Soul of Duke

November 30, 2007
Gospel legends: Blind Boys of Alabama

Gospel legends: Blind Boys of Alabama. Courtesy of Duke Performances

Since its founding at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in 1939, the gospel group the Blind Boys of Alabama has established itself as one of the longest running and most influential of the last century. It is perhaps matched in that respect by only one other group—the legendary Dixie Hummingbirds, founded in Greenville, South Carolina, in 1928.

Both groups will come to Duke in February as part of the month-long series "Soul Power: From Gospel to the Godfather," presented by Duke Performances. The Dixie Hummingbirds will perform February 2, sharing the bill with Solomon Burke, a soul legend who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.

The Blind Boys of Alabama will perform February 8, along with Mavis Staples, former member of the legendary Staple Singers, a group that peaked during the civil rights era and straddled the line between sacred and secular soul music.

February's Soul Power series also includes the premiere of a performance by DJ Spooky, a writer, conceptual artist, and pioneer in the field of mash-ups and mixing; a concert featuring the Don Byron Band and Chris Thomas King; and a show that brings together the Maceo Parker Band and the Booker T. Jones Band.