University Park, IL,
17:06 PM

GSU Showcases Blues Hip Hop Experience at CPA

Contact: Sharon Morrissey

Governors State University



For Immediate Release

 Celebrating the Language of Our Times

The Blues Hip Hop Experience at GSU’s Center for Performing Arts

University Park, IL, April 12, 2018 – Join Governors State University (GSU) Center for the Performing Arts (CPA) for a dynamic evening exploring the rich blues legacy of our region and its parallels to hip-hop.

 The Blues Hip Hop Experience on Saturday April 21, 2018 at 8 p.m. combines poetry, performance, and perspective for a multi-generational audience in one unforgettable evening.

The evening will be co-hosted by three-time Grammy-nominee and hometown harmonica hero, Billy Branch, and award-winning journalist and PBS TV personality, Sylvia Ewing. Branch’s band, The Sons of Blues will be joined by an all-Chicago collection of vocalists, hip-hop artists and performance poets. Guest vocalists include jazz and blues artist Lucy Smith, and hip-hop collective artists avery r. young, international music star Ugochi, FM Supreme, M.C. Sense, and DJ HSHBRN. Young Chicago Author’s Jose Oliverez makes a special appearance as well Urbanized Music featuring Amina Norman Hawkins and Coolout Chris and break out blues star Melody Angel.

Music has long served as a vehicle to give voice to the plight of the people, and to their triumphs. Two all- American genres have played a critical role in sharing the stories of African Americans and everyday people: Blues and Hip Hop.

“These African-American oral traditions bridge generational and cultural divides, uniting people from all backgrounds for a shared experience" comments co-host and producer Ewing. “Billy Branch and I have always believed in and worked side by side with young people. This dedication is our contribution to a creative and just world.”

The production is dedicated to Nick Charles who died in 2014 was a longtime member of Billy Branch’s Sons of Blues band and a protégée of Howlin’ Wolf; Koko Taylor a Chicago and international legend and the first lady and first feminist in Blues; Gwendolyn Brooks, a muse of poets and artists in Chicago and champion of youth everywhere; and finally, to the young people of Chicagoland who should gain strength from and carry on the legacy of Charles, Taylor, and Brooks. Media sponsors include Vocalo 91.1 FM  and WDCB FM Radio.

This performance is part of the Center’s “Made in Chicago” Series, and is made possible through the generosity of The Chicago Community Trust, with additional support provided by The National Endowment for the Arts and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

The series brings Chicago-based artists and companies to the Southland, to support Chicago artists, and increase theater participation by first-time attendees. This is the final performance in the series for the 2017-18 season.

For Tickets and InformationTickets: $28 (Discounts are available at the box office for seniors groups of 10 or more and, and students with valid I.D.)


By Phone: 708.235.2222

In Person at the Box Office: 1 University Parkway, University Park, IL

Box Office Hours: Monday- Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (open to 6p.m. on Thursdays) & 2 hours prior to all performances. Parking is free. For best GPS directions always use the location search term “Governors State University” only.

Billy Branch has received three Grammy nominations, founded the Grammy Blues Committee, and won multiple W.C. Handy Awards from the Blues Foundation, an Emmy Award, and two Chicago Music Awards. Bill Branch has become the ambassador of the Chicago Blues. His internationally recognized “Blues in Schools Program,” is committed to teaching both young and old about the Blues as the roots of America's music. 

Sylvia Ewing has produced, directed, or reported for WTTW Channel 11, WBEZ FM, WVON AM, Chicago Parent, Chicago Sun Times, Steppenwolf Theatre and others. She creates successful public and private events at venues around the city. Sylvia can be seen locally and around the country as an on-air television host for PBS (Public Broadcasting System) specials. Her work in the media earned an induction into the HistoryMakers African American Archives in 2012 and she has received two Awards of Excellence from the Chicago Association of Black Journalists, the Peter Lisagor Award, the Edward R. Murrow Award, has been nominated for three local Emmys, and more.


About the Center for Performing Arts

Serving as a vibrant cultural destination in the southland community since 1995, Center for Performing Arts offers national touring acts, Chicago-based artists, community and academic theatre. The state-of-the art 1,171-seat facility is located at a vibrant and dynamic university setting with free parking and a convenient location accessible to major highways and the Metra. Governors State University serves 5,200 undergraduate and graduate students with degree programs that prepare them for success in business, industry, healthcare, the arts, and education. As a state university, GSU is committed to providing high-quality, accessible, and responsible higher education opportunities. GSU is located 35 miles south of Chicago in University Park, IL and committed to embracing diversity and academic excellence while transforming student passion into lifelong purpose.