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A Gulf Coast Juneteenth

 Featured Artists
ReBirth Brass Band (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Geno Delafose and French Rockin' Boogie (Eunice, Louisiana)
Sherman Robertson and Special Guest Trudy Lynn (Houston, Texas)
See Artists' Bios

With special Juneteenth compositions presented by
Tamara Williams, Tony Henry and Corey Ledet

 When and Where
June 19, 2008, 7:00pm

Miller Outdoor Theatre
100 Concert Drive
Hermann Park
Houston, Texas 77030
(South of the Houston Museum of Natural Science)

Driving Directions to Miller Outdoor Theatre

Free and open to the public. Miller Outdoor Theatre is wheelchair accessible.

 For More Information
Phone: 713-521-3686
General Info: 281-373-3386 (Miller Outdoor Theatre)
Email: info@houstonculture.org

Metro Rail Service: www.ridemetro.org

 Artists' Photos
ReBirth Brass Band


Geno Delafose


Sherman Robertson


With Special Juneteenth Compositions Presented by
Tamara Williams (Gospel)
Tony Henry (Singer-songwriter)
Corey Ledet (Zydeco)

Miller Outdoor Theatre is located in Houston's Hermann Park. Plan your visit. Get Driving Directions  What to Pack

Smithsonian Magazine, in its May 2008 issue, recommends Houston's Juneteenth celebration as the Number 3 "Hotspot" in the nation in "Destination America."

Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom and commemoration of the abolition of slavery. It has been honored since 1865. LEARN MORE

Emancipation Park was established in Houston's Third Ward as a site for freed slaves and their descendents to celebrate Juneteenth. LEARN MORE

Frederick Douglass
has been called "the father of the Civil Rights movement in the United States."

The Emancipation Proclamation was effective by authority of President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863. LEARN MORE

Juneteenth Revisited
Houston Press columnist John Nova Lomax recounts the history of the Juneteenth Blues Festival.


ReBirth Brass Band

Geno Delafose and French Rockin' Boogie

Sherman Robertson and Trudy Lynn

With Special Juneteenth Compositions Presented by

Tamara Williams
Tony Henry
Corey Ledet

High Res Photos are available for media use. CLICK HERE

Get Involved
Help spread the word about Juneteenth in Houston.

Juneteenth T-Shirts CLICK HERE


Corey Ledet

Tamara Williams

Tony Henry

High resolution photos are available for media use.

 About the Artists
ReBirth Brass Band was founded in 1982 by tuba player Philip Frazier, brother Keith Frazier, and trumpeter Kermit Ruffins. They met at Joseph S. Clark Senior High School in the close-knit New Orleans Treme neighborhood, where they were brass players in the school's marching band. During high school, they practiced Mardi Gras songs and began busking for tips in the French Quarter.

Keith's and Philip's mother, Barbara Frazier is the band's chief supporter. Known affectionately as "Mama Rebirth", Frazier plays Gospel piano and organ at the Christian Mission Baptist Church. As boys, Keith and Philip played brass alongside their mother at church functions. ReBirth maintained its headquarters at Barbara Frazier's home in the Treme neighborhood, in close proximity to bars and funeral homes, as well as the French Quarter.

ReBirth Brass Band was influenced by New Orleans Jazz musician Danny Barker and the Fairview Baptist Church Marching Band. Barker led a movement to revive traditional New Orleans style marching brass bands.

They were also influenced by the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, which pioneered a hybrid style of traditional New Orleans style marching brass band music and redefined the genre by creating novel compositions out of old familiar pieces, such as "When the Saints Go Marching In" and "Lord, Lord, Lord".

Today, ReBirth's music reflects a multitude of African American music genres, including Jazz, R&B, Gospel and Blues. They pioneered the fusion of the Mardi Gras Indians poly-rhythms and chanting with traditional New Orleans style brass band music. ReBirth is known for combining traditional New Orleans brass band music, including the New Orleans Second Line street tradition, with Funk and Soul.

Rebirth's longstanding regular gig at the Maple Leaf Bar in New Orleans is one of the pillars of the Crescent City's music scene. The band regularly tours North America and Europe, ranking as a top exponent of New Orleans distinctive music.

Geno Delafose is a Grammy-nominated artist (Le Cowboy Creole, 2007) from Eunice, Louisiana.

There is this other way of life in the south; a musical ethnicity that has simmered itself to a uniquely homespun flavor. Immersed in the culture since birth, Geno Delafose has lived the life of a true cowboy. He relies on his traditional Creole sensibility for guidance in music, and divides his time between touring and operating his Double D Ranch outside of Eunice, deep in Southwest Louisiana's bayou country, where he breeds cattle and raises quarter horses.

Unbeknownst to many northerners, who often reserve the image of a cowboy for white Anglo-Saxons, Creoles (African-American Francophones) also share in the rural roots of hard work and dedication to the land. Geno epitomizes this cultural tradition. Born into a family of Zydeco musicians, at the ripe age of seven, Geno picked up the rubboard and joined his father John Delafose's band the Eunice Playboys, an ensemble that Geno would one day lead. John Delafose was key in re-launching the current upsurge of Zydeco, and Geno is poised to crossover Zydeco to a wider country music audience with his charismatic cowboy spirit and lively presentation.

To this day, Geno still performs in many of the same dancehalls and churches that he visited as a child in his father's group. Geno Delafose and French Rockin' Boogie are no strangers to the stage. Performing a rigorous one hundred fifty shows each year has left the band in a rigid state of exactness. Cut after cut the group is right there, turning on a dime with each spicy lick emitted from Geno's squeezebox.

Geno fuses his Creole roots and modern voice through his multi-accordion attack. Germans introduced the accordion to Louisiana, and, ever since, it has been a popular instrument thanks to its distinctive ability to speak above the hum in a crowded room of dancers. Geno plays the single-row and triple-row diatonic button accordions for more traditional "French style" tunes, and changes to piano accordion for pounding out contemporary Zydeco. Piano accordions were adopted for their chromatic versatility and ability to play "blue notes." Up until the 1980s only the most sophisticated players could incorporate them into Zydeco.

Everybody's Dancin' released May 13, 2003 on Times Square Records, is Geno's fourth release. A significant portion of the release is dedicated to reinterpreting Creole standards like "Le Bluerunner" and "He-Haw Breakdown", in the band's modern Zydeco vernacular. Fiddle-player Michael Doucet of BeauSoleil - America's most-popular Cajun group - is featured on three tracks. Geno - who was awarded Best Zydeco Artist at the 2003 Big Easy Awards in New Orleans - is not afraid to share his recipe for Zydeco with other approaches. Receiving the same progressive musical attention as the Creole standards are the old-fashioned waltzes, two-steps, blues, and soul numbers that decorate the album. The fact that each cut was recorded in one or two takes is further evidence of the band's unyielding proficiency.

Sherman Robertson is already considered a young master of zydeco, hard-swinging Texas electric blues, R&B and swampy Louisiana blues. Robertson often surprises audiences with his ability to play R&B, zydeco and blues with a rock edge. "I use that driving, road-cooking type zydeco groove, and put blues on top of it," says Robertson. It's basically rhythm and feel."In June 2000, Robertson played at the Pioneer Valley Blues Festival in Massachusetts. Alligator president, Bruce Iglauer, was in the crowd. "He was always good,” he says, "but when I saw him in June he was on fire. He ruled the stage, had the audience in the palm of his hand, and his just plain physical showmanship reminded me of Albert Collins. As Soon as he walked of the stage I started talking about signing him. He's got that Texas energy, great guitar chops, and is a wonderful, soulful singer."

Sherman was born in Beaux Bridge, Louisiana and raised in Houston, Texas. Robertson quickly earned a local reputation as a very good guitarist. While still in high school Robertson was recruited by his music teacher, Conrad Johnson, to play in his popular group, Connie's Combo (an otherwise adult band). As a teenager in the late 1960s, he spent six weeks on the road as lead guitarist with blues superstar Bobby "Blue" Bland and also backed Junior Parker. That gave Sherman the incentive to form his own band, Sherman Robertson and the Crosstown Blues Band with whom he recorded two albums on the Lunar II label. During the 1970s, Robertson was content playing weekends while raising a family and holding down a "regular" job until Clifton Chenier, "the King Of Zydeco," asked him to do some dates with his band. Those few dates turned into 5 years, as Robertson toured Europe and U.S. with Chenier. He then joined Terrance Simien's hot, then young zydeco band, briefly playing with Rockin' Dopsie, Johnny Clyde Copeland and several other well-known artists.

The word on Robertson's talent began to spread. Paul Simon needed a guitar player to add some sounds to his "Graceland" album and he chose Robertson. Soon after, legendary British producer Mike Vernon (John Mayall's Bluebreakers with Eric Clapton, Freddie King, Fleetwood Mac, David Bowie) signed Robertson to Atlantic Records. Robertson's first solo recording, 1993's "I'm The Man" (Atlantic 1994), was nominated for a W.C. Handy Award.

His second Atlantic release, "Here and Now", was released in 1996 to more critical acclaim. But convinced he would have more promotional support and artistic freedom from an independent label, Robertson weighed his options. In early 1998, producer Joe Harley, with the help of Robertson's manager, Catherine Bauer, assembled a first class back up band for a project for the AudioQuest label, including two charter members of Little Feat, keyboardist Bill Payne and drummer Richie Hayward. They all gathered at Ocean Way Recording in Hollywood for the sessions that resorted in the album, "Going Back Home". Blues Revue loved the release. "Potent singing and sizzling guitar... Robertson is unstoppable." (From

Robertson's latest CD, "Guitar Man", is a highly acclaimed live recording.

Trudy Lynn is local legend in Soul and Blues music, and a national treasure.

Born and raised in Houston's music-rich Fifth Ward, Trudy Lynn began singing in an era when the neighborhood's blues and early R&B culture was first turning on to a new sound known simply as soul. As a younger female working with established hometown favorites such as guitarists Albert Collins and Clarence Green, Trudy learned how to fuse classic blues elements with the music of the moment. Playing for savvy audiences at places such as Walter's Lounge, she quickly came to understand that the freshly budding flower had to be connected to its roots to survive.

It's a lesson that Trudy has never forgotten. And, as she's evolved - as both singer and songwriter - it's been the fundamental philosophy behind her distinctive, multi-faceted style. "I'm not so much a blues singer; I'm a soul-blues singer," she says. "Now I can do tradition. I can do all types. I can even do country, you know. But my first thing is really soul - kind of soul and blues mixed together."

Beyond any quibbling about musical categorization, Trudy's work also speaks to the universal human condition, experiences all people can appreciate. "I Write, and I enjoy, songs about real life." Combined with her capacity for delivering convincing vocal interpretations, a Trudy Lynn track simply tells it like it is - the straight and timeless truth.

"I've been writing songs a long time. I just didn't start recording them until more recently," she also points out. During her developing years in Houston, she began by filling the pages of paper tablets with original lyrics, words that often came to her spontaneously as she mused on life and it's ups and downs. Occasionally she would show the scribbled results to peers such as singer/guitarist Johnny "Clyde" Copeland, whom she particularly singes out as a valuable source of advice and encouragement. Over time, she figured out how to craft her rough ideas into polished musical statements. And the twenty-first century finds her now at the top of her game in this respect, as the seven new Trudy Lynn compositions on her latest disk so eloquently attest.

"Once I get a hook, something that might happen to the average person - you know, a catchy way to phrase it - I just trust that, just go with that," she says. "Once I get that good hook, I start writing around it, you know, story-wise: trying to put over the idea, drawing from both my own life and my understanding of how it is for other people."

