Folk music is a creative crossroad, which we boast here in Kansas city. The genre stems from a tradition of oral history or songs that have no author. This week, the Folk Alliance International conference will be held at the Westin Hotel at Crown Center. The conference draws over 2,000 artists and fans dedicated to folk music. This year Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee will be awarded the Legacy Lifetime Achievement Award as both of them passed away in 1986/1996 respectively. These two Black artists established themselves as a duo in New York in 1942 breaking onto the folk scene alongside Leadbelly. They worked from 1958 – 1980’s, touring, and recording dozens of albums. Despite their later fame as “pure” folk artists playing for white audiences, Terry and McGhee also fronted a jump blues combo which was considered “race” music. This was how they remained faithful to their roots and their audience. The Folk Alliance International conference runs from Feb. 17 – Feb. 21.
Folk Alliance International is an ArtsKC Catalyst Grant recipient.
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