Its Blueswomen, Jazz men, African roots and branches. Chicago blues singer Shemekia Copeland‘s father, the late blues guitarist Johnny Copeland brought her into his music as a child. As an adult, she found new ways to use blues to express her perspective. We’ll hear from some of Shemekia’s heroes including Etta James, Ruth Brown, Alberta Hunter and Big Mama Thornton. Then a conversation and performance by Boston-based Mandinka balafon player Balla Kouyaté and music inspired by and from the continent of Africa from Randy Weston, Miriam Makeba and the Modern Jazz Quartet.
Shemekia Copeland photo by Mike White
Join us to celebrate the National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellows. Each year, the NEA recognizes traditional artists for their excellence and contributions to our nation’s heritage. It’s the highest award in the traditional arts. This year’s honorees include: Filipino rondalla musician Tagumpay Mendoza De Leon; Osage ribbon worker and ceramicist Anita Fields; documentary filmmaker and preservationist Tom Davenport; Louisiana’s Winnsboro Easter Rock gospel ensemble; Hill Country blues drummer and guitarist Cedric Burnside; Puerto Rican mundillo lace weaver Nellie Vera; Irish flute and whistle maven Joanie Madden; Chicago tap dancer Reginald “Reggio the Hoofer” McLaughlin; and the Mexican American band from East Los Angeles, Los Lobos. Plus music from prior awardees including Del McCoury, Mavis Staples, Dr. Michael White and John Lee Hooker.