SONGS OF BLACK FOLK 2023: Music of Resistance and Hope, returns to Seattle for a Second Year to Take the Stage at the Paramount Theatre, Sunday June 18th, at 7:00 PM

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Following a magical 2022 debut, that mesmerized a crowd of more than 1,800 attendees, SONGS OF BLACK FOLK returns to Seattle to take the stage at the Paramount Theatre on June 18th at 7:00 PM.


Renowned performers and presenters will share a music tradition that began on the African continent, was transported to the Americas via slave ships, and took root in the daily sufferings of an enslaved Black people who chose to survive and fought to be free. The audience will be shown how Black musical culture has functioned as both a tool of resistance and as a powerful source of hope for a Black people who have endured four centuries of white supremacy and its relentless assault on Black lives. The concert features the rise of the Negro Spirituals and demonstrates how they have evolved into other Black musical genres including, blues, Gospel, jazz, R&B, Hip-Hop, and even spoken word. “The intent of SBF is to use music to connect the African American struggle for freedom, justice, dignity, and happiness with the struggles of other Americans who have had to fight their way from the margins of American society into the mainstream,” shares Reverend Dr. Leslie D. Braxton, Executive Director, Visionary and Founder, Songs of Black Folk. “SBF is a world-class fine arts production that features African-American talent, and is presented to the Pacific Northwest audience.

”Performers and presenters include:

  • Maestro Ramón Bryant Braxton returns as Artistic Director and Conductor.
  • Darin Atwater, a critically acclaimed composer, conductor, pianist, record producer, arranger, film composer, vocalist, and arts advocate will be a Special Guest.
  • Soloman Howard, one of the most acclaimed opera singers in the world, brings his voice described as “sonorous” by the New York Times, “Superhuman” by the Denver Post, and “a triumph” by the Guardian.
  • Lyric soprano Jacqueline Echols has been praised for her “dynamic range and vocal acrobatics” (Classical Voice) in theaters across the United States.
  • James Connor has been a performer at Universal Studios since 2009 and is a Gospel and R&B recording artist, composer, conductor, pianist, dancer, and actor.
  • Crystal Renee Aikin is an American gospel singer-songwriter from Tacoma, Washington, and the winner of the first season of Sunday Best.
  • Josephine Howell is arguably the Pacific Northwest’s most popular and beloved African American vocalist on the scene today and flows seamlessly between Rhythm & Blues, jazz, and Gospel music.
  • The Choir, an intergenerational Choral group of 40 gifted African American singers from the Puget Sound Community will perform under Braxton’s direction.
  • A 50-piece Orchestra (Conducted by Ramon Braxton) will accompany the Choir and the featured soloists and is comprised of musicians from the Puget Sound community.
  • Emcees include the honorable T’wina Nobles, Washington State Senator from the 28th District and KING 5 News Reporter Lionel Donovan.

For more information and to reserve your tickets, visit Songs of Black Folk Outstanding Public Servant Awards
The inaugural Songs of Black Folk Production, June 19, 2022, included the presentation of three Outstanding Public Servant Awards, in three distinct categories. Each award was given for Lifetime Achievement in that initial presentation. The 2023 SBF Outstanding Public Service Awards are intended to highlight and encourage the “next” generation of transformative servant leaders in the following four categories:

1. The Norman Rice Community Development and Public Service Award
2. The Trish Millines Dziko Diversity in Technology Award​
3. The Patrinell Wright Excellence in the Performance Arts Award
4. Maxine Mims Educational Empowerment Award (New)

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Janine Worthington