America’s Music features documentary film screenings, performances, and scholar-led discussions of 20th century American popular music. Dr. Esther Morgan-Ellis of the University of North Georgia Music department will lead discussions about the historical context and social impact of each musical genre.
These events are free and open to the public.
Wednesday, January 15, 6 pm UNG Dahlonega, Library Technology Center room 382
Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues
From executive producer Martin Scorsese, this Emmy-winning series follows the blues—the foundation of jazz, soul, R&B and rock & roll—from its African roots to its Mississippi Delta origins, up the river to Memphis and Chicago, then to New York, the UK, and beyond. We will focus on the Feel Like Going Home segment.
Image courtesy of Sony Music/Legacy Recordings
Say Amen, Somebody
This 1982 documentary breaks down the roots of gospel music, examining the lives and careers of a handful of since-departed gospel stars, who helped create the genre from which so many other forms of music flowed.
Image copyright © 2012 George Nierenberg
Wednesday, January 22, 6 pm UNG Dahlonega, Library Technology Center room 382
Broadway: The American Musical
This six-part series tells two stories: the hundred-year history of musical theater and the story of its relationship to twentieth-century American life. It begins with the immigrant experience at the turn of the century, when a melting pot of voices and styles gave rise to a popular new form of entertainment, and ends with today’s Broadway, where big-budget new productions and revivals of classic favorites compete side by side for box office success.
We will focus on Episode 2: Syncopated City.
Wednesday, January 29, 6 pm UNG Dahlonega, Library Technology Center room 382
Ken Burns’ Jazz
This series spans nearly a century of jazz styles, from the martial rhythms of James Reese Europe to the soul-jazz of Grover Washington Jr. Episode 6: Swing: The Velocity of Celebration.
Photograph by Cornell Capa
International Sweethearts of Rhythm
From the Piney Woods School in the Mississippi Delta to the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York City, this toe-tapping film tells the story of the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, America’s first integrated all-women swing band. A 16-piece band with a strong brass section, heavy percussion, and a deep rhythmic sense, the Sweethearts were not just a novelty but featured many of the best female musicians of the day.
Image courtesy of Jezebel Productions
Wednesday, February 12, 6 pm UNG Dahlonega, Library Technology Center room 382
High Lonesome: The Story of Bluegrass Music
This 1991 documentary frames its historical survey around Bill Monroe, the father of Kentucky bluegrass. As Monroe visits his old Kentucky home, now dilapidated and full of memories, the film traces the emergence of bluegrass from Appalachian descendants of Scotch-Irish settlers, and a variety of bluegrass greats (including narrator Mac Wiseman) offer informative anecdotes, accompanied by evocative archival footage and concert performances from the bluegrass festival circuit.
Image from the film High Lonesome - The Story of Bluegrass Music
Wednesday, February 19, 6 pm UNG Dahlonega, Library Technology Center room 382
The History of Rock and Roll
This series, first presented in 1995, begins in the pre-rock days of Muddy Waters and Louis Jordan and continues through the birth of the Lollapalooza festival in the mid-1990s. Along the way dozens of big-name performers are on hand to lead us through the story.
We will focus on the Plugging In segment from the series.
Wednesday, February 26, 6 pm UNG Dahlonega, Library Technology Center room 382
Latin Music USA
This fresh take on American musical history reaches across five decades to portray the rich mix of sounds created by Latinos and embraced by all. See the rise of Latin jazz with the great Machito and the explosion of the mambo with Pérez Prado and watch as Latin music infiltrates R&B and rock throughout the 1960s.
We will focus on Episode 1: Bridges.
From Mambo to Hip-Hop: A South Bronx Tale
From Henry Chalfant, this hour-long documentary tells a story about the creative life of the South Bronx, beginning with the Puerto Rican migration and the adoption of Cuban rhythms to create the New York salsa sound; continuing with the fires that destroyed the neighborhood, but not the creative spirit of its people; chronicling the rise of hip-hop from the ashes.
Photo by Henry Chalfant
‘America’s Music: A Film History of Our Popular Music from Blues to Bluegrass to Broadway’ is a project of the Tribeca Film Institute in collaboration with the American Library Association, Tribeca Flashpoint, and the Society for American Music. ‘America’s Music’ has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor.