Sparky Rucker in Concert
It has been nearly six years since Sparky Rucker last performed in Ithaca for an adult concert and 10 school concerts in three days! Enthusiastic kids and teachers begged him to come back. Based in Tennessee and much in demand for tours, he only makes a few trips a year to the Northeast.
James "Sparky" Rucker is a superb African American folk musician, storyteller, historian, and former schoolteacher. Having performed for 35 years at major folk festivals, concert halls, coffeehouses, and schools (K-12), he is highly regarded throughout the U.S. and Europe. His nine recordings have been issued on premier folk labels (Gentle Wind, Green Linnet, June Appal, Flying Fish, Rounder). He also has a number of storytelling videos, including National Geographic productions. His range of material is broad, including traditional play songs, songs of slavery, and the Civil War (carefully researched and brought to vivid life), Appalachian ballads, gospel, cowboy and train songs, and freedom songs of the civil rights movement, driving blues, and his own compositions. His mastery of the slide blues guitar is unrivaled (he learned from some of the old-time greats!).
Sparky Rucker is dynamic and spell-binding in performance, with a rich, expressive voice and distinctive, rhythmic guitar style. He is "for real." Interweaving songs and stories, he shows us our history: where we've come from and where we can go. In concert, Sparky gets his audience to participate with gusto. One of his messages, especially to children, is that we can all make our own music, and that making music together brings people together. Demonstrating harmonicas, spoons, bones, and hambone, Sparky shows kids that they can use simple, inexpensive (or free) instruments to raise quite a sound.
Join us in welcoming a unique, memorable performer. This concert is part of the Danby series supported by a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts and Community Arts Partnership of Tompkins County Decentralization Program.