Thursday, July 11, 2013 'Ragtime bounces through Henry Ford this weekend'; Pianists Include Taslimah Bey

On May 30, 2009 AfriClassical posted news of Taslimah Bey, an African American pianist: Taslimah Bey Performs at Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival June 3-7, Sedalia, MO  We wrote of her 2001 CD, Taslimah Bey – Live!; Ragtime Legacy 634479304934; © 2001 Taslimah Bey. 

In the liner notes for her CD, Taslimah Bey – Live!, released on Ragtime Legacy in 2001, Taslimah writes: “I began researching ragtime in 1983, in an effort to learn about African-American composers in the early 20th century. The music was so exciting, so rich, and so representative of the double-consciousness of Africans in America, that I became determined to bring it to the attention of the public. In 1985, I presented the 'Ragtime Legacy,' a lecture/concert on the compositions of early ragtime composers, including Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton, Artie Matthews, Eubie Blake and James P. Johnson. In 1986, I formed 'Taslimah’s Ragtime Band,' which featured my band arrangements of ragtime pieces by these composers.” [Scott Joplin and James P. Johnson are profiled at]     

Taslimah Bey (Detroit News / Michelle Andonian)

The Detroit News
July 11, 2013
Peppy style was first American popular music to take off globally
Andrea Daniel - Special to The Detroit News
“It’s hard to listen to ragtime and be in a bad mood,” says Detroit pianist Taslimah Bey, one of several pianists performing during the fair who specialize in ragtime.

Ragtime, known for its syncopated, bouncy piano style made popular by pianist Scott Joplin, is an absolutely fascinating form of music, says Jim Johnson senior manager of Creative Programs at The Henry Ford.

“Ragtime hit at a time of American history when the last vestige of Victorian America is finally getting pushed aside, and it’s making the way for the modern jazz era,” Johnson says. 

Today, ragtime festivals take place all over the country, but what makes Greenfield Village’s fair unique is the setting, says Johnson.

“It’s layered on top of what Greenfield Village is everyday in the summer,” he says, “which is tons of different things going on throughout the entire village, including historic baseball games, the carousel is running, the steam locomotive, the Model T rides. And they all buzz right through the middle of the fair. It’s great stuff.”
Bey agrees.
“It’s just a wonderful venue for a ragtime festival,” she says. “Because it’s from that era, and it’s a historical type of music. I love the way they combine the history with the entertainment.
Bey says ragtime is energetic, but mixed with a blues element that doesn’t remain sad. She considers the history of the people and the lives of the people who composed ragtime.
“It was 30 to 40 years after emancipation, and I like to think of it as they were sort of celebrating coming through such a rough period,” she says.

The two-day fair includes performances by ragtime pianists “Perfessor" Bill Edwards, John Remmers, Bill Meyer, Daniel J. McCarthy, Brent Beggs, Mary Pitcher, Carolyn Dicks and Jerry Perrine.

Ragtime Street Fair

9:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday; 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday

The Henry Ford/Greenfield Village20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn
Andrea Daniel is a freelance reporter.

No comments: