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Spring into arts, music and cultural events in Durham and Triangle areas

Zakir Hussain's Masters of Percussion Performing at Duke Performances
Duke Performances:Zakir Hussain's Masters of Percussion

Spring into arts and cultural experiences and warm the winter chills in Durham and surrounding Triangle areas. As spring generates new life, producers, creative staff, and people with “arts fever” are inspired to create opportunities to enjoy the arts, culture, music, and entertainment events. Some organizations are planting seeds for new festivals and events in hopes to become a tradition in their communities. Whatever the motivations and intent, this spring season provides ample entertainment opportunities and venues to mingle with people in the community and experience creative talents that are awe inspiring like Mother Nature’s spring creations.

Gospel Jubilators to Perform Spring Concert
Durham’s Gospel Jubilators will perform at the historic State Capitol Spring Concert Saturday on March 22. The Gospel Jubilators is an all-male vocal group that performs cappella music highlighting gospel music of the golden age of 1930s and '40s. The group has performed at the National Folk Festival; the Smithsonian in Washington DC, Folklife Festival; North Carolina Bicentennial Folklife Festival; MerleFest; and the Omagh International Folk Music Festival in Ireland.

The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources (NCDCR) is the state agency “with a vision to be the leader in using the state's cultural resources to build the social, cultural and economic future of North Carolina in Raleigh. Led by Secretary Susan Kluttz, NCDCR's mission is to enrich lives and communities by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history and libraries in North Carolina that will spark creativity, stimulate learning, preserve the state's history and promote the creative economy. NCDCR was the first state organization in the nation to include all agencies for arts and culture under one umbrella,” according to the mission statement.

For more information, call (919) 733-4994 and visit

Duke Performances
The spring schedule at Duke Performances offers diverse and eclectic lineup from Zakir Hussain's Masters of Percussion, a compilation of the finest Indian classical tradition, on March 27th to the legendary jazz artist, Chick Corea on April 18th. Their schedule is aligned with their commitments of “presenting artists spanning classical, new music, jazz, Americana, independent rock, international music, theater, and dance” as stated in their mission.
For listing of more events and information

Seventh annual Raleigh Blues Festival
The seventh annual Raleigh Blues Festival will feature Mel Waiters, Sir Charles Jones, Latimore, TK Soul, Theodis Ealey, The Klass Band, and Maurice Wynn. The festival is indoors and unlike traditional outdoor venues, but it’s still about the music-the soul of the blues. Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts is the venue for the event on March 29.
Event Information: or call 919-996-8700

The New Club Carolina
Club Carolina is a new club series initiated by The Carolina Theatre of Durham that manages the city-owned Carolina Theatre. Their mission is “dedicated to presenting vibrant, thought-provoking film and live performances that contribute to the cultural and economic vitality of downtown Durham and the Triangle Region.” As a long-standing traditional venue in Durham, they are constantly refining and creating programming to support their mission, provide platforms to showcase world-class talent, and sustain as a business entity and funding during challenging economic times.

They have launched a new program called "Carolina Club", inspired by Bob Nocek, President and Chief Executive Officer that transforms the 1,000-seat Fletcher Hall theater into a smaller intimate and club-like setting for less than 500 guests. “The idea resulted from conversations with agents (that represents unknown and new artist) that were not able to fill a 1000 seat venue. Club Carolina (also) focuses on showcasing new artists and creating a niche,” said Aaron Bare, Chief Operating Officer/Marketing Director. The thinking out of the box formula combines lighting, curtains, and creative ingenuity and “uses different configurations to reinvent the space”, said Bare. The first three artists selected for the Club Carolina Series for its debut are Ben Taylor on April 9th, Ben Sollee on April 18th, and Red Baraat on May 7th.

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The Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance
The Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance continues their annual spring festival on April 17th through the 20th. Organizers call it “ music lovers’ paradise” for many lovers of music which include “family-friendly celebration of music, dance, art, and education for four days, four stages, and over 60 bands in beautiful, green Chatham County!.” Some samples of the lineup include: Indigo Girls, The Del McCoury Band, Donna the Buffalo, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Baloji & L’Orchestra de la Katuba, and the list goes on and on.
For more information visit

The Art of Cool Project
Preserving jazz legacy in mainstream and pop culture can be challenging, but the passions, efforts, and drive of many artists, professionals, and enthusiasts can cut through the filters that dilute the appreciation and the history of jazz. Many stories chronicle the difficult journeys of talented musician to reach success and affirm personal contributions, inspirations, and even sacrifices to bring jazz to life for mass audiences. The early stories of defiant attitudes to play and listen to jazz are a reflection of American history, social commentary of the times, and countless stories of artists that added to the evolutional richness of jazz music, and still influencing new generations.

Albert Strong, IV is a jazz musician and educator and his partner Cicely Mitchell are founders of an initiative to add another page to preserve and support jazz. The newly formed organization is called the “Art of Cool Project”. The inaugural Art of Cool Festival (AOCF) is hosted in Durham, North Carolina on April 25th and 26th. Other collaborators of the AOCF are Cognito Barr, the creative director, who is influential in the world of Hip Hop and soul music and renowned jazz musician and Durham resident, Branford Marsalis. Marsalis said, “This festival is an important contribution to Durham’s music scene. It’s a positive step towards expanding the audience for jazz-influenced music.”

The Art of Cool Festival is a two-day music festival with two outdoor stages, six indoor venues and over 20 world-class performances. Festival highlights include a 2-night headliner series featuring legendary jazz icon Maceo Parker, a Carolina Soul Tribute with Miguel Atwood-Ferguson Ensemble accompanied by an all-star line-up, The Clayton Brothers, Bilal, Alice Smith and more. Panel discussions and master classes in partnership with North Carolina Central University Jazz Studies Program, a film screening in partnership with Full Frame Documentary Festival, and a viewing of the Jazz Loft Project are also part of AOCF.
For more information visit

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