The William Grant Still Arts Center Presents
“I Got My Pride” – The Blues Tales of Leadbelly
March 1-June 7, 2014
Opening Reception and Concert: Saturday, March 1, 3:00-6:00pm
Live music by Marcus L. Miller, “King of the Rockin’ Blues” Gregg Wright, and guest musicians featuring compositions by Leadbelly and those he influenced.
Culminating Youth Concert: Saturday, April 26, 2014- Save the Date! (time to be announced)
“I GOT MY PRIDE” – THE BLUES TALES OF LEADBELLY will exhibit recordings, magazine articles, concert posters, original photographs, writings by Pete Seeger and others from influential publications Living Blues and Downbeat, interviews, and archival material to develop the story of Leadbelly’s powerful life as a musician. A creator, a triumphant songster, and a music historian, Folk and Blues pioneer Leadbelly made songs from the stories and challenges of his own life, and the lives of others he had known.
The exhibit will address the complexity of Leadbelly’s relationship with documentation and performance, his years of work with the Lomax family, and how his playing was influential in carrying the stories of past generations traumatized by prison, field work, and slavery to influence the trajectory of blues musicians of his own generation such as Blind Lemon Jefferson, Brownie McGee, and Josh White. Leadbelly’s influence also bridged to subsequent generations of musicians of broad social and cultural influence including artists as varied as Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Odetta, Harry Belafonte, the Weavers, the Beatles, Bernice Reagon and Sweet Honey in the Rock, the low-fi sounds of X and Kurt Cobain, and beyond. Of note is that during Leadbelly’s short residence in Los Angeles in the 1940s is that he lived near Exposition and Western, in West Adams.
The music of Leadbelly is also being presented in conjunction with DCA’s African-American Heritage Music Education Program. Through this series, the William Grant Still Arts Center focuses on teaching music and cultural history to beginning and intermediate students of all ages through practice and playing experience via the works of groundbreaking musical innovators in the tradition of the Arts Center’s namesake, Dr. William Grant Still.
A culminating youth and community concert, featuring student performances of compositions influenced by learning Folk and Blues traditions through the work of Leadbelly, will take place on April 26, 2014.
Original artwork drawn from a photograph of Leadbelly by Aise Bourne.