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New Orleans' Big Freedia introduces Beyoncé at Superdome

In royal fashion, New Orleans' own Queen of Bounce brought out Houston's own Queen Bey at the Superdome.

Big Freedia tells NOLA.com ' The Times-Picayune (http://bit.ly/2d1jeSo ) that she was asked to go onstage shortly before the start of Saturday's night's concert.

In her words, "Well, they're very secretive about everything so I got the call at the last minute."

She wore the black Victorian-style costume that Beyoncé's dancers wore for "Formation." She told the audience, "Slay! Slay! Slay! Are you ready, New Orleans? The one and only!"

After leaving the Superdome early Sunday, Big Freedia told the newspaper that just before she went onstage, Beyoncé kissed her hand. She said, in her words, "I just died on the steps."

Country singer Jean Shepard dies; was Grand Ole Opry staple

Jean Shepard, "the grand lady of the Grand Ole Opry" who had a long recording career as an influential female in country music, died Sunday, according to an Opry spokeswoman. Shepard was 82.

Spokeswoman Jessie Schmidt said in a news release that Shepard had entered hospice care last week and died in Nashville.

"The Opry family is truly saddened by the news of Jean's passing," Opry vice president and general manager Pete Fisher said in the statement. "Although we will miss Jean's presence on the Opry stage, she has left us the wonderful gift of her music which will be remembered for generations to come."

Shepard joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry in 1955 and helped set the standard for women in country music, choosing to tour as a solo act rather than as part of a group. She presented a strong female point of view on songs like "Twice the Lovin' in Half the Time" and "The Root of All Evil (Is a Man)," influencing such key figures in country music as Loretta Lynn who came along a decade later.

Shepard also was credited with releasing country music's first concept album, "Songs From a Love Affair," in 1956.

Shepard was born in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, and was one of 10 children. She was raised near Bakersfield, California, where she listened to the Grand Ole Opry, the show she later performed on.

Her career began in the 1940s. According to the Grand Ole Opry website, Western swing musician Hank Thompson saw her at age 14, singing and playing bass in the Melody Ranch Girls, an all-girl band, and helped her begin recording.

She paired with fellow Hall of Fame member Ferlin Husky in 1953 on "A Dear John Letter," her first No. 1 country hit.

In 1963, her husband at the time, country singer Hawkshaw Hawkins, was killed in a plane crash along with Patsy Cline and Cowboy Copas.

In 2005, she became the first female singer to reach 50 years as a Grand Ole Opry member, according to the Opry's website.

Shepard was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2011 as she continued to perform regularly on the Grand Ole Opry.

Shepard is survived by her husband, Benny Birchfield, and sons Don Robin Hawkins, Harold Franklin Hawkins II and Corey Birchfield.

Funeral arrangements were incomplete.

Funeral arrangements made for the late rapper Shawty Lo

Funeral arrangements have been announced for rapper Shawty Lo who was killed in a fiery car crash on a freeway near southwest Atlanta.

Lo's manager Johnnie Cabbell tells local news media that the rapper's funeral will be held Oct. 1 at Jackson Memorial Baptist Church. Police say the 40-year-old rapper, whose real name is Carlos Walker, was ejected from a 2016 Audi when the vehicle struck a couple of trees, overturned and burst into flames early Wednesday.

Passengers Destini Carter and Deshondria Miller escaped the wreckage. Both were taken to Grady Memorial Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

In 2008, Shawty Lo was named MySpace Music Rookie of the Year at the BET Hip-Hop Awards. That year, his hit "Dey Know" was among the most-played rap songs on radio stations nationwide.

Country singer Jean Shepard dies; was Grand Ole Opry staple

Jean Shepard, "the grand lady of the Grand Ole Opry" who had a long recording career as an influential female in country music, died Sunday, according to an Opry spokeswoman. Shepard was 82.

Spokeswoman Jessie Schmidt said in a news release that Shepard had entered hospice care last week and died in Nashville.

"The Opry family is truly saddened by the news of Jean's passing," Opry vice president and general manager Pete Fisher said in the statement. "Although we will miss Jean's presence on the Opry stage, she has left us the wonderful gift of her music which will be remembered for generations to come."

