Oklahoma History Center and American Banjo Museum to Present Roots Music Program

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OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma History Center and the American Banjo Museum have partnered to present “Back to Our Roots: An Exploration of Roots Music” on Wednesday, November 1, at the Oklahoma History Center, 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive in Oklahoma City. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. This program will be a historical discussion on the intersections of jazz, blues and roots music as well as the influence of race, emancipation and desegregation on the evolution of this music both in America and Oklahoma. Woven throughout the discussions will be live musical examples of roots music.

The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required. You can make reservations at www.americanbanjomuseum.com/upcoming-events or by calling 405-604-2793. This event has been made possible through a generous grant from Oklahoma Humanities.

Johnny Baier, the executive director of the American Banjo Museum, will moderate the music performance and discussion with Dom Flemons and Dr. Harold Aldridge. Grammy Award winning artist Dom Flemons strives to mix traditional music forms with a contemporary approach to create new sounds that will appeal to wider audiences. Flemons performed at Carnegie Hall for a tribute to LeadBelly and at the 2016 opening ceremonies for the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Harold Aldridge hails from the All-Black town of Taft, Oklahoma, and learned traditional blues from the older residents of the town. A retired professor from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Aldridge performs and discusses the history of blues from field hollers to electrification.

Since he began his career in 1971, Johnny Baier has developed a reputation as one of the world’s most ardent performers on, and promoters of, America’s only native musical instrument—the banjo. In 1983 he won the North American Banjo Championship. He recently released a new CD titled “Pick Yourself Up.”

Oklahoma Humanities strengthens communities by helping Oklahomans learn about the human experience, understand new perspectives and participate knowledgeably in civic life. The humanities—disciplines such as history, literature, film studies, ethics and philosophy—offer a deeper understanding of ourselves and others by confronting us with the questions, values and meanings of the human experience. As the nonprofit, state partner for the National Endowment for the Humanities, Oklahoma Humanities brings people together to explore these ideas through programming and community grants that support book groups, exhibits, film festivals, teacher institutes and more. Oklahoma Humanities engages people in their own communities, providing forums for education, critical thinking and productive civil discourse. For more information, visit www.okhumanities.org.

At the American Banjo Museum, the artistry that goes into crafting highly ornate instruments and the skill and talent that goes into playing them is on full display. The American Banjo Museum brings history and art together in a song hundreds of years in the making. For more information on upcoming events, or to become a member of the American Banjo Museum, visit www.americanbanjomuseum.com or call 405-604-2793.

The Oklahoma History Center is a division of the Oklahoma Historical Society and is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, National Archives and is an accredited member of the American Association of Museums. The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma. For more information about the OHS, please visit www.okhistory.org.  

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