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Concerts & Events

Saturday, February 24, 2024  ·  10:00 AM CST

Black History Folk Futures Symposium

4545 N Lincoln Ave · The Myron R. Szold Music & Dance Hall · 773.728.6000

Web Header: Scott Family, A Black American string band in Michigan, circa 1900

Join us for the inaugural Black History Month symposium at the Old Town School of Folk Music, titled "Black History, Folk Futures." This event aims to foster open, accessible, and rigorous discussions about the intersections of Black history and folk music traditions. Through panel discussions, presentations, performances, and workshops, we'll explore the rich tapestry of Black musical heritage and its influence on contemporary folk music. Partnering with the Old Town School's Resource Center/library, attendees will have access to archives, records, and scholarly resources. Let's celebrate the contributions of Black musicians, composers, and cultural innovators while envisioning a liberated future.

10:00 AM Sign In and Coffee
11:00 AM Matthew Morrison Keynote
12:30 PM Lunch
1:30 PM Breakout sessions
(Available sessions: “Black Gospel Music and Sociocultural Implications in the United States,” “Disco Demolition & House Music,” and “Hymns Reimagined: Improvisational Jam Sessions”)

3:00 PM Break and Snacks; Resource Center group excursion
3:30 PM Breakout Sessions
(Available sessions: Hip-Hop: “From Africa to the Bronx” and “Hymns Reimagined: Improvisational Jam Sessions”)

5:30 PM Angel Bat Dawid Closing Performance

For more information on the speakers and performers involved in this event, please visit Symposium Speakers and Artists page.

Keynote by Matthew Morrison

Legacies of Blackface Minstrelsy in the Making of American Folk Music

This Keynote interrogates the historical entanglements of Blackface Minstrelsy within the fabric of American folk music, revealing the enduring legacies and complex dynamics that continue to shape our understanding of this musical tradition. Through critical analysis and scholarly discourse, we aim to unravel the intricate connections between Blackface Minstrelsy and the evolution of American folk music, shedding light on the enduring influence and contested narratives that persist to this day.

The Tyrannical Perpetual Perversion of Black Music

A Semonic Performance By Angel Bat Dawid

This session critically examines the complex narrative of Black music, exploring its journey through societal transformations and cultural revolutions. Through an interdisciplinary lens, we will delve into how Black music has shaped America's cultural landscape, serving as a conduit for resilience, protest, celebration, and cultural preservation.

Hip-Hop: From Africa to the Bronx

A Performative Lecture Led By Amina Norman-Hawkins

This session delves into Hip-Hop feminism, exploring its role in empowering voices within the African American community. We'll dissect the historical roots and contemporary manifestations of Hip-Hop culture, highlighting its socio-cultural impact and the voices of Black women who challenge the status quo.

Disco Demolition & House Music

In Conversation With Dj Lady D

Uncover the cultural shifts and musical movements of Disco Demolition and House Music's evolution, examining its socio-political implications and lasting influence. We'll explore the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and music, offering fresh insights into this pivotal moment of musical history.

Hymns Reimagined: Improvisational Jam Sessions

Led by artists Eva Supreme, Jaden Esi, Julian Otis, and Charlie Greene

Immerse yourself in the world of African American hymns through participatory jam sessions. From spirituals to gospel hymns, we'll celebrate the enduring legacy of African American hymnody, inviting participants to engage in music-making, harmonizing, and storytelling. Bring your instruments and voice and join in on this Black American folk tradition!

Black Gospel Music and Sociocultural Implications in the United States

A Call and Response led by Kent Brooks

Explore the profound role of Gospel music within Black spirituality, tracing its roots on the continent and contemporary expressions. We'll highlight its transformative power and enduring influence on the global landscape, inviting session participants to experience the divine harmony that has resonated through generations.