Insight News

Feb 14th

"In Performance at the White House: Memphis Soul"

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Event includes evening performances and daytime student workshop honoring Memphis Soul Sound

White House – As part of their "In Performance at the White House" series, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will invite music legends and contemporary major artists to the White House for a celebration of Memphis Soul music. The program will include performances by Alabama Shakes, William Bell, Steve Cropper, Al Green, Ben Harper, Queen Latifah, Cyndi Lauper, Joshua Ledet, Sam Moore, Charlie Musselwhite, Mavis Staples and Justin Timberlake, with Booker T. Jones as music director and bandleader.

"In Performance at the White House: Memphis Soul" will be broadcast Tuesday, April 16 at 7 p.m. on PBS. The program will also be broadcast at a later date via the American Forces Network to American service men and women and civilians at U.S. Department of Defense locations around the world.

As she has done with previous White House music events, the first lady will host a special daytime event for students. The first lady will welcome 120 middle and high school students from across the country to take part in an interactive student workshop event, "Soulsville, USA: The History of Memphis Soul." Beginning at 11 a.m. in the State Dining Room, Robert Santelli, Executive Director of The Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, will lead the students in an overview of the origins of Memphis Soul, discuss important artists from throughout its history, and explore the elements of soul and gospel that helped contribute to the genre's unique sound. Featured performers from the evening event will share their experiences as well as answer student questions about the music and entertainment world.

The workshop, "Soulsville, USA: The History of Memphis Soul," will stream live on

"In Performance at the White House: Memphis Soul" is the tenth "In Performance at the White House" program hosted by the President and Mrs. Obama. Starting in February 2009, these events have honored the musical genius of Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney, Burt Bacharach and Hal David; celebrated Hispanic musical heritage during Hispanic Heritage Month; marked Black History Month with events featuring music from the Civil Rights Movement, Motown and the Blues; spotlighted Broadway and the unique spirit of the American musical; and explored the rich roots and resiliency of Country Music.

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