Chris Stafford, who died in Pinhook crash Thursday, had deep roots in local music scene

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LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — The Lafayette music family lost one of its own with the news that Chris Stafford was killed in a crash on Pinhook Road on Thursday.

Stafford’s sudden passing was the second hit taken by the tight-knit local music community. Friends family and loved ones had just begun to recover from the death of Brother Dege Legg March 8.

Stafford was a multi-instrumentalist, producer and researcher, perhaps best known for his band Feufollet, which he co-founded when he was 11 years old. The band played in last year’s Festival International de Louisiane, and gained national recognition for their unique sound and style, even garnering a Grammy nomination in 2010 for Best Zydeco or Cajun Music Album, Stafford was a mainstay in local music for 25 years.

His last appearance was Sunday at Festival International, where he played with another local band, The Bucks.

Family friend and local musicologist Barry Ancelet called Stafford “so important” to the culture of Acadiana.

“He was implicated in every aspect of the music scene down here,” Ancelet said. “But more important than that maybe, he was a good person. A genuinely good person. Generous, collaborative, willing to work with anybody.”

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One of the many social media tributes from fellow musicians came from the Lost Bayou Ramblers in the band’s Instagram page:

“Lafayette lost another real one today, on à perdu Chris Stafford a ce matin,” the post read. “I think Belton Richard said it best ‘When I die I wanna go to musicians’ paradise, where everyone gets together sings beautiful songs. Where the belles get together and sing the whole night thru, when I die I want to go to the Paradis des Musiciens.'”

His musical legacy reached beyond Louisiana. According to a Facebook post by the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress in Washington, Stafford was a member of many bands, including Cedric Watson and Bijou Creole, Racines (featuring Steve Riley), and the Viatones. When not performing or playing studio sessions, he ran his own recording studio in downtown Lafayette, Staffland Studio.

Jourdan Thibodeaux kicks off first night of Festival International

“Chris visited us in person a number of times over the years,” the post read. “In 2006, he came to Washington with his brother Michael, his friend Chris Segura, Josh Caffery, and other members of Feufollet, to visit the Center and hear his family recordings; he was 18 at the time. In 2011, we featured him with Feufollet on the cover of our magazine Folklife Center News, in which we included Feufollet’s recording of ‘Ouvre la Porte’ as a significant modern arrangement of one of our archival treasures.”

In a profile of Stafford in Acadiana Profile magazine last year, he said music was his whole life.

“Music is the only thing I was ever interested in,” he said. “At this point, it’s all I know how to do.”

Funeral arrangements for Stafford have not yet been released.

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