Every now and then if you are lucky, one has the opportunity to experience music history in the making. Experiencing World Blues at the Quick Center for the Arts in Fairfield, Connecticut featuring the iconic Blues giant Taj Mahal, Vusi Mahlasela "The Voice" of South Africa, and the up-and-coming Fredericks Brown band, was one such night.
The show opened in the attractive and comfortable, state-of-the-art 740-seat Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J. Theatre with the Fredericks Brown band comprised of Taj's daughter, Deva Mahal's vocals complementing Steph Brown on keys as they created their own brand of the Blues from a Rock & Roll perspective.
Steph Brown and Deva Mahal
Next in the line-up was Vusi Mahlasela, hailed as "The Voice" of South Africa, who engaged the audience with his impressive vocal range and his stories and songs accompanied by his guitar that touched the hearts of many with his giving and joyful performance.
Vusi is a man who is no stranger to hardship, whose political activism and songs "of justice, of freedom, of revolution, of love, of peace, and of life," earned him time spent in solitary confinement. Speaking about that time, he said simply, "There is wisdom in forgiveness; learn to be calm. If you do not forgive, you are the one who is not free. Forgiveness, we should wear it like a crown."
At the end of Apartheid, his talents as a musician, composer, and songwriter were widely recognized and he was signed by Shifty Records/BMG Records and recorded his first album that included the song, "When You Come Back," which he was asked to perform at Nelson Mandela's presidential inauguration in 1994.
Vusi Mahlasela and Debra Argen
Since then, he has performed throughout the world playing with other top musicians at high-level events including Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday, and at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, to name but a few, and his song was the theme song for ITV's World Cup coverage in the U.K. His many honors also include a SAMA Awards (South African Music Awards) Lifetime Achievement award for his accomplishments in his home country and throughout the world. His latest accomplishment is a new album, Sing to the People, released on ATO Records of live recordings of songs from his first 20 years of his career. A few of the many memorable songs he performed during the course of the evening included Say Africa, Sing to the People, and When You Come Back.
Taj Mahal Trio and Vusi Mahlasela
Last to perform was the Taj Mahal Trio. Although we have seen Taj Mahal perform with his 6-member Phantom Blues Band before, for this special night of World Blues, he opted to play with his trio comprised of Taj Mahal on guitar, keys, banjo, and his inimitable vocals bending notes, Kester Smith on drums, and Billy Rich on bass, to create a more intimate experience.
Wearing his signature Hawaiian shirt and straw fedora, Taj opened with the song, Gone Fishin', then segued into the Country Blues love song, Corinna. Next in the playlist was the Tom Hurt song, My Creole Belle, followed by Queen Bee, one of our favorites.
Taj Mahal and Vusi Mahlasela
Delta Blues, Caribbean Blues, African Blues, Mississippi Blues, traditional New Orleans' Blues, Natural Blues, Taj Mahal was a veritable Blues historian on stage sharing his stories with his audience and flowing seamlessly from one Blues genre to another.
Next, there was Funk Blues, then the Uh Huh Blues, that segued into It's A Mean Old World. Throughout the performance Taj bantered with the audience telling tales and demonstrating his musical versatility by swapping one guitar for another, playing the banjo, harmonica, and making it clear that he was doing what he loves, making music and meeting new people.
Taj Mahal Trio and Deva Mahal
Vusi came back on stage and joined the Taj Mahal Trio as the band segued into the songs Step Outside Your Mind and Going Up To The County (Paint My Mailbox Blue). Steph Brown and Deva Mahal came back out for the finale and joined the band to close out the evening's performance with a duet by Taj and his daughter Deva singing, Lovin' In My Baby's Eyes. What a fabulous finish, and what a memorable night of World Blues.
Conveniently located in Fairfield, Connecticut, the Quick Center for the Arts is a 30-minute drive from Greenwich and New Haven, a 60-minute drive from Hartford, and a 90-minute drive from New York City.
Taj Mahal Trio, Vusi Mahlasela, Deva Mahal, Steph Brown
The Quick Center for the Arts has an extensive program of theatre, dance, opera, classic, and jazz series, as well as family productions throughout the year.
A few of the many exciting upcoming programs at the Quick Center for the Arts include:
Simone Dinnerstein - Classical - March 16, 2014
Pat Metheny Unity Group - March 25, 2014
Pilobolus Dance Theater - March 1, 2014
Moscow Festival Ballet - Giselle - April 11, 2014
Peter Pan - April 27, 2014.
For information on upcoming programs and events, please visit the website, www.QuickCenter.com.
Quick Center for the Arts
For tickets or information, please call: +1-203-254-4010 or toll-free: 1-877-ARTS-396 (1-877-278-7396).
Quick Center for the Arts
1073 North Benson Road
Fairfield, CT 06824
Follow Quick Center for the Arts on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/FairfieldQuickCenter
Follow Luxury Experience on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/LuxuryExperience
Follow the Fredericks Brown band on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/FredericksBrownMusic.com
For information on Taj Mahal and upcoming performances, please visit the website: www.TajBlues.com
For information on Vusi Mahlasela and upcoming performances, please visit the website: www.VusiMahlesela.com
© February 2014. Luxury Experience www.LuxuryExperience.com All Rights Reserved.