Chatham Community Library To Host Billy Stevens' Program "Samson and Delilah: From Pulpits to Pop Stars"
Chatham Community Library welcomes North Carolina Humanities Council Road Scholar Billy Stevens, M.A. back for a third presentation on American music, its roots and its influences on Saturday, December 7, at 1:00pm in the Holmes Meeting Room.
Stevens' program, “Samson and Delilah: From Pulpits to Pop Stars", demonstrates the impact of Negro spirituals on American popular music with a fascinating journey spanning a century of American history. Using archival recordings of two songs based on the biblical story of Samson and Delilah, “My Soul is a Witness,” and “If I Had My Way,” Stevens describes how spiritual songs contributed to American popular music while transforming African American culture into the mainstream. In the process, audiences are introduced to some of the most influential musicians of the twentieth century: black preachers and congregations, jubilee singers, itinerant bluesmen, folk musicians of the 1960s, and rock bands of the 1980s. Their shared vocabulary of religious symbolism, along with their message of freedom and equality, creates a common bond spanning genres and generations.
Billy Stevens has extensive international touring experience sponsored by the US Information Agency of the Department of State. He has presented his lecture/demonstration “The History of the Blues: the Roots of Rock ‘n’ Roll” in more than 40 countries including India, Kenya, Israel and Palestine as well as in North and South Carolina. Stevens has many years experience as a solo artist with a variety of bands. In addition to being a musician and lecturer, he is a world champion carrom player and founder of the United States Carrom Association. His master’s degree is from the University of Mississippi.
This program is free, open to the public. Funding for this program is made possible by the North Carolina Humanities Council.