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Blind Boys of Alabama Competition

Win A Pair of Tickets to see the Blind Boys of Alabama this July!

We have a pair of tickets to give away to see the Blind Boys of Alabama at the Barbican Centre in London on Saturday 13th July as they collaborate with Amadou & Mariam. Bringing American Gospel back to its African source, the two artists draw threads between contemporary Afro pop and the gospel music which grew out of the same West African roots. 

The Blind Boys of Alabama first formed as children in 1930s America, celebrating the gospel music they grew up with and showing that ’disability doesn’t have to be a handicap’. They are now recognised worldwide for their contribution to the genre and are winners of five Grammy awards.

To win tickets just enter your details below:

This competition has now closed!

 

Terms and conditions

Prize is for a pair of stall tickets to the selected show only on Saturday 13th July, all travel and other expenses are the winners responsibility. Tickets are non-transferrable and non-refundable. Competition finishes at 12.00pm Friday 5th July and the winner will be announced 1:00pm the same day. Tickets will be emailed to the winner. More show information available at:

www.barbican.org.uk/whats-on/2019/event/amadou-mariam-with-the-blind-boys-of-alabama 
 

About the Blind Boys of Alabama:

In the seven decades since the Blind Boys of Alabama first began singing together, America has witnessed a World War, the civil rights movement and the Summer of Love; the moon landing, Vietnam and the fall of the Berlin Wall; JFK, MLK, and Malcolm X; the invention of the jukebox, the atomic bomb and the internet. Through it all, the Blind Boys' music has not only endured, but thrived, helping both to define the sound of the American south and to push it forward through the 20th century and well on into the 21st. Praised by NPR as "pioneers," the group has transcended barriers of race and genre to become one of the most acclaimed and celebrated groups in modern music. From the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind, where the original members met as children, all the way to The White House - where they've performed for three different presidents - the band's story is, in many ways, America's story, and that story is at the heart of their emotional new album, 'Almost Home.'

Recorded over four different sessions helmed by four different GRAMMY-winning producers in four different cities, 'Almost Home' recounts the band's remarkable journey, primarily through original songs written for them by an outstanding collection of artists including Valerie June, the North Mississippi Allstars, Phil Cook, John Leventhal, Marc Cohn, and Ruthie Foster among others. The record is the band's first in three years, following on the heels of 2014's 'Talkin' Christmas!' with Taj Mahal and their 2013 collaboration with Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, 'I'll Find A Way,' and it sees them picking up right where they left off, blending the sacred and secular, the traditional and innovative, the past and present.

Tunica, Mississippi

Tunica is the perfect mix of excitement and Southern charm. Seven casino resorts rise above fields of cotton and soybeans. Experience a big win, Blues history and down-home cooking all in one place! Tunica is the Gateway to the Blues and the Delta and is a must-see when you cross the Mississippi state line.

Begin your Mississippi Delta tour at the Gateway to the Blues Museum and Visitor Center located on Blues Highway 61 and housed in an original 1895 train depot. It is the perfect start for your journey into the unique blues music heritage of the Delta. The gift shop offers specialty, Delta blues and Mississippi Delta items and is a one-of-a-kind venue.

The Mississippi Blues Trails starts in Tunica and features six markers on Blues stories like Son House and James Cotton. For live music, experience red-hot headliners in premier casino venues or live music from local bands at a stage bar. 

Live it up at one of Tunica’s eight world-class casino resorts featuring slots, table games and now Sports Betting. Or tee off at one of two 18-hole golf courses, Tunica National Golf & Tennis or River Bend Links.

Savour Southern favourites like fried green tomatoes and catfish at the Home of the Fried Dill Pickle, Hollywood Café, made famous in the song “Walking in Memphis”.

Tunica RiverPark allows visitors a chance to explore and better understand the history of America's Greatest River. Tunica RiverPark includes a large historic museum and interpretive center, complete with aquariums, interactive exhibits and dioramas that reveal the legends of the past. The 168-acre Tunica RiverPark includes nature trails, outdoor exhibits, an observation deck and veranda offering spectacular views of the Mississippi River. 

Enjoy a country-style breakfast at Highway 61’s Blue & White Restaurant opened in 1937 inside an old Pure Oil gas station. Taste the legendary “biscuits” or grab a box of donuts for the road.

Tupelo, Mississippi

Located in the foothills of Northeast Mississippi, Tupelo is the epicenter of America's music where in 1935 the world's greatest entertainer was born in a two-room shotgun shack.

Stroll through picturesque Downtown Tupelo and peruse its many unique shops and art galleries. Enjoy delectable Southern cuisine at one of Tupelo’s 160 restaurants and hear great live music in the Birthplace of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Elvis Presley's Birthplace

Visitors can experience the first part of this incredible story by visiting Elvis Presley's Birthplace where he took his first breath, the church where he sang his first song and the Tupelo Hardware Store where he strummed his first guitar.  Elvis fans can follow a driving tour or the new self-guided bicycle tour which highlights 13 significant places in Elvis’ childhood. 

A larger-than-life statue commemorating his 1956 Homecoming concert stands in Tupelo’s Fairpark District where each June all things Elvis are celebrated during the weeklong annual Tupelo Elvis Festival.

The Tupelo Hardware Store was where Gladys, Elvis’ mother, purchased his first guitar and put music in the hands of a boy who grew to become a musical legend. The story goes that Elvis was very upset because Gladys refused to buy him a shotgun for his 11th birthday, so a store employee tried calming him down by handing him a guitar. Elvis then decