By Hailey Wharram
Jake Blount, a renowned multi-instrumentalist and scholar specializing in African American roots music, will participate in a two-day artist residency at Georgetown University from Sept. 20 to Sept. 21, 2023.
Blount creates music which fuses traditional Black folk and Afro-futurist styles in a poignant exploration of African American culture’s past, present, and future. A true renaissance man, Blount is a banjoist, fiddler, guitarist, and vocalist as well as a social activist with a particular passion for environmental justice. His scholarship examines the countless ways Black culture has played a pivotal role in influencing the American musical landscape.
His debut solo album “Spider Tales” (2020) was praised by publications such as The New Yorker and NPR which cited the project as one of the best albums of 2020. “What a wonderful, vivid, slightly roguish, and quite powerful collection it is,” NPR’s “All Songs Considered” pronounced. Likewise, “The New Faith” (2022), which was released last September in coordination with Smithsonian Folkways’ African American Legacy series, has received similar critical acclaim.
According to his website, Blount will begin pursuing a Ph.D. in Musicology and Ethnomusicology from Brown University this fall. Though based in Providence, Rhode Island, Blount is no stranger to Washington D.C., having performed previously at The Kennedy Center and at NPR’s Tiny Desk in January of this year.
In addition to visiting Georgetown classes and participating in artist dialogues during his residency, Blount will teach a masterclass on Sept. 20 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Gonda Theater, Davis Performing Arts Center. The event is free to students and the public alike, and there is no registration required. Attendees are welcome to bring their own instruments if they would like to jam alongside Blount.
The following evening, Sept. 21, Blount will end his residency with a concert at 7:30 p.m. in the Gonda Theater. Tickets are free and can be secured online. Following the performance, a reception will be held in the lobby.
Jake Blount’s residency will be supported by Georgetown University’s Department of Performing Arts, Racial Justice Institute, African-American Studies Department, American Studies Program, Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship, and Learning, Equity, Access, and Pedagogy Initiative.
To watch and hear a Tiny Desk Concert from NPR with Jake Blount, go here.