Wednesday, August 14, 2013

America's Music Series, August 10-October 19


Click the logo for the list of discussions and performances scheduled at BPL

Celebrate America’s music! America's Music is a series of public programs created by the Tribeca Film Institute™ in partnership with the American Library Association and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and in consultation with the Society for American Music. The programs feature documentary screenings and scholar-led discussions of 20th century American popular music. The sessions will focus on uniquely American musical genres: blues andgospel, Broadway, jazz, bluegrass and country, rock 'n' roll, and mambo and hip hop.

August Schedule:


August 10, 2:00-4:00 p.m.
The Blues and Gospel Music
Southside Library, 1814 11th Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35205


Explore the birth of the blues from its African roots to its eventual prominence in places like Memphis, Chicago, New York and beyond. Two films will be featured: Martin Scorsese's The Blues: Feel Like Going Home and Say Amen, Somebody.


August 13, 2013, 6:30 p.m.
Gospel and Blues 
Central Library, 2100 Park Place, Birmingham, AL  35203

Dr. Anthony Pattin, Professor Emeritus, University of Montevallo, will guide us through asurvey of American musical styles that preceded and brought on the advent of American Gospel Music.  Theses styles include ragtime, cakewalk, Negro Spirituals, blues and jazz.  The presentation will also discuss the influence of these styles on American and European Classical composers.  Various style of gospel music will be performed and explored.

August 22, 2013, 6:30 p.m.
America’s Music celebrates Alabama Blues Women: Debbie Bond, SharBaby, and Elnora Spencer
Central Library, 2100 Park Place, Birmingham, AL  35203
Hear three greats come together to celebrate the blues!

Blues singer, guitar player, SharBaby settled in Alabama in 2006 after performing at the Freedom Creek Blues Festival, connecting with the late great Willie King and the rich blues culture of Alabama where she finally felt at home. Often compared to Jessie Mae Hemphill, she cites Hubert Sumlin and Howlin' wolf as early influences. SharBaby's music has received international critical acclaim for its mix of good-time soulful traditional blues with contemporary originality.

Singer, guitar player, songwriter, Debbie Bond has been paying her dues in the Alabama backwoods for over 30 years. She is a blues activist and founded the Alabama Blues Project,  to promote and preserve the states great blues heritage. One of her projects is the Exhibition "Red Hot and Blue: A Spotlight on Alabama Blues Women," which celebrated past Alabama Blues women. Her musical story includes years of performing with older, traditional Alabama blues musicians, in clubs, festival stages, and schools including Johnny Shines, Eddie Kirkland, Willie King and more.  Her immersion in the blues has deeply flavored her guitar playing, soulful voice and song writing, yet her sound is contemporary and original, incorporating soul, blues rock and even country influences. This unique musical synthesis can be heard on her latest album, Hearts Are Wild.
Adamsville born Elnora Spencer came from a musical family and has now been singing the blues for over 40 years. Famous for her big voice and outstanding vocal range, over the years she has opened and played with many blues greats, including B.B. King, Bobby Blue Bland, Percy Sledge, Johnny Taylor and more. Voted Birmingham’s best vocalist multiple times, she brings her own powerful version of classic blues to modern times.

August 24, 2013, 2-4 p.m.
Broadway and Tin Pan Alley
Central Library, 2100 Park Place, Birmingham, AL  35203
Dr. Steven Roberts, discussion facilitator

Broadway in the 1920s was a showcase for the sweeping changes transforming American culture in the early 20th century, including new roles for women, the mixing of social classes in new settings like Prohibition-era speakeasies and creative innovation by African Americans in jazz clubs and music halls. New word and music smiths writing for Tin Pan Alley and Broadway’s musical revues created their syncopated rhythms borrowed from the jazz craze and their lyrics helped create a vibrant, witty new American argot.   Join us for a look at what this music added to the all American landscape.


August 12 – September 6, 2013 Exhibit available during regular library hours
Red, Hot and Blue: A Spotlight on Alabama Blues Women
Central Library, 2100 Park Place, Birmingham, AL  35203
In 2005 the Alabama Blues Project launched a traveling exhibition on Alabama blues women called Red, Hot and Blue: A Spotlight on Alabama Blues Women. The exhibition includes beautiful text panels featuring Dinah Washington, Big Mama Thornton, Lucille Bogan, Coot Grant, Odetta, Lil Greenwood, and Vera Hall.  The Alabama Blues Project’s mission is to preserve and promote Alabama blues.

For more info on the entire series, visit BPL's website on America's Music.

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