Shepard joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry in 1955 and helped set the standard for women in country music, choosing to tour as a solo act rather than as part of a group. She presented a strong female point of view on songs like "Twice the Lovin' in Half the Time" and "The Root of All Evil (Is a Man)," influencing such key figures in country music as Loretta Lynn who came along a decade later.

Shepard also was credited with releasing country music's first concept album, "Songs From a Love Affair," in 1956.

Shepard was born in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, and was one of 10 children. She was raised near Bakersfield, California, where she listened to the Grand Ole Opry, the show she later performed on.

Her career began in the 1940s. According to the Grand Ole Opry website, Western swing musician Hank Thompson saw her at age 14, singing and playing bass in the Melody Ranch Girls, an all-girl band, and helped her begin recording.

She paired with fellow Hall of Fame member Ferlin Husky in 1953 on "A Dear John Letter," her first No. 1 country hit.

In 1963, her husband at the time, country singer Hawkshaw Hawkins, was killed in a plane crash along with Patsy Cline and Cowboy Copas.

In 2005, she became the first female singer to reach 50 years as a Grand Ole Opry member, according to the Opry's website.

Shepard was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2011 as she continued to perform regularly on the Grand Ole Opry.

Shepard is survived by her husband, Benny Birchfield, and sons Don Robin Hawkins, Harold Franklin Hawkins II and Corey Birchfield.

Funeral arrangements were incomplete.

Still no will, but work to settle Prince estate forges ahead

Work to settle Prince's estate is moving forward, and a closed hearing is expected to be held this week to resolve an undisclosed dispute between the likely heirs and the trust company that's managing the estate. Court papers say only that the dispute involves "confidential business agreements." Five months after the musician's death, here's a look at where things stand:

STILL NO WILL

No will has surfaced since Prince died of an accidental painkiller overdose in April, so his sister, Tyka Nelson, and five half-siblings are likely to be declared the rightful heirs within the next few months. Carver County District Judge Kevin Eide has not made an official declaration or said when he will. He has rejected numerous claims by people who said they were Prince's children, wives and cousins, or that they otherwise deserved a piece his estate. The main question remaining is whether a woman and girl who claim to be Prince's niece and grandniece are entitled to shares. The judge plans to hold one or two hearings on that in November.

WHO IS RUNNING THE SHOW?

At Tyka Nelson's request, the court appointed Bremer Trust to serve as special administrator of the estate pending the appointment of an executor, which would happen after the court names the legal heirs. Tyka Nelson or someone else could be named the executor, or the heirs could choose to keep Bremer Trust in charge or bring in a different manager. Currently, Prince's entertainment assets are being managed by L. Londell McMillan, a longtime attorney, manager and friend of the artist, and entertainment industry executive Charles Koppelman.

CLAIMS DEADLINE

A Sept. 12 deadline set by the judge for claims against the estate passed quietly. Most businesses that say they're owed money have been filing their claims directly with Bremer Trust, and those claims aren't public information. While people who claim to be Prince's heirs are supposed to have filed with the court by now, it's possible that more claims could trickle in. But the legal bar for getting taken seriously at this point is high.

THE CONCERT

The Oct. 13 tribute concert sanctioned by Prince's family sold out quickly when tickets went on sale Monday. The lineup includes Stevie Wonder, Christina Aguilera, Chaka Khan and others. Prince's inner circle gets a nod with Morris Day & The Time, Judith Hill and Liv Warfield, The New Power Generation and 3rd Eye Girl. The family originally wanted to hold the concert at the new NFL stadium in Minneapolis, but after a long wait for details that frustrated fans across the country, the much smaller Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul was chosen as the venue.

THE PAISLEY PARK MUSEUM

Paisley Park, the 65,000-square-foot studio complex in the Minneapolis suburb of Chanhassen where Prince lived and died, opens for tours Oct. 6. If that sounds reminiscent of Elvis Presley's Graceland, it should. Graceland Holdings is managing it. The tours will include the studios where Prince recorded, produced and mixed most of his biggest hits; the soundstage where he rehearsed for tours and hosted exclusive private concerts; and displays of artifacts including costumes, awards, instruments, and rare music and video recordings. The 70-minute tour costs $46 to $57.50, while the 100-minute VIP tour will cost $111.75. Tickets are available online only. A round building on the 9-acre grounds may be developed into a boutique hotel eventually.

