Juneteenth and the Blues will be an hour-long presentation and discussion by composer, bassist, and bandleader Marcus Shelby about the importance and historical significance of Juneteenth in Black American culture. The presentation will include live music, readings, poetry, and observations on the legacy of June 19, 1865-the date Africans in Galveston, Texas were freed long after the emancipation proclamation.
Marcus Anthony Shelby is a composer, bassist, bandleader, and educator who currently lives in San Francisco, California. His work focuses on the history, present, and future of African American lives, social movements, and music education.
In 1990, Marcus Shelby received the Charles Mingus Scholarship to attend Cal Arts and study composition with James Newton and bass with Charlie Haden. Currently, Shelby is an artist in residence with the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, the San Francisco Jazz Festival, and the Healdsburg Jazz Festival. Shelby has composed several oratorios and suites including “Harriet Tubman”, “Beyond the Blues: A Prison Oratorio”, “Soul of the Movement: Meditations on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”, “Black Ball: The Negro Leagues and the Blues”, “Green and Blues”, and a children’s opera “Harriet’s Spirit” produced by Opera Parallel 2018. Shelby also composed the score and performed in Anna Deavere Smith’s Off Broadway Play and HBO feature film “Notes from the Field” (2019)