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GSU’s Center for Performing Arts celebrates the region’s musical legacy with The Blues Hip Hop Experience

Governors State University’s Center for Performing Arts will present “The Blues Hip Hop Experience,” bringing together musicians and others at 8 p.m., Saturday, April 21, to explore the rich blues legacy of the Chicago area and its parallels to hip-hop music.
The show, a combination of poetry, performance and perspectives for a multi-generational audience, will be co-hosted by Billy Branch, a three-time Grammy-nominee and hometown harmonica hero, and Sylvia Ewing, an award-winning journalist and PBS TV personality.  

Branch’s band, The Sons of Blues, will be joined by an all-Chicago collection of vocalists, hip-hop artists and performance poets. Guest vocalists include avery r. young, international music star Ugochi, FM Supreme, Sense and DJ HSHBRN. 

Young Chicago Author’s Jose Oliverez, Urbanized Music featuring Amina Norman Hawkins and Coolout Chris, and break out blues star Melody Angel will make special appearances.

Music has long served as a vehicle to give voice to the plight of the people and to their triumphs. The two all-American musical genres, blues and hip hop, have played a critical role in sharing the stories of African Americans and everyday people.

“These African-American oral traditions bridge generational and cultural divides, uniting people from all backgrounds for a shared experience,” Ewing said. “Billy Branch and I have always believed in and worked side by side with young people. This dedication is our contribution to a creative and just world.”

The production is dedicated to Nick Charles, who died in 2014 and was a longtime member of the Sons of Blues band. He was a protégé of blues legend Howlin’ Wolf. It is also dedicated to Koko Taylor, a Chicago and international legend; to Gwendolyn Brooks, muse of poets and artists and a champion of youth everywhere; and to the young people of the Chicago area.

This performance is the final performance in the 2017-18 “Made in Chicago” series and is funded by The Chicago Community Trust, The National Endowment for the Arts and the Illinois Arts Council. Media sponsors include Vocalo 91.1 and WDCB Radio. 

Tickets are $28. Discounts are available at the box office for seniors, groups of 10 or more, and students with valid ID. Tickets can be purchased online at CenterTickets.net or at  708-235-2222.

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