SHOW OF THE WEEK: Black Folk Icons Live Again

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Thursday, January 22, 2015, 6:37 am
Karessa Weir

Rev. Robert B. Jones and Josh White Jr portray Lead Belly and Josh White Sr.

On the heels of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and on the eve of Black History Month, Ten Pound Fiddle is offering a celebration of “Black Fathers in Folk Music.”

The show, starting at 8 p.m. Friday, features acclaimed musicians Robert Jones and Josh White Jr. portraying the historic musicians Josh White and Lead Belly.

In an interview with MSU’s public radio station WKAR, Josh White Jr. talked about his father’s accomplishments in bringing gospel, blues and black folk music to the masses.

The senior White was the first black artist to give a White House Command Performance, and the first black artist to sell a million records.

“There are still people who need to know this story. Bringing their stories to people is important because these were black men in ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s who not only entertained but who spoke out on social situations,” said Josh White Jr., who began performing with his father at age 4.

American Roots champion Rev. Robert Jones, a Detroit native, will perform as Huddie Ledbetter, also known as “King of the 12-string Guitar” Lead Belly. Lead Belly was an American folk and blues musician who played multiple instruments.

“(Music) brings people together,” White said. “Remember every day they are hearing negative things. They need to hear that they can do it. That we can do it together.”

Ten Pound Fiddle is an organization of musicians and volunteers who have presented concerts and dances across the region since 1975. For more information on the Ten Pound Fiddle, go to their website

When: 8 p.m. Friday Jan. 23, 2015

Where: Unitarian Universalist Church, 855 Grove Street, East Lansing

How: $15 for public, $12 for Fiddle members, $5 students. Tickets are available online at or at the box office starting at 7 p.m. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.

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