December 4th – 8th | Duke Performances Presents Music Maker 25 | The Fruit | Durham, NC

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Music Maker 25th Anniversary Events

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December 4th – 8th | Duke Performances Presents Music Maker 25 | The Fruit | Durham, NC

Longstanding institutional barriers prevent many musicians from accessing the resources needed to live and make music. For 25 years, Music Maker Relief Foundation — a groundbreaking nonprofit organization based in Hillsborough, NC — has ensured that the voices of hundreds of extraordinary and unheralded blues and folk musicians are not silenced by poverty and time. In celebration of its 25th anniversary, Music Maker collaborates with Duke Performances for a weeklong music series and exhibition at The Fruit in downtown Durham that spotlights pioneering contributors preserving the rich musical traditions of the South.

MUSIC MAKER 25 all-access package – http://bit.ly/MusicMaker25package

PICKERS & STORYTELLERS: Dom Flemons, “Blind Boy” Paxton, Jake Xerxes Fussell & Gail Caesar

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 4 | 8 PM
THE FRUIT

Tickets: http://bit.ly/PickersStorytellers
General Admission Seating

Music Maker 25 opens at The Fruit with a celebration of the next generation of Piedmont Blues boundary-pushers and tradition-preservers. Founding Carolina Chocolate Drops member Dom Flemons, 2018 GRAMMY nominee for Black Cowboys and “equal parts studious folklorist, multi-instrumentalist, and American griot” (St. Pete Catalyst), pulls from repertoire covering more than a century of American musical tradition. Hailed by The Wall Street Journal as “virtually the only music-maker of his generation playing guitar, banjo, piano, and violin to fully assimilate the blues idiom,” Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton reaches back with his faithful renditions of 1920s and 30s songbook repertoire. Two accomplished pickers — Durham-based Jake Xerxes Fussell and Pittsville, Virginia-based Gail Caesar — further demonstrate that the future of the music is in good hands. Each artist will perform a short set and close out the show together in a finale of their favorites.

SOUTHERN VOICES: Lonnie Holley & Alexa Rose

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 5 | 8 PM
THE FRUIT

Tickets: http://bit.ly/SouthernVoices
General Admission Seating

Thursday evening at Music Maker 25 features individual sets from two distinct Southern voices — multidisciplinary visual artist and improvisational musician Lonnie Holley and Southwest Virginia mountain native and roots musician Alexa Rose. A journeyman and sculptor who recorded his first ever album of music in his sixties, Holley has lived an unparalleled life, one reflected in the captivating fare of 2012’s Just Before Music and last year’s sprawling MITH. Of that latter full-length, The Quietus hailed it as “a record that, far from being cartoonish or hackneyed, feels tangible and rings true.” Rose, compared to the likes of Joni Mitchell and Hurray for the Riff Raff, is developing a sound distinctly her own. Drawing inspiration from her Appalachian heritage, her voice “stands out with depth and complexity, capable of gymnastic yodels and deep resonance” (Cary Magazine).

ZYDECO: Major Handy featuring Reggie Dural

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 6 | 8 PM
THE FRUIT

Tickets: http://bit.ly/MM25Zydeco
General Admission Seating

For one memorable night, the history and evolution of the Creole Zydeco tradition will be on display. A veteran of Buckwheat Zydeco and Rockin’ Dopsie’s groups, as well as a seasoned bandleader in his own right, accordion virtuoso Major Handy has spent decades honing his craft. Informed by his French Creole heritage and still going strong nearly a decade and a half following Hurricane Katrina, his music captures the potency and eclecticism of the zydeco genre. At 75, Buckwheat Zydeco heir Reggie Dural joins Handy, each artist trading off lead on an evening-length zydeco dance party heavy with accordion and rub board.

