Once you’ve seen and heard Uncle Donald, you won’t forget him. He’s a tall gaunt man, usually dressed in a wide-lapel leisure suit. He wields the microphone like a weapon, keeping it close to his mouth and throwing out lines of jive faster than your brain can process it. Local musician C.C. Adcock says, “In his own words, Uncle Donald is airplane-flyin’, limousine-drivin’, 6-foot fivin’, totally live and full of jive. Can you dig it, dig it?””He’s just a beautiful cat,” Adcock adds, “and he’s had some trouble lately. So we’re all coming together. There’s going to be a lot of cross-pollinating going on.” A lifelong resident of the McComb neighborhood just off of St. Charles Street, Senegal has recently experienced some complications from diabetes and lives in a local nursing home.
On Sunday afternoon, Grant Street Dancehall opens its doors for Donnalroo, a musical benefit to help Senegal offset mounting medical costs. There will be food and auction items on site as well. (The event’s name is a play on the successful Bonnaroo Music Festival held ever year in Manchester, Tenn.)
Senegal has wound up the crowds for the likes of zydeco greats Clifton Chenier and Rockin’ Dopsie, as well as Lightin’ Hopkins, Lil’ Buck and the Top Cats, the Cowboy Stew Revue and even his own band in the ’70s — Love Ltd. Orchestra. “But he’s most known for his dancing abilities,” Adcock says. “He’s told me, ‘Charlie, I got wiggles worms ain’t learned.'”
Donnalroo kicks off on Sunday, Oct. 28, at 4 p.m. at Grant Street Dancehall in Lafayette, featuring performances by Lil’ Buck Sinegal, Buckwheat Zydeco, Sonny Landreth, Steve Riley, C.C. Adcock, Curley Taylor, Warren Storm, Michael Juan Nunez, Rockin’ Dopsie Jr. and the Zydeco Twisters, Roddie Romero and the Hub City All-Stars and Patrick Henry and the Liberation Band. Admission is $15 at the door.