If you’ve not yet been to a performance at the beautiful, world-class Jim & Joyce Faulkner Performing Arts Center in the fully renovated and converted 1930s University of Arkansas Field House (or even if you have), you may well be enticed by a spectacular artist coming to Fayetteville, Arkansas for a series of fantastic events.
Martha Redbone is considered one of the biggest voices in American Roots music and is celebrated for her work that successfully combines the Appalachian folk and mountain blues of her childhood with a gritty sound inspired by her teen years in Brooklyn. Redbone’s voice and perspective is unique, rising from a pedigree that balances her African-American father’s gospel singing roots with the culture and spirit of her Cherokee/Shawnee/Choctaw mother. According to Billboard Magazine, “This woman is a true original; the kind of artist who sets trends, as opposed to following them.”
Redbone’s most recent achievement is a musical devised theatre piece called Bone Hill – The Concert, which reflects her own family’s story and shares the journey of a woman who returns to her Kentucky homeland, forced to encounter a violent past and the laws directed against her multi-racial family. In addition to this new work and Redbone’s recording and songwriting career, she is deeply involved with teaching traditional singing, as well as lecturing on the rights of Indigenous people and the role of arts in politics. In recognition of her ambassadorship for both Native and African-American youth and the National HIV/AIDS Partnership, Redbone received the prestigious Red Ribbon Award for Outstanding Leadership presented on World AIDS Day at the United Nations in 2005.
In advance of her two scheduled shows at the arts center, Redbone will be appearing at the Fayetteville Public Library for an intimate discussion on Thursday, November 14 from 6 to 7:15 p.m. The Faulkner Performing Arts Center Spotlight: Cultural Identity and Preservation with Martha Redbone topics will include subjects she is passionate about: cultural preservation, Indigenous rights and cultural identity. The audience will be invited to participate in dialogue about racial identity, diversity, American racial identity as expressed by DNA, laws and choices, as well as finding one’s own roots. Those interested who are unable to attend may view and replay the event via the Fayetteville Public Library Livestream page at livestream.com/faylib.
On Friday, November 15 from 10 to 11 a.m., the Colgate Classroom Series: A Music Workshop with Martha Redbone will take place at the Jim & Joyce Faulkner Performing Arts Center Concert Hall. Intended for high school students and to enrich class curriculum, this special event will include Native American traditional music, call and response—and all infused with Redbone’s unique cross-cultural sound.
Redbone’s time in Fayetteville will culminate in an exciting performance at the Faulkner Performing Arts Center Concert Hall on Friday, November 15 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. The evening will bring the audience memorable Appalachian-themed pieces from Bone Hill: The Concert, followed by a post-show question and answer session with Redbone. Seats are available through the University of Arkansas ticket office.