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Corey Harris - Joe Patterson Smith Lecture/Concert this Thursday


Jacksonville, Ill. – Illinois College welcomes Corey Harris, a powerful singer and accomplished guitarist, to campus on Thursday, January 16, at 7 p.m. in Sibert Theatre as the 2013 Joe Patterson Smith lecturer. Harris will deliver an informal lecture and then perform along with his band, “The Rasta Blues Experience.”

Harris has carved out his own niche in the blues genre and has appeared at venues throughout North America, Europe, Brazil, the Caribbean, West Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. In 2003 Harris was a featured artist and narrator of the Martin Scorcese film, “Feel Like Going Home,” which traced the evolution of blues from West Africa to the southern United States.

“I show this film whenever I teach my Empire and Human Rights class because blues music and its history connects the United States to the Caribbean and Africa,” Joseph Genetin-Pilawa, assistant professor of history, said. “Corey's music is steeped in that tradition, fusing African diasporic music (reggae, soul, etc.) with Delta blues and rich story-telling.”

Harris began his career as a New Orleans street singer, traveling throughout the southern U.S. In his early 20’s he lived in Cameroon, West Africa, for a year which had a profound effect on his later work. He has recorded many old songs of the blues tradition while also creating an original vision of the blues by adding influences from reggae, soul, rock and West African music.

In 2007 he was awarded a $500,000 MacArthur Fellowship – commonly referred to as a “genius award” – from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The annual grant, which recognizes individuals from a wide range of disciplines who show creativity, originality and commitment to continued innovative work, described Harris as an artist who “forges an adventurous path marked by deliberate eclecticism.” That same year, he was also awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine.

This is the 50th anniversary of the Joe Patterson Smith lecture series, a tradition at Illinois College honoring the late Smith, a noted scholar and professor of history at the college from 1927-1963. For more information contact Genetin-Pilawa at 217-245-3428 or at joseph.genetin@mail.ic.edu.

This performance is free and open to the public.

About Illinois College

Founded in 1829, Illinois College is a residential liberal arts college fostering academic excellence rooted in opportunities for experiential learning while preparing students for lifelong success. The college is located in Jacksonville, Ill. With an enrollment of nearly 1,000 students, the college offers over 50 undergraduate programs and a Master of Arts in Education degree program. In 1932 the society of Phi Beta Kappa established a chapter at Illinois College, and it remains one of only 11 in the state. Illinois College is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. Visit www.ic.edu or call 217-245-3149 for more information.


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