The Kirkland Town Library (KTL) and Hamilton’s Burke Library have announced the schedule of events for the program “America’s Music: A Film History of Our Popular Music from Blues to Bluegrass to Broadway.” The first session, Blues and Gospel Music, will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 3, at 7 p.m. at the Kirkland Town Library. Hamilton College Professor of Music Lydia Hamessley will lecture and clips from Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: Episode 1, “Feel Like Going Home” and “Say Amen, Somebody”, will be shown.
All screenings are free and open to the public.
In conjunction with the America’s Music film series, a blues concert featuring local poet and musician Roger Smith will take place on Friday, Sept. 6, at 8 p.m., at the KTL. His poems and stories have appeared in Beginnings Magazine; State Street Press, Tiger’s Eye Journal, Love After 70, (Wising-up Press Anthology); Third Wednesday (Spring 2012, runner-up poetry prize) and Trajectory Journal (fall, 2013), among others. The concert is also free and open to the public.
KTL and Burke Library were joint recipients of a $2500 National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH) grant to fund a six-week program series of documentary film screenings and scholar-led discussions of 20th century American popular music. KTL and Burke Library are among 50 sites nationwide selected to host this program series.
The schedule is as follows:
Session 1: The Blues and Gospel Music
Tuesday, Sept. 3, 7 p.m. Explore the birth of the blues from its African roots to its eventual prominence in places like Memphis, Chicago, New York and beyond. Clips from Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: Episode 1, “Feel Like Going Home” and Say Amen, Somebody. Location is Kirkland Town Library.
Session 2: Broadway and Tin Pan Alley
Tuesday, Sept. 17, 7 p.m. The 100-year history of musical theater and the story of its relationship to 20th-century American life. Screening of Broadway: The American Musical: Episode 2, “Syncopated City (1919-1933).” Location is Bradford Auditorium, Kirner-Johnson Building, Hamilton College.
Session 3: Swing Jazz
Monday, Sept. 30, 7 p.m. Spans nearly a century of jazz styles, while also highlighting America’s first integrated all-women swing band. Clip from Ken Burns’ Jazz: Episode 6, “Swing, the Velocity of Celebration” and a screening of International Sweethearts of Rhythm. Kirkland Town Library.
Session 4: Country and Bluegrass
Tuesday, Oct. 15, 7 p.m. Country and Bluegrass traces the emergence of bluegrass from Appalachian descendants of Scotch-Irish settlers into a popular subgenre of country music. Screening of High Lonesome: The Story of Bluegrass Music. Bradford Auditorium, Kirner-Johnson Building, Hamilton College.
Session 5: Rock
Monday, Oct. 28, 7 p.m. Moving between past and present to explore the birth of the blues out of the Mississippi Delta. Screening of The History of Rock n Roll: Episode 6, “Plugging In.” Kirkland Town Library.
Session 6: Latin Rhythms from Mambo to Hip Hop
Thursday, Nov. 14, 7 p.m. How mambo -- the Cuban hybrid of traditional dance fused with syncopated Afro-Caribbean rhythms -- migrated to New York City from Havana in the 1940s and broke social and musical rules. Clips from Latin Music USA: Episode 1, “Bridges” and From Mambo to Hip Hop: A South Bronx Tale. Bradford Auditorium, Kirner-Johnson Building, Hamilton College.
“America’s Music” is a project by the Tribeca Film institute in collaboration with the American Library Association, Tribeca Flashpoint, and the Society for American Music. The program has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor.
“America’s Music,” designed for a general audience, will introduce genres of 20th century American popular music that are deeply connected to the history, culture and geography of the United States. Older and younger Americans alike will have the chance to recognize how the cultural landscapes that they take for granted today have been influences by the development of the popular music forms discussed in this series.