Celebrating A Century Of Woody Guthrie

September 18, 2012 Denise Romano
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Brooklyn College will host a special tribute to folk musician Woody Guthrie on Saturday, September 22.

The “Woody Guthrie Centennial Celebration” is organized by the Los Angeles-based Grammy museum, Woody Guthrie Publications, the Woody Guthrie Archives and the Hitchcock Institute for Studies in American Music at Brooklyn College.  Born in Okemah, Oklahoma on July 14, 1912, Guthrie eventually made his home in Brooklyn where he got married and eventually died.

The celebration will include a tribute concert at the Walt Whitman Theater, featuring Pete Seeger, Steve Earle, Billy Bragg, Judy Collins, Tony Trischka and the Klezmatics, as well as a roundtable discussion, moderated by Bob Santelli, executive director of the Grammy Museum. Seeger will not participate in the discussion.

Leading up to the concert, Brooklyn College will hold a daylong, public educational conference, hosted by the Hitchcock Institute with support from the New York Humanities Council. A hodge-podge of scholars, journalists and musicians will reflect on the legend’s contributions to 20th century culture and life, emphasizing the years he spent in the city between 1940 and 1967.

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Conference participants include: Key note speaker Sean Wilentz, George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History at Princeton University and a leading Bob Dylan historian; Ray Allen, professor of music and American studies at Brooklyn College and author of Gone to the Country: The New Lost City Ramblers and the Folk Music Revival; Jorge Arévalo Mateus, head archivist and curator of the Woody Guthrie Archives; Ronald Cohen, emeritus professor of history at Indiana University Northwest and a leading authority on American folk music and culture; Michael Denning, William R. Kenan Jr. professor of American studies and the director of the Initiative on Labor and Culture at Yale University; Nora Guthrie, Woody Guthrie’s daughter and director of the Woody Guthrie Foundation and Archives; Will Kaufman, professor of American literature and culture at the University of Central Lancashire, England and author of Woody Guthrie: American Radical; Robbie Lieberman, professor of History at the University of Illinois and expert in political protest moments; Ernie Lieberman, member of the Gateway Singers in the 1950s and the Limelighters in the 1960s and  activist in the People’s Songs, a New York City-based organization that blended folk singing and leftist politics; Dave Marsh, leading rock and folk music critic and author of Pastures of Plenty: A Self Portrait, The Unpublished Writings of an American Folk Hero, Woody Guthrie; Robert Santelli, executive director of the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles, and author of This Land is our Land: Woody Guthrie and the Journey of an American Folk Song; and Elijah Wald, journalist and folk blues guitarist and author of 11 books on American folk and popular music.

“We are thrilled to be producing such a remarkable series honoring one of the great artists in American folk music,” Santelli said. “The lineup scheduled for the Whitman Theater show in Brooklyn speaks volumes about Guthrie’s influence. It’s truly an honor to be producing this all-star event.”

The concert will take place at the Walt Whitman Theater, Campus Road and Hillel Place, on Saturday, September 22 at 7:30 p.m. For a full schedule of events or to purchase tickets, visit www.woody100.com

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