NATIVE AMERICAN: Pura Fé, Cary Morin, Deer Clan Singers & Lakota John

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 7 | 1 PM
THE FRUIT

Tickets: http://bit.ly/MM25NativeAmerican
General Admission Seating

At this Saturday matinee presentation, an intergenerational mix of performers from the U.S. and Canada demonstrates the extraordinary range of sounds and musical styles being advanced by Native American artists. Over the past 25 years, Pura Fé’s voice has graced records by the Indigo Girls, Robert Mirabal, and The Band’s Robbie Robertson, among others. Her own albums, with a capella trio Ulali as well as solo, place her mesmerizing vocals front and center. Born and raised in Montana, Crow tribal member Cary Morin shifted from the rock-oriented ensemble The Atoll to the acoustic fingerpicking now synonymous with his solo work. Sharing Tuscarora lineage with Pura Fé, the Deer Clan Singers bring indigenous traditions into the present. Pura Fé hosts the proceedings, with opening sets by Morin and Deer Clan Singers. Scarcely into his twenties, Pembroke-based Lumbee and Lakota guitarist Lakota John & Kin perform in the exhibition space at The Fruit prior to the performance.

BLUES REVUE: Cool John Ferguson, Alabama Slim, Pat “Mother Blues” Cohen, Pura Fé & Cary Morin, Music Director: Timothy Duffy

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 7 | 8 PM
THE FRUIT

Tickets: http://bit.ly/MM25BluesRevue
General Admission Seating

Music Maker founder Timothy Duffy directs the house band for Saturday evening’s “Music Maker Blues Revue,” the organization’s signature traveling showcase. Left-handed lowcountry electric bluesman Cool John Ferguson started in gospel groups, building a reputation for outstanding live performances characterized by his upside-down guitar technique. He has earned high praise from the legendary Taj Mahal, who likened Ferguson to Jimi Hendrix and Django Reinhardt. Another blues authority, octogenarian Alabama Slim, recorded his debut album, The Mighty Flood, in 2007; that album and its 2010 follow-up Blue and Lonesome proved well worth the wait, each a robust collection of history and heartache. Joining them are longtime New Orleans singer Pat “Mother Blues” Cohen, blues polymath Pura Fé, and inimitable guitarist Cary Morin.

GOSPEL: The Branchettes with special guest Phil Cook

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 8 | 1 PM
THE FRUIT

Tickets: http://bit.ly/MM25Gospel1
General Admission Seating

The Sunday proceedings at Music Maker 25 celebrate the gospel tradition. The matinee features The Branchettes, a Johnston County, NC duo composed of vocalist Lena Mae Perry and pianist Wilbur Tharpe, who are devoted to sharing the songs and congregational hymns that live in their hearts. Having previously tapped Perry for his own Southland Revue shows and in other collaborative efforts, gospel’s influence on Phil Cook’s inimitable vocal delivery is unmistakable. Aquarium Drunkard praised his 2018 album People Are My Drug as a vital product of our times, adding that “the Durham-based singer/songwriter clearly views his mission as a celebratory one, recognizing that the work required right now is good work to do.” In recent years, Cook has also worked with Hiss Golden Messenger and Mavis Staples, an indication of his impressive range. Cook joins The Branchettes for a special collaboration.

GOSPEL: The Glorifying Vines Sisters

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 8 | 7 PM
THE FRUIT

Tickets: http://bit.ly/MM25Gospel2
General Admission Seating

Music Maker 25 closes out Sunday evening with a gospel set featuring the The Glorifying Vines Sisters. The Glorifying Vines represent a divine musical tradition, one that dates back to the singing quartets of the 1930s. Fittingly, The News & Observer once praised the gospel singing group for “bringing old-school tent-revival fervor to unexpected places.” Led by Alice Vines, the Eastern North Carolina family band has taken their gripping devotionals wherever the spirit leads them, no matter if the venue is sacred or secular. Alice Vines is joined by vocalists Audrey Vines, Melody Harper, Curtis Harper, Johnny Ray Daniels, and Anthony Daniels, who will trade off on lead and welcome additional family to the stage for guest performances, a triumphant close to this five-day celebration of Music Maker Relief Foundation, a North Carolina and national treasure.

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