The Mississippi Blues Project (MBP) is a concert series and online interactive initiative that showcases the Mississippi blues as a vibrant folk art form. Through a series of four concert performances between August 2012 and May 2013, the Mississippi Blues Project will bring live music to audiences in the Greater Philadelphia area, and be available virtually to listeners around the nation.
The series artists have been selected for their unique style, personal history, stature among their fellow artists, and their role in the continuing evolution of the Mississippi Blues. The series artists include:
- Cedric Burnside
- Big George Brock
- Terry Harmonica Bean
- Jimmy “Duck” Holmes
- Anthony “Big A” Sherrod
- Robert “Wolfman” Belfour
- The Homemade Jamz Blues Band
- James “Super Chikan” Johnson
The MBP website will become a repository of content from four performances, each featuring a pair of artists, as well as artist interviews which will air on WXPN’s The Blues Show and World Cafe®. Capturing live performances will contribute to the long tradition of field recording – and limited studio recording – of Mississippi Blues. The site features essays, links and resources about the Mississippi Blues, video and audio from additional blues artists who have contributed to the art over the years.
Rounding out the Project are two outreach activities, an educational engagement with Philadelphia’s Live Connections, and a screening of Roger Stolle and Jeff Konkel’s documentary “We Juke Up In Here” at the African-American Museum in Philadelphia. Through all of its elements the Mississippi Blues Project will connect artists and audiences, and foster new appreciation for the past, present and future of this foundational genre. The Mississippi Blues Project is produced by WXPN-FM in Philadelphia.
The Executive Producer of the Mississippi Blues Project is Bruce Warren, the Assistant Station Manager at WXPN and Executive Producer of World Cafe®.
Project Consultant to the Mississippi Blues Project is Jonny Meister, host of The Blues Show on WXPN since 1977 and The Blues & Beyond which is distributed nationally via the Public Radio Exchange. The Blues Show was selected by Philadelphia Magazine as the best local radio show in Philadelphia in 1996, and in 2000, Meister was a recipient of the “Keeping The Blues Alive” award from The Blues Foundation for work in public radio. An authority on Chicago bluesman J.B. Lenoir, Meister contributed to liner notes on the CD Vietnam Blues. He also was a consultant to director Wim Wenders for the film The Soul Of A Man, part of the PBS film series The Blues produced by Martin Scorsese.
The Mississippi Blues Project has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.
WXPN is the nationally recognized leader in Triple A radio and the premier guide for discovering new and significant artists in rock, blues, roots, and folk. A non-commercial, member-supported radio service of the University of Pennsylvania, WXPN produces World Cafe®, public radio’s most popular program of popular music hosted by David Dye and syndicated by NPR, and the Peabody Award winning Kids Corner hosted by Kathy O’Connell. WXPN also produces the alternative rock service, XPN2 as its secondary radio channel in HD. WXPN serves the greater Philadelphia area at 88.5 FM, the Lehigh Valley at 104.9, Worton/Baltimore at 90.5 FM, Lancaster/York at 88.7 FM, Harrisburg at 99.7 FM, and the world via online streaming at XPN.org.
About The Philadelphia Music Project
The Philadelphia Music Project (PMP), a program of The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, was initiated in 1989 to foster artistic excellence and innovation in the region’s music community. PMP meets this objective by supporting commissions and productions of new works, presentations of large-scale, rarely performed, or culturally significant works or repertoires, interdisciplinary collaborations, and similar programmatic enhancements. Music organizations, independent presenters, and individual artists working in any genre may apply for grants to present adventurous and imaginative work.
PMP also sponsors seminars, symposia, and study trips intended to explore issues relevant to the field. Sessions have addressed marketing/public relations, audience and board development, strategic planning, technology, journalism, and residency/ outreach programming. In addition, PMP brings composers, directors, music writers, and arts administrators at the top of their fields to conduct lectures and panel discussions on topics of specific interest to PMP constituents.
Modest grants for professional development are available to organizations and individuals. Professional development grants are intended to advance recipients’ practice and enable them to build working relationships within their respective communities. More information here.
Since the program’s inception in 1989, PMP has underwritten 316 projects with support totaling more than $15 million. The Philadelphia Music Project is funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts and administered by The University of the Arts. For additional information on PMP, including a listing of previously funded projects, please visit www.pcah.us/music.