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International Delta Blues Project

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Delta Center hosts Amherst, Mississippi State, Wisconsin and Yale students

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University of Wisconsin students visited Dockery Farms as part of their Geography of the Mississippi Delta course.

 

The Delta Center for Culture and Learning recently hosted several groups of college and university students conducting experiential learning tours of the Mississippi Delta.

Yale University students gather at The Delta Center's Cast of Blues exhibit.

Yale University students gather at The Delta Center’s Cast of Blues exhibit.

Students from Amherst College in Massachusetts, Mississippi State University, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Yale University traveled to the Delta as part of a variety of structured educational and cultural programs. These included spring break service learning initiatives, Jewish Hillel student organizations and a formal course on the Mississippi Delta.

The students from Yale stayed in the region for a week, touring Mound Bayou and Po Monkey’s Lounge while completing service projects with Delta Hands for Hope of Shaw, Mississippi. The Amherst and Mississippi State groups visited The Delta Center on the same day, visiting Dockery Farms and the Fannie Lou Hamer Memorial Garden in Ruleville.

The University of Wisconsin students visited The Delta Center for the first time as part of a course about the geography and culture of the Delta.

“We learned that the geography course has been offered at the University of Wisconsin for several years now,” said Dr. Rolando Herts, director of The Delta Center. “It is fascinating and exciting to know that such a course about the Mississippi Delta exists at a major research university like Wisconsin.”

Over 40 students from the University of Wisconsin visited the Delta as part of their enrollment in the course. Based on feedback from the visiting faculty and students, interest in the culture and history of the Delta at Wisconsin is strong.

University of Wisconsin students receiving their orientation to the Mississippi Delta at Delta State.

University of Wisconsin students receiving their orientation to the Mississippi Delta at Delta State.

“Their university administration, including the president, is very supportive of that course,” said Lee Aylward of The Delta Center. “We look forward to working with them and the other groups again.”

The mission of The Delta Center is to promote greater understanding of Mississippi Delta culture and history, and its significance to the world through education, partnerships and community engagement. The Delta Center serves as the management entity of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area and is the home of the International Delta Blues Project. For more information, visit http://deltacenterdsu.com/.

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River Kings 2 Tour coming to campus

By | Delta Center, International Delta Blues Project, QEP, Students | No Comments

The Office of Student Life, Quality Enhancement Plan, the International Delta Blues Project, the Delta Center for Culture and Learning, and the Delta Music Institute are partnering to host Southern hip-hop artists and social activists Marco Pavé and Alfred Banks on April 11 for two events open to the Delta State community and public.

These events are part of the sustainability mission of Delta State’s annual Winning the Race Conference.

Event #1 – 12:15 to 1:30 p.m. in Baioni Conference Center:
Scott Barretta from the International Delta Blues Project will moderate a lunch panel featuring Pavé and Alfred Banks. The discussion will center on the intersections of music, social justice and activism, as well as discussing music entrepreneurship, the creative economy and regional musical influences. Lunch will be provided for attendees. The event will be in the Baioni Conference Center in Broom Hall from 12:15-1:30 pm.

Event #2 – Union First Floor Lounge from 4-6 p.m.:
Pavé and Banks will perform a casual, lounge-style concert in the Union. Refreshments will be available. This interactive event is an opportunity to hear the duo perform, as well aa ask questions about their music, influences and activism.

Pavé, a Memphis native, and Banks, from New Orleans, have built solid followings in and around their respective cities and beyond. Pavé has been featured on Apple music, MTV, The Root and has delivered a Ted Talk on arts entrepreneurship. Banks has been featured on RevoltTv, BBC Russia, on several national tours, and has a song featured in a Volkswagen commercial. On their own, they both have viable careers, but in the summer of 2016 they decided to join forces and tour together through the River Kings Tour. Their 2016 efforts were so successful that round two will be an 18-city tour.

William Bell acknowledges the audience for their standing ovation following his performance at GRAMMY Museum Mississippi on Oct. 12.

International Delta Blues Project, GRAMMY partner for free public film and music event

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The Delta Center’s International Delta Blues Project at Delta State University recently partnered with GRAMMY Museum Mississippi to present a free, public event of educational film and live music on Oct. 12.

The “Take Me to the River” community film screening is one of several Blues Leadership Incubator events that have been offered by the International Delta Blues Project. The incubator events focus on economic opportunity related to blues education and tourism in the Mississippi Delta. The events are free and open to the public through a generous grant from the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation.

Martin Shore introduces his film "Take Me to the River."

Martin Shore introduces his film “Take Me to the River.”

Nearly 150 guests from throughout the Delta gathered at the museum to see a 45-minute version of the critically-acclaimed documentary “Take Me to the River,” produced by Martin Shore and created at historic Royal Studios in Memphis. The film brings multiple generations of award-winning Memphis and Mississippi Delta musicians together, following them through the creative process of recording a historic new album. “Take Me To The River” features Terrence Howard, William Bell, Snoop Dog, Mavis Staples, Otis Clay, Lil P-Nut, Charlie Musselwhite, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Yo Gotti, Bobby Rush, Frayser Boy, The North Mississippi Allstars and many more.

After viewing the film, the crowd enjoyed live performances from The Hi Rhythm section (featuring Charles and Leroy Hodges), Stax Music Academy Alumni Band, William Bell, Frayser Boy, Al Kapone, and GRAMMY winner Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell, owner of Royal Studios. Mitchell recently served as keynote speaker for Delta State’s International Conference on the Blues during a Blues Brunch held at the museum.

According to Frayser Boy, an Academy Award winner for Best Original Song, these performances are as much about education as they are entertainment.

“I come from a hip-hop background. I never really used live music in performances before I was invited to be a part of this project,” he said. “But these guys have taught me more in a couple of years than the 15 or so previous years I was working in this business. All these old guys — these guys that have spent their lives making music — they taught me to better understand where music comes from, and how important it is to our communities. Just as importantly, they are teaching me how to make a career out of this, not just a single record. To do that, I need to know where my music comes from and why it was made the way it was made.”

To underscore the educational emphasis of the event, the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area was invited to open the program with oral history documentaries created by students from Delta Hands for Hope of Shaw, Mississippi, and the Rosedale Freedom Project of Rosedale, Mississippi. The students attended after-school workshops learning film and oral history skills through a grant from the MDNHA. The students interviewed and photographed Mississippi Delta residents to learn how music has influenced their lives.

Attendees linger in the lobby of the museum and visit with the musicians following the performance.

Attendees linger in the lobby of the museum and visit with the musicians following the performance.

“The ‘Take Me To The River’ program was one of the best nights of music we’ve had at the museum,” said Jane Marie Dawkins, education and public programs manager for the museum. “The artists, film and student projects all provided a very entertaining and educational experience. It meant a lot to us to showcase this music from our region, and it was an unforgettable night at GRAMMY Museum Mississippi.”

For more information about the International Delta Blues Project, visit http://www.internationaldeltabluesproject.com/.

The mission of The Delta Center is to promote greater understanding of Mississippi Delta culture and history and its significance to the world through education, partnerships and community engagement. The Delta Center serves as the management entity of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area and is the home of the International Delta Blues Project and the National Endowment for the Humanities “Most Southern Place On Earth” workshops. For more information, visit http://deltacenterdsu.com/.