FirstWorks Returns to The Vets with Concert from International Supergroup
April 14, 2022

FirstWorks Returns to The Vets with Concert from International Supergroup 

A Musical Combustion with American Roots group Blind Boys of Alabama and Afro-pop duo Amadou & Mariam: From Bamako to Birmingham 

 

Providence, RI –– FirstWorks, a Rhode Island non-profit dedicated to building community through world-class arts, presents “From Bamako to Birmingham,” a concert with Blind Boys of Alabama and Amadou & Mariam on April 27, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. at The VETS. FirstWorks welcomes the international supergroup to Providence for the opening leg of their North American tour. This show combines contemporary African sounds and American roots music in the collaboration of a lifetime. It takes nearly a day to fly from Birmingham to Bamako, but these two distinct musical worlds are coming together on a single stage with FirstWorks!

The Blind Boys of Alabama are recognized worldwide as living legends of gospel music. They are Gospel Music Hall of Fame inductees and are winners of five Grammy® Awards. They are not just gospel singers borrowing from old traditions; the group helped to define those traditions in the 20th century, and created a new gospel sound for the 21st century. Since the original members first sang together as children at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in the late 1930s (including Jimmy Carter, who leads the group today,) the band has persevered through seven decades to become one of the most recognized and decorated roots music groups in the world. The Blind Boys are known for crossing multiple musical boundaries with their remarkable interpretations of everything from traditional gospel favorites to contemporary spiritual material by songwriters such as Eric Clapton, Prince and Tom Waits.

For over forty years, Amadou & Mariam have managed to joyfully combine their love story with a musical career while becoming beloved ambassadors for Malian music, and African music, all around the world. The duo have played some of the world’s biggest festivals, from Coachella to Glastonbury, and have toured with bands from Coldplay to the Scissor Sisters.

What these two acts have in common, besides their storied careers and enormous fan bases, is that they are blind. Rather than have sight impairment be a barrier, blindness has graced each of these musicians with strength and courage, and the ability to inspire others.

“FirstWorks sees live performance as a transformative force. We’re thrilled to be back this spring in the historic VETS auditorium, bringing our audience together around this international supergroup’s uplifting music and inspiring story,” said Executive Artistic Director, Kathleen Pletcher.  

Tickets to the Wednesday, April 27, 2022 7:30 p.m. performance at The VETS are $49–$69 (includes a $4 restoration fee) and are available now at http://firstworks.org.

 

About From Bamako to Birmingham 

While they may appear worlds apart, Mali’s Amadou & Mariam and the Blind Boys of Alabama share something that is undeniable: deeply felt music of the soul that transcends cultures, nations and musical styles. For over 40 years, Amadou & Mariam have combined their personal love story with a global music career. As revered ambassadors for Malian and African music, their sound is heartwarming, featuring syncopated rhythms topped with lyrical melodies. Five-time Grammy award winners the Blind Boys of Alabama are recognized worldwide as living legends of gospel music. These Gospel Music Hall of Fame inductees are known for crossing musical boundaries with their remarkable interpretations of everything from traditional gospel to music crafted by contemporary songwriters. 

 

About FirstWorks 

FirstWorks is a non-profit based in Providence, Rhode Island whose purpose is to build the cultural, educational and economic vitality of its community by engaging diverse audiences with world-class performing arts and education programs. Since 2004, FirstWorks festivals, performances and programs have attracted more than 600,000 participants. FirstWorks arts education programs reach students from public and charter schools across Rhode Island with transformative, arts-based learning experiences. FirstWorks is the founding partner of PVDFest, collaborating with the City of Providence to produce the City’s free signature arts celebration since 2015. In 2019 PVDFest drew 130,000 visitors to Providence to experience music, art and spectacular performances. Embracing collaboration, FirstWorks has fostered over 90 community partnerships across business, social service, government, arts, and education sectors. Visit http://firstworks.org to learn more.

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