Taj Mahal, Mavis Staples

A pair of veteran treasures synonymous with African-American roots music, Taj Mahal and Mavis Staples each have etched enduring careers and legacies with compelling visions and performances. Taj parlayed an early fascination with country blues into an extraordinary journey along the trail of the African diaspora, following its influential tendrils into jazz, soul, folk, ragtime, and myriad international genres, from reggae to Hawaiian. Staples (pictured) is a powerful singer who literally grew up in her family's gospel/soul/pop group, the Staple Singers, who were an integral part of the Civil Rights Movement. Mavis's marvelously spirited versions of gospel and civil rights standards are wonders—part history lesson, part revival. Plus she's a great interpreter of diverse material. Her Jeff Tweedy-produced You Are Not Alone covers Randy Newman, Allen Toussaint, John Fogerty, Pops Staples, and Tweedy himself.
Wed., June 29, 7:30 p.m., 2011

 
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