As for the music - that sound that blends the emotive power of the blues with elements of sophisticated funk and soul - it comes to her naturally, despite the fact that she's never played an instrument. "Normally when I'm writing lyrics, first I can just tell if it out to be a slow song or a fast song. Don't ask me how," she says with a laugh. "Then I get with a piano player or a guitar player, and just hum out what I'm trying to do. And that usually comes through pretty good."

Whether the final form is a love ballad such as he nostalgic "Memories of You" or a slick blues song such as the philosophical "No Deposit No Return", these songs are all Trudy, through and through.

But as Trudy reminds us, "I'm from Texas, so I know about country music, too." Then she adds with a smile, "I'm giving it all a pretty funky flavor though." Ultimately these genre-blending experiments make perfect sense for an open-minded singer whose primary theme is the core reality of human relationships.

It all goes back to what she learned starting out in Fifth Ward, creative self-statement can be enhanced by a grasp of tradition and the fundamental truths. Trudy Lynn understands. Check her out, and you will too.

- Roger Wood

Tamara Williams is an 18-year-old gospel sensation. Her first public appearance was at age 7 and it was the beginning of her phenomenal trajectory as a gifted young vocalist. At age 11, she recorded her very first CD, "Higher Ground." Tamara has placed in national talent searches and appeared on BET, The Word Network and the Gospel Channel among others. At age 13, she was the youngest Top Ten Finalist of the Original Gospel Dream 2003 to perform at the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Tamara has opened for a wide range of nationally noted gospel acts including The Williams Brothers, Trin-i-tee 5:7, Tye Tribbett and Soul Fruit. Recognized as the "The Best Youth Soloist" at the Texas Gospel Music of Excellence Annual Awards conference, she also won the Gospel Heritage Foundation's Unsigned Artist Showcase of 2005. In 2008, Tamara graduated from high school and has accepted her calling as an inspirational artist.

Tony Henry is one of Houston's newest voices to the music industry. Charismatic with his lyrics, the soul in his raspy voice has a magnetic power that grabs the attention of his listening audience. Singing a mixture of cover tunes and original works, Tony implements life's conditions in his unique song writing that is reminiscent of the 1970's soul music. Capturing the likes of Sam Cook, Bob Marley and Michael Jackson, Tony has employed his own style to fit his presence and personality. A free-spirit and sensitive to all elements of life, he delivers many ranges of intimate songs, occasionally accompanied by his guitar. Tony has performed at some of Houston’s top music venues and appeared on national television broadcasts. From his resounding new single "Stuck in the Ghetto," to his intuitive praise-filled "Searchin'," both written by the artist himself, his music is up-lifting, encouraging and soothing to the soul. Tony has toured nationwide with Cedric Ford & the Worshippers, and his song, "Stuck in the Ghetto" was released nationally on Chamillionaire's latest album, Ultimate Victory. Tony is currently working on the completion of his1st solo album.

Corey Ledet has been setting local dancehalls and festival stages on fire, whether he is playing his single row or piano accordion. His repertoire ranges from old-time Creole and uptempo zydeco, to a musical mix all his own. A Houston native, Corey began performing at the age of 10. In 1999, he released his first CD. Some say that Corey is a young artist with an old soul, given his affection for Creole music and the early roots of zydeco. His hero is the late Clifton Chenier and while there was only one King of zydeco, Corey is clearly in contention for crown prince of the Creole sound.

 Sponsors and Producers
A Gulf Coast Juneteenth is produced by Houston Institute for Culture and Surviving Katrina and Rita in Houston, with support from the City of Houston through the Miller Theatre Advisory Board and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Partners include the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, Community Artists' Collective, the Houston Blues Society, Project Row Houses, and Talking Back Living History.

Special thanks to media sponsors KPFT Pacifica Radio, KTRU Rice University Radio and KTSU The Choice.

Additional thanks to Gini Reed, Doris Huang and Harriet Yim.

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