Billie Holiday




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Ladies Singing the Blues at the
New York Library for Performing Arts

By Deardra Shuler

March 2006

Community Works, a non profit arts education organization founded in 1990 by Barbara Horowitz is bringing its Harlem Exhibition and programming to the West Side. The organization works with youth of all ethnicities throughout 550 public schools with 300 artists and 220 cultural and community organizations annually exposing them to their musical history and legacy of the past and present. This they do via public arts exhibitions, workshops, multicultural performances, and mentoring programs which also enable youth to demonstrate their own creative talents and abilities through interviewing the assorted artists affiliated with the various cultural projects. Community Works also works in collaboration with New Heritage Theater Group, a not-for-profit theater organization along with a number of venues such as Symphony Space, The Museum of the City of New York, and the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, et al, in an effort to bring culture to the New York community at large.

On March 20th, Community Works, in association with the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center, and the Harlem Arts Alliance will host harlem is…Music: Ladies Singing the Blues as part of Women’s History Month. The evening extravaganza will salute the legacy of jazz by honoring the extraordinary women of jazz and blues, such grand dames as Billie Holiday; Dinah Washington; Sarah Vaughn and Bessie Smith as a tribute to the talents of these exceptional artists of today and yesteryear.

“Our goal is to work with children of all ethnicities within the public school system to expose them to their culture, history, and art forms. We have had various programs in Harlem and then took the project downtown to the South Street Seaport and St. Augustine Church in downtown Manhattan. I was surprised when I was asked why Community Works brought the project downtown. I said because African Americans lived downtown before they moved uptown to Harlem. They had a thriving community in lower Manhattan at one time. I realized that there are many people that are unaware of that fact, even some African Americans. That is why I realize how vital this project is educationally as well as culturally,” explained Barbara Horowitz.

Ghanniyya Green, known as the singer’s singer will be one of the special ladies singing the Blues on March 20th. Ms. Green is a native New Yorker who has appeared in clubs such as the Blue Note, Cotton Club, Sardi’s, Dangerfield’s and the Village Gate. Her unique talents and stylized theatrical and jazz vocalization has been witnessed by corporate sponsors such as Citicorp, Chase Manhattan Bank and Union Carbide. Her dynamic voice has been heard by audiences throughout the country and the world. She is the winner of the Houston Pearson Award for Most Promising Vocalist and has performed with such notables as Max Roach, Pharoah Sanders, Art Blakley Jr, and Branford Marsalis to name a few. Joining her on March 20th will be Lady Cantrese who has sang at several outstanding venues as a mark of her exceptional talent. She has performed at Birdland, St. Nick’s Pub, Londell’s, Sylvia Restaurant and the Lenox Lounge. She has toured Japan with Vy Higginson and the New York Gospel Singers and in Italy with the Harlem Gospel Choir. She is also a member of “Motown Remembered.” Rounding out the evening of Ladies Singing the Blues is Leolive Tucker whose eclectic talents encompass calypso, blues, jazz, salsa, and rhythm and blues. Her pure harmonies and ability to emote her songs and those of famous blues artists, et al, with such incredible skill has drawn audiences, many whom have frequented Robin’s Nest, Londells, the Iridum, Lenox Lounge and various venues throughout the country.

Concert pianist Annie Taylor Greenup has selected some wonderful blues pieces to perform for this august occasion. Ms. Greenup was educated at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Howard University School of Music, and the prestigious Oberlin Observatory. Annie Taylor Greenup is a master pianist who has performed professionally at events, corporate and professional parties as well as performed at the Christ Church of Riverdale. An educator, Annie is a consultant for the Board of Education and trains new elementary teachers in the pedagogy of music.

The incomparable Gloria Lynne, songstress extraordinaire, who on Thursday, March 9th, sat down with commentator Flo Wiley for a evening of enchanting conversation before a delighted audience at the Museum of the City of New York, will be paid homage and given tribute at a special presentation given in her honor that night. Also, in addition to the concert, Community Works and New Heritage Theatre will honor Lenox Lounge; Showmans and St. Nicks Pub for their outstanding efforts as keepers of the legacy of music.

Ladies Singing the Blues will be held on March 20th at 6:30 p.m., at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center, located at 40 Lincoln Center Plaza. Reservations are required, thus interested parties should RSVP to Community Works at 212-459-1854.

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