Date & Time
Sunday, December 8, 2019
Logan Center, Performance Penthouse 901
FROM ROBESON TO BROWN – A MODERN CABARET OF PROTEST MUSIC
With Freedom Song Leaders and Maggie Brown
Our capstone concert in our On Whose Shoulders series on December 8 will honor two stalwarts of protest music – Paul Robeson and Oscar Brown Jr. The program will also raise funds for the Rosenberg Fund for Children. Rosenberg Fund Executive Director Jenn Meeropol will make remarks at the concert
Paul Robeson is the son of a former slave turned preacher; Paul Robeson was an All-America football player but rejected a career as a professional athlete and instead obtained a law degree. Because of the lack of opportunity for blacks in the legal profession, he drifted to the stage, making a London debut in 1922. He caused a sensation as an actor and for his bass-baritone singing voice.
Increasing political awareness impelled Robeson to visit the Soviet Union in 1934, and from that year he became increasingly identified with strong left-wing commitments, while continuing his success in concerts, recordings, and theatre. In 1950 the U.S. State Department withdrew his passport because he refused to sign an affidavit disclaiming membership in the Communist Party.
Oscar Brown Jr. is renowned for having written the lyrics to Max Roach’s 1960 protest album We Insist!: Freedom Now Suite, which Roach performed in its entirety the day before Brown’s appearance at this 1964 Newport Jazz Festival. He also wrote the lyrics to the oft-recorded Bobby Timmons tune, “Dat Dere,” and composed tunes for Mahalia Jackson, Lena Horne, Lou Rawls, Nina Simone, Abbey Lincoln and others.
In 1944, at age 18, he hosted the nation’s first black news radio broadcast and in 1948 ran for the Illinois state legislature on the Progressive Party ticket. Following a two-year stint in the Army, Brown became a card-carrying member of the Communist Party, ultimately resigning in 1956.
Featured artists included in the program are THE FREEDOM SONG LEADERS with Africa Brown, Wanda Bishop, Shanta Nurullah and Zahra Baker and MAGGIE BROWN with Africa Brown and friends.
FREEDOM SONG LEADERS. SHANTA NURULLAH, ZAHRA, BAKER, WANDA BISHOP, AFRICA BROWN AND TONI ASANTE LIGHTFOOT