THE TAXMAN COMETH

No official valuation of the estate has surfaced since a Bremer Trust attorney estimated during a hearing in June that it could be worth $100 million to $300 million. But it's certain that attorneys, accountants and others are hard at work on that question. That's because estate taxes are expected to gobble up just over half its value. The Internal Revenue Service will be expecting a payment in January. Bremer Trust has been putting some of Prince's real estate holdings on the market. His recorded music shot to the top of the charts after he died, so it's a safe bet that a lot of those royalties will find their way into the public treasury.

Rihanna, Kendrick, Metallica play at Global Citizen fest

Rihanna ran through her pop and R&B hits, Eddie Vedder partnered with Chris Martin and Kendrick Lamar was enthusiastic and energetic during his hour-long set at the Global Citizen Festival in New York.

Metallica, Ellie Goulding, Usher and Yandel also performed familiar songs Saturday at the free event on the Great Lawn in Central Park. The multi-hour show aired live on MSNBC.

Major Lazer kicked off the festival, performing hits such as "Lean On" and was backed by lively dancers. At one point they all wore New York Mets jerseys onstage. Demi Lovato, who replaced Selena Gomez, followed with strong singing.

Fans earned free tickets by promoting the importance of education. The event was hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, Salma Hayek Pinault, Chelsea Handler, Priyanka Chopra and Hugh Jackman and his actress-wife Deborra-Lee Furness.

Rihanna closed the show with a number of her smash hits, from "We Found Love" to "Umbrella" to the recent "Needed Me." Most of the performers thanked the feverish audience for doing acts of kindness to earn the tickets.

"We got global citizens in the house tonight — I myself, I'm from Barbados so I came a long way," Rihanna said. "There are people all over the globe that need help."

As fans waited for Rihanna to perform, Martin — who had just performed — came back onstage to stall. He sang Prince's "Raspberry Beret" while strumming the guitar, and freestyled new lyrics about why Rihanna was late, which earned laughs and applause from the crowd. He joked that the singer was doing her makeup and said he would perform the Prince song again.

Metallica earned one of the night's loudest ovations and Usher wore a black shirt that read, "Silence is content."

The Global Citizen Festival is in its fifth year. Last year's event featured Michelle Obama, Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, Beyonce and Pearl Jam.

_______

Online:

https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/

Louisiana accordionist Buckwheat Zydeco has died

Musician Stanley "Buckwheat" Dural Jr., who rose from a cotton-picking family in southwest Louisiana to introduce zydeco music to the world through his namesake band Buckwheat Zydeco, has died. He was 68.

His longtime manager Ted Fox told The Associated Press that Dural died Saturday. He had suffered from lung cancer.

Fox said the musician and accordionist died at 1:32 a.m. Louisiana time at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center in Lafayette, Louisiana. He gained fame by introducing zydeco music of southwest Louisiana to the world.

"This is one of the world's true genius musicians. A completely natural musician who could just fit in in any scenario," Fox said.

As news of his death spread, friends from around the world paid their respects.

"Buckwheat Zydeco embodied a genre and represented a community with his signature playing style that brought distinctly creole zydeco music to fans across the globe," said Neil Portnow, who heads The Recording Academy. "The world lost a music heavyweight today."

Zydeco music was well known across southwest Louisiana where people would often drive for miles to small dancehalls where zydeco bands featuring an accordion and a washboard would rock the crowds for hours.

But Dural took zydeco music mainstream, launching a major-label album — the Grammy-nominated "On a Night Like This," — with Island Records in 1987. He went on to jam with musical greats like Eric Clapton, play at former President Bill Clinton's inauguration and perform at the 1996 Olympics closing ceremony in Atlanta.

He jammed with Jimmy Fallon on the final episode of "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon." Fallon played the guitar backed up by the Roots while Buckwheat Zydeco rocked the accordion.

"He brought zydeco to unprecedented new audiences," said Ben Sandmel, a music historian who wrote a book titled "Zydeco!" about the music.

