November 21, 2014

Taj Mahal Trio at Pepperdine, Oct. 6

 

Grammy Award-winning folk-blues legend Taj Mahal, performing with the Taj Mahal Trio, will headline a "World Blues" concert celebrating the global influence of American blues music as seen from three very diverse points of view and three international points of origin at 7 p.m. on Sunday, October 6, at Pepperdine University's Smothers Theatre in Malibu.

"I am really excited about the World Blues tour," said Taj Mahal. "It is not every day that three artists from different worlds, but who speak a common language, come together for a tour."

Anchored by the Harlem-born composer, multi-instrumentalist, and vocalist Taj Mahal, the evening will also feature the soulful South African blues of legendary guitarist/vocalist Vusi Mahlasela and the more modern rock-and-roll perspective of Fredericks Brown, a soul/R&B band featuring vocals by Taj's daughter, Deva Mahal, who hails from New Zealand.

Tickets, priced at $50, $45 and $30 for the public and $10 for full-time Pepperdine students, are available by calling (310) 506-4522; online at arts.pepperdine.edu ; for more information: tajblues.com/.

The concert is part of a tour that marks the first time these artists have performed all together on one stage. The tour kicks off on October 4 in Napa, CA—the first of four California dates—and continues east, wrapping up in Fairfield, CT, on November 16. For a complete listing of tour dates: tajblues.com/tour.php.

During his five-decade career, Taj Mahal has evolved into a master of global styles, from Mississippi Delta blues to Hawaiian stylings to African rhythms. In addition to headlining the program, he is also the binding thread throughout this evening of music. Fresh from their sessions together on Mahlasela's latest album, the two explore the intersection of African and American musical forms; and with Fredericks Brown, it is clear that Taj Mahal has influenced yet another generation, taking blues to new and exciting places.

Taj Mahal is one of the most prominent and influential figures in the blues and roots music scene. Though his career began over five decades ago with American blues, he has broadened his artistic scope to include music representing virtually every corner of the world. West Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, and the Hawaiian Islands don't even begin to cover his range of influences. It is his insatiable interest in musical discovery that ties everything together; over the years, his passion and curiosity have led him on trips around the world, journeys that gained him invaluable experience and resulted in the global perspective that can be heard and felt in his music today.

Simply known as "The Voice" in his home country, Vusi Mahlasela is widely celebrated for his powerful and distinctive voice that delivers poetic and often optimistic lyrics. Raised in South Africa's Mamelodi Township, a place he still calls home, Mahlasela became a singer-songwriter and poet-activist at an early age after teaching himself to play guitar. He later joined the Congress of South African Writers. After his popular 1992 debut with “When You Come Back” on BMG Africa, Mahlasela was asked to perform at Nelson Mandela's 1994 inauguration. To this day, Mahlasela remains committed to spreading Mandela's message as an official ambassador of Mandela's HIV/AIDS initiative.

From the beautiful islands of New Zealand, Fredericks Brown and the musical collaboration of vocalist Deva Mahal and keyboardist Steph Brown are renowned for their energetic live shows, rich harmonies, and beautifully crafted songs. Brown's music fuses the cultural heritages of both band members: Mahal draws on her rich soul and blues roots, while Brown's sound is rooted in the organic Pacific sounds of her native New Zealand. Between the two of them, they have worked with Kanye West and Common, been billed with artists like De La Soul, Alice Russell, Etta James, and performed in theatres and clubs all around the world.

The Smothers Theatre, Pepperdine University, is located at 24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA.