The Pinetop Perkins Foundation aims to make Clarksdale, Mississippi, a top resource for young guitarists and pianists with the announcement of its second annual Youth Workshops Series. This year the event will take place from June 15 -17, 2011, and offer guitar as well as piano workshops. Bob Margolin will direct the guitar workshops and Ann Rabson returns to lead the piano workshops. Pinetop, himself, plans to in attendance for part of the event.
Other major artists will be added to the roster in the coming weeks. Open to "the young and the young at heart," the Foundation also offers scholarships to applicants from 12-21 years of age. "The goal," states Foundation president Pat Morgan, "is to grow the workshops into a major national resource for young musicians."
Held on the grounds of the historic Hopson Plantation and the Shack Up Inn, the workshops cover two and a half days of instruction capped by a performance Friday evening at Ground Zero Blues Club owned by Morgan Freeman and Bill Luckett. According to Luckett, who also serves on the board of the Pinetop Perkins Foundation, says "the mission of Pinetop Perkins Foundation fits into the area because keeping the blues alive is also a major part of the overall effort of Ground Zero Blues Club and the people of Clarksdale, Mississippi."
Both the piano and guitar workshops are geared for advanced and intermediate-level players. The piano workshops will focus on blues forms and blues elements including blues rhythms, introductions, turnarounds, left hand grooves, among other "various licks and tricks."
The title for Bob Margolin's workshop on the other hand, is Finding Deep Blues Guitar, and aims to personalize the experience--sharing technique, attitude, as well as exploring the art of listening and helping to perfect performance skills. Margolin says his aim is to "pursue blues that sounds and feels good, works with other players, thrills an audience, and is both fun and deeply fulfilling."
"It is especially fitting that these workshops are held at the Hopson Plantation and the Shack Up Inn," states Roger Stolle, a 2008 recipient of The Blues Foundation's Keeping the Blues Alive award and owner of the esteemed Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art in Clarksdale. Stolle adds "the same rich Delta blues environment that brought the world such iconic blues figures as John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters and Pinetop Perkins would also play a part in the blues genre's future. By bringing together experienced blues musicians with enthusiastic students the Pinetop Perkins Foundation and Clarksdale offers a truly unique and unforgettable learning pilgrimage to the land of the crossroads."
Formed in 2009, the Pinetop Perkins Foundation is a tax exempt non-profit organization whose mission is to provide encouragement and support for youth and young people at the beginning of their musical career; and help provide care and safety for elderly musicians at the twilight of their career. Fulfilling the first part of their mission, the Foundation plans to offer an annual Youth Workshop Series to bring world-renowned blues artists for instruction and mentoring to young musicians. On Feb. 24, 2011, Pinetop Perkins will receive the Mississippi Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts.
Further information, along with registration and scholarship application forms can be found on the Pinetop Perkins Foundation website at www.pinetopfoundation.org.