World Slavery: The Haitian Revolution and the Rise of American Music

Saturday, October 8, 2011

2:00 PM-3:30 PM

Cost: Free

Providence Public Library
150 Empire Street
Providence, RI 02903

Barnard Room (3rd Floor)

Sat, 2011-10-08 14:00 - 15:30

A Discussion & Musical Performance...

Ray Kamalay, a long-time professional musician who contributes performances of the various  genres, will trace the development of slavery from ancient times to its links with American society and into the early jazz age, putting American music in the perspective of world history. 

His discussion will include freedom, ancient and modern slavery, the Haitian Revolution, the origin of blackface, spirituals, blues, minstrel shows, ragtime and jazz and will be punctuated by musical performance on varied instruments.

Kamalay is a Detroit native, with a degree in philosophy from the University of Detroit. He has been a professional musician since 1974 and has performed at some of the most prestigious venues including the Edinburgh Festival, Interlochen, Winnipeg, Mariposa and the Philadelphia Folk Festival. In 1997, his work with  Howard and Ralphe Armstrong was nominated for the W. C. Handy Award.


“…You enthralled everyone with your lengthy description of the history of slavery in the world and especially in the New World…interspersed with the music of slavery….The audience was spellbound and fascinated by your delivery, without notes, of this important    subject…We have seldom experienced such an engaging evening on a subject many find troublesome…I hope you bring your message to many more audiences.” — Stan Ransom, Director, Plattsburgh Public Library

“The cream risen to the top...Ray is at the top of Michigan’s list of artists.” — Bruce Bauman, Wheatland Music Organization

“… Kamalay really shines when he combines the discussion of the evolution of American music with the performance of examples of African spirituals, ragtime music and early jazz. He is a gifted performer and the audience was left with a desire to hear more.  Kamalay’s manner was relaxed and encouraged questions and further dialogue; his material was thought-provoking; his musical performance was first rate…”  — Elizabeth Donovan, North Kingstown Free Library

“...Ray wraps himself around the music in a manner that is not only stylistically but technically faultless.” — Kalamazoo Gazette

For more info about Ray:

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