’s at 313-872-0387 if you need more info.

Or, if you’re in south-central (lower peninsula) Michigan, you could head over to the Black Sheep Tavern (at 115 E. Main St., Manchester) to hear Cracklin. Definitely go hungry to this event as the Tavern has some good food! But, quel dommage! there’s no room for dancing. More info at 734-428-8972.

Finally, if you’re in the Traverse City/Cadillac area, check out K. Jones and the Benzie Playboys at the Gopherwood Dance. It’s at the Elks Club at 122 S. Mitchell St. in Cadillac. There is an admission fee ($10 in advance, kids less), and while the Gopherwood series is promoted as concerts, they will have a dance floor available. More info at 231-775-2813.

As always, if you attend one of these events, please post a comment about the event (or email me a report, hopefully also with a picture or two)!