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The Blind Boys of Alabama have the rare distinction of being recognized around the world as both living legends and modern-day innovators. They are not just gospel singers borrowing from old traditions; the group helped to define those traditions in 20th century and to almost single-handedly create a new gospel sound for the 21st. Since the original members first sang together as kids at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in the late 1930s (including Jimmy Carter, who leads the group today), the band has perserved through seven decades to become one of the most recognized and decorated gospel groups in the world.
Touring throughout the South during the Jim Crow era of the 1940s and 1950s, the Blind Boys flourished thanks to their unique sound, which blended the close harmonies of early jubilee gospel with the more fervent improvisations of hard gospel. In the early 1960s, the band sang at benefits for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and were a part of the soundtrack to the Civil Rights movement. But as the years passed many singers who had originated in the church began recording secular music and fans followed them, and the Blind Boys saw their audiences dwindle. However, the Blind Boys persevered and their time came again, starting in the 1980s with their starring role in the Obie Award-winning musical “The Gospel at Colonus,” which began a new chapter in their incredible history. It’s almost unbelievable that a group of blind, African-American singers, who started out touring during a time of whites-only bathrooms, restaurants and hotels, went on to win five Grammy Awards, appear on Broadway, and perform at the White House for three different presidents.
All proceeds will benefit the Refuge Foundation for the Arts, Inc., supporting assistance with basic needs and access to the arts in Northeast Wisconsin.
The event will be opened by the following performers: Daniel Watts & Amy Ryerson (Broadway Performers), J-Council, and Cory Chisel's Soul Obscura.
August 6, 2017 1:00 PM
start at $29
Thrivent Financial Hall