Berkeley Lab

Evolutionary Blues: West Oakland’s Music Legacy – February 19, 2020

As part of Black History Month,the African American Employee Resource Group, will show “Evolutionary Blues: West Oakland’s Music Legacy” and host a Q&A with the film director, Cheryl Fabio. Please join us for this unique event!

Watch the trailer

Print out the event poster

Date: Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Time: 12 – 2 pm

Location: Building 50 Auditorium

Light refreshments will be provided.

The film, an official selection of several notable film festivals, including the African American Women in Cinema Film Festival (2018), the Cinema On The Bayou Film Festival (2018) and the 16th Oakland International Film Festival (2018) shines new light on the evolution of Oakland Blues, and examines the legacy of the Blues as the defining soundtrack of Black America.

Directed and produced by Cheryl Fabio, featuring Pulitzer Prize winning author and historian, Isabel Wilkerson (The Warmth of Other Suns).  Commissioned by the City of Oakland and produced by KTOP-TV, Evolutionary Blues is a musical showcase with testimonials and tributes from progenitors to aficionados. Long celebrated for a unique sound emanating from acclaimed performers of yesterday and today–West Oakland is a dynamic music Mecca whose history is untold, in full measure, until now.

The Blues is an earthy, soul-stirring mélange of roots music and personal narratives that became the defining soundtrack of Black America.  Wherever Black people settled that soundtrack took on a local flavor. In Northern California, the influences came from the musicianship of Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma. Seventh Street in West Oakland supported and bolstered Blacks who escaped the harsh South and answered the call of the war effort in the late 1940’s. Entrepreneurship created a fully contained community that provided work, homes and all the necessities of life including a fully developed music scene–more than 30 local musicians share their inspiration and describe the trajectory of the Oakland Blues–how it evolved and what it has become.

We invite our LBNL community to join us for a special event of shared learning and enjoyment of this quintessential American art form and its evolution as authored by local artists.

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