All things music in Memphis celebrated
> Special week aims to bring business, art sides together
Special to The Commercial Appeal
On Saturday, the Memphis Music Foundation kicks off its first Memphis Music Week, a celebration of local music and artists in all their different forms.
“What we’re attempting to do with this is cause the community in general and the business community specifically to appreciate that we can use our music to become ... a catalyst for economic empowerment,” says Al Bell, former Stax head and newly appointed chairman of the nonprofit foundation. “During Memphis Music Week, we hope to bring businesses and the art side of Memphis together and cause them to do things that reflect, promote and highlight our music.”
Running through next Saturday, the campaign consists of more than 18 events citywide — including previously established events like the Memphis Pops Festival and the RiverArtsFest — that are being branded under the Memphis Music Week banner. To be included, events had only to feature local artists and be open to the public for $15 or less. However, some companies and organizations, like Pinnacle Airlines, which is throwing a hangar party for its employees with Memphis pop-and-soul singer Ryan Peel, have jumped on board with their own private events as well.
“The idea is to just get
people thinking about Memphis music and interacting with it,” says the foundation’s director of development, Pat Mitchell Worley, a key organizer of the effort. “If for this one week we can just get people to see the incredible diversity and quality of music that is being produced right here under their noses, maybe that will carry over beyond the week.”
In addition to the concerts, the Music Foundation has teamed with the arts Web site livefrommemphis.com to produce the second in a series of local music compilations, a 27-song download featuring tracks from Amy LaVere, Al Kapone and City Champs, among others. The compilation will be available for download starting today at livefrommemphis.com. Participating companies will give out download cards to their employees or customers.
Also part of the effort, the University of Memphis’ jazz radio station, WUMR FM 91.7, is playing music by Memphis artists throughout the week.
“My goals are fairly simple for this week,” says Bell. “One is to have participation from the community at large. The other is, as a result of that participation, to have people talking positively about their homegrown music.”
As part of Memphis Music Week, Lil Rounds will sing the national anthem at the Grizzlies’ home opener Wednesday.