651 Arts Announces the Mississippi Delta Heritage Project

Jeff Konkel jeffkonkel@HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Apr 28 10:35:00 EDT 2008

Hey, folks. Thought some of our East Coast contingent might be excited to 
read about this awesome event taking place in Brooklyn in June. 

Huge list of awesome talent participating, ranging from Robert Belfour and 
T-Model Ford to Sharde Thomas and the Risin Star Fife and Drum Band. 
Plenty of more mainstream acts, as well, including Cassandra Wilson and 
Toshi Reagon. (Not to mention Jimmy "Duck" Holmes from my label, of 
course). The event takes place over several nights and at a bunch of great 
venues. Promises to be a very high-profile fest.

More below:

For Immediate Release

A multi-evening series of music, theater and dance celebrating the 
Mississippi Delta

Reggie Wilson and Andréya Ouamba
Ping Chong and Talvin Wilks
Sharde Thomas and the Rising Star Fife & Drum Band
Toshi Reagon and BIGLovely
Olu Dara and Dianne McIntyre
T-Model Ford
Terry “Harmonica” Bean
Jimmy “Duck” Holmes
Marie Knight
Robert Belfour
Lobi Traoré | Corey Harris
Michael Hill
Cassandra Wilson

(Brooklyn, New York – April 16, 2008) This spring, Brooklyn-based 
presenting organization, 651 ARTS dedicates its entire annual season to 
the culture, artists and influence of the Mississippi Delta in The 
Mississippi Delta Heritage Project. While the history and impact of the 
Delta Blues tradition is undisputed, few are aware of the contemporary 
artistry that continues to thrive in the region. The Mississippi Delta 
Heritage Project provides a glimpse of this flourishing artistic culture 
to New York audiences. Connections to Delta natives throughout history as 
well as to cutting-edge artists inspired by the Delta tradition are also 
showcased. 651’s Delta Heritage Project is born out of the desire to 
preserve and illuminate a very particular but profound part of 
contemporary culture. 

Acclaimed musicians Cassandra Wilson, Corey Harris, Jimmy “Duck” Holmes, 
Marie Knight, Mali’s Lobi Traoré, the late Otha Turner’s grandaughter, 
Sharde Thomas and the Rising Star Fife and Drum Band, Toshi Reagon and 
BIGLovely, T-Model Ford, Terry “Harmonica” Bean, Michael Hill and 
Robert “Wolfman” Belfour will participate in a series of live concerts, 
master classes and educational activities over a week-long period from 
June 1st – 7th. Venues include the BAM Harvey Theater, the Kumble Theater 
for the Performing Arts at Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus, 
BRICstudio and The Brooklyn Masonic Temple. In homage to what is often 
considered a notorious source of Delta music and blues, 651 ARTS will 
convert Ft. Greene hotspot, Frank’s Cocktail Lounge, into a late night 
juke joint offering a firsthand look at some of the Delta’s best and most 
fascinating bluesmen up close and personal. Catfish and blues will abound 
on Saturday, June 7 in Central Park, where 651 ARTS will be presenting 
Brooklyn blues musician Michael Hill at the 28th annual Way Up North in 
Mississippi Picnic. This event is free and open to the public.

In addition to the musical performances listed above, 651 remains 
committed to developing new work and has commissioned three performance 
works related to or by artists from the Delta. A work-in-progress by 
collaborating master choreographers – Reggie Wilson and Congolese Andréya 
Ouamba takes place on May 9th and 10th (a co-presentation with French 
Institue Alliance Française). Wilson and Ouamba show excerpts of their new 
work The Good Dance which compares the cultural and artisitc dynamics of 
their upbringings adjacent to the Mississippi and Congo rivers. New 
theater work Delta Rising by acclaimed directors and writers, Ping Chong 
and Talvin Wilks will premiere on May 28th and 29th. Delta Rising is part 
of Ping Chong and Co.’s Undesireable Elements Series and uses the real 
stories and performances of a diverse group of Delta ex-patriots. Finally, 
legendary choreographer Dianne McIntyre teams up with with lifelong -
collaborator master jazzman, Olu Dara in a work-in-progress of Peaches, 
Plums and Pontifications on June 3rd and 4th. Peaches, Plums and 
Pontifications adds storytelling and the writings of Zora Neale Hurston, 
as well as tales gathered from individual storytellers, friends and family 
to the choreography and music for which Dara and McIntyre are known.

To round out a continued mission of outreach in the Brooklyn community, 
humanities events and educational programming (workshops and public 
lectures) will take place at community-based organizations and public 
schools throughout the year. 

Tickets are on sale now, and prices range from $10- $100.
For more information about tickets, call 718-636-4181 x2229, or go to 

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