Dural earned his nickname because he had braided hair when he was younger that resembled Buckwheat from The Little Rascals television show. Born Nov. 14, 1947 in Lafayette, Louisiana, Dural was one of 13 children. His father played the accordion but the younger Dural preferred listening to and playing rhythm & blues and learned to play the organ, his obituary said.

Sandmel said while Dural was internationally famous for his zydeco music he was also an accomplished R&B artist and a diverse musician.

By the late 1950s he was backing up musicians and eventually formed his own band. In 1976 he joined legendary zydeco artist Clifton Chenier's Red Hot Louisiana Band as an organist, launching an important musical turn in his career.

"I had so much fun playing that first night with Clifton. We played for four hours and I wasn't ready to quit," he said in comments quoted in his obituary.

In 1978 he took up the accordion so closely associated with zydeco music and later formed his own band called Buckwheat Zydeco, his obituary said.

It was the 1987 Island Records five-record deal that eventually brought Dural to a wider audience, and he went on to tour with Clapton, record with artists such as Ry Cooper, Paul Simon, Dwight Yoakam and Willie Nelson.

Fox called him an "old-fashioned showbiz professional" who was always focused on giving the audience — regardless of either they were eight or 80,000-strong — a good time.

Fox described one evening in 1987 where Dural took the stage during a concert where legends Clapton, Ringo Starr and Phil Collins were already jamming. Playing a Hammond B3 — a multi-tiered organ — Dural got into a back-and-forth jam with Clapton, who eventually turned around, stuck out his hand to Dural and said: "Hi! I'm Eric Clapton. Who are you?"

The two went on to tour together, including a 12-night gig at London's Royal Albert Hall.

"He had this incredible charisma both onstage and personally," Fox said. "To the end of his days with all the stuff that he'd done, all the awards, he was still the same Stanley Dural Jr. who was picking cotton when he was 5-years-old."

Some people described Dural and his music as Cajun. The term generally refers to the French-speaking Catholics expelled from Nova Scotia by the British during the 1700's who eventually settled southwest Louisiana, although it's often used to refer more generically to French-speaking people in the area regardless of where they're from.

But Fox said while Dural loved Cajun music and often performed with Cajun musicians, he was very clear that he and his music were Creole, to the point where Fox said he even included in contracts language explaining that he was not Cajun.

Fox says his daughter Tomorrow Dural has created a fundraising campaign to help with medical and other expenses.

Dural is survived by his wife, Bernite Dural, and his five children.

__

Follow Santana on Twitter @ruskygal.

Louisiana accordionist Buckwheat Zydeco has died

Musician Stanley "Buckwheat" Dural Jr., who rose from a cotton-picking family in southwest Louisiana to introduce zydeco music to the world through his namesake band Buckwheat Zydeco, has died. He was 68.

His longtime manager Ted Fox told The Associated Press that Dural died Saturday. He had suffered from lung cancer.

Fox said the musician and accordionist died at 1:32 a.m. Louisiana time at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center in Lafayette, Louisiana. He gained fame by introducing zydeco music of southwest Louisiana to the world.

"This is one of the world's true genius musicians. A completely natural musician who could just fit in in any scenario," Fox said.

As news of his death spread, friends from around the world paid their respects.

"Buckwheat Zydeco embodied a genre and represented a community with his signature playing style that brought distinctly creole zydeco music to fans across the globe," said Neil Portnow, who heads The Recording Academy. "The world lost a music heavyweight today."

Zydeco music was well known across southwest Louisiana where people would often drive for miles to small dancehalls where zydeco bands featuring an accordion and a washboard would rock the crowds for hours.

But Dural took zydeco music mainstream, launching a major-label album — the Grammy-nominated "On a Night Like This," — with Island Records in 1987. He went on to jam with musical greats like Eric Clapton, play at former President Bill Clinton's inauguration and perform at the 1996 Olympics closing ceremony in Atlanta.

He jammed with Jimmy Fallon on the final episode of "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon." Fallon played the guitar backed up by the Roots while Buckwheat Zydeco rocked the accordion.

"He brought zydeco to unprecedented new audiences," said Ben Sandmel, a music historian who wrote a book titled "Zydeco!" about the music.

Dural earned his nickname because he had braided hair when he was younger that resembled Buckwheat from The Little Rascals television show. Born Nov. 14, 1947 in Lafayette, Louisiana, Dural was one of 13 children. His father played the accordion but the younger Dural preferred listening to and playing rhythm & blues and learned to play the organ, his obituary said.

Sandmel said while Dural was internationally famous for his zydeco music he was also an accomplished R&B artist and a diverse musician.

By the late 1950s he was backing up musicians and eventually formed his own band. In 1976 he joined legendary zydeco artist Clifton Chenier's Red Hot Louisiana Band as an organist, launching an important musical turn in his career.

"I had so much fun playing that first night with Clifton. We played for four hours and I wasn't ready to quit," he said in comments quoted in his obituary.

In 1978 he took up the accordion so closely associated with zydeco music and later formed his own band called Buckwheat Zydeco, his obituary said.

It was the 1987 Island Records five-record deal that eventually brought Dural to a wider audience, and he went on to tour with Clapton, record with artists such as Ry Cooper, Paul Simon, Dwight Yoakam and Willie Nelson.

Fox called him an "old-fashioned showbiz professional" who was always focused on giving the audience — regardless of either they were eight or 80,000-strong — a good time.

Fox described one evening in 1987 where Dural took the stage during a concert where legends Clapton, Ringo Starr and Phil Collins were already jamming. Playing a Hammond B3 — a multi-tiered organ — Dural got into a back-and-forth jam with Clapton, who eventually turned around, stuck out his hand to Dural and said: "Hi! I'm Eric Clapton. Who are you?"

The two went on to tour together, including a 12-night gig at London's Royal Albert Hall.

"He had this incredible charisma both onstage and personally," Fox said. "To the end of his days with all the stuff that he'd done, all the awards, he was still the same Stanley Dural Jr. who was picking cotton when he was 5-years-old."

Some people described Dural and his music as Cajun. The term generally refers to the French-speaking Catholics expelled from Nova Scotia by the British during the 1700's who eventually settled southwest Louisiana, although it's often used to refer more generically to French-speaking people in the area regardless of where they're from.

But Fox said while Dural loved Cajun music and often performed with Cajun musicians, he was very clear that he and his music were Creole, to the point where Fox said he even included in contracts language explaining that he was not Cajun.

Fox says his daughter Tomorrow Dural has created a fundraising campaign to help with medical and other expenses.

Dural is survived by his wife, Bernite Dural, and his five children.

__

Follow Santana on Twitter @ruskygal.

Sting appears at Utah production of his Broadway musical

Sting got to see his defunct Broadway musical "The Last Ship" set sail once more in Utah.

The Grammy-winning singer and songwriter popped up Thursday night at a Salt Lake City theater which began staging the show earlier this month.

The Deseret News reports (http://bit.ly/2cLgebl) that Sting spoke during the curtain call, thanking the director, choreographer and cast.

Running through Oct. 1, the Utah staging is the first since "The Last Ship" closed on Broadway in January 2015 after only a few months.

Sting wrote the songs for the musical, a semiautobiographical story about a prodigal son who returns to his northern England shipbuilding town and finds the workers are now unemployed.

The musician even joined the Broadway cast for the last two months of production.

___

Information from: Deseret News, http://www.deseretnews.com

Chinese superstar Lang Lang playing Boston Symphony opener

A classical music superstar from China is helping the Boston Symphony Orchestra kick off its new season this weekend.

Piano virtuoso Lang Lang will perform Prokofiev's "Piano Concerto No. 3" as the orchestra conducted by Andris Nelsons opens its 2016-17 run at Symphony Hall on Saturday.

Lang Lang has performed at the Grammys and soccer's World Cup. He also serves as a U.N. "messenger of peace" and has recorded music for PlayStation 3 games.

Ahead of the season opener, Lang Lang staged a guest artist "takeover" of the BSO Instagram account on Friday.

Boston is the latest stop in a whirlwind U.S. tour for Lang Lang. Earlier this month, he performed in Dallas and Cincinnati, and plays next week in Washington, New York City, Carmel, Indiana, and Champaign, Illinois.

___

Online: https://www.bso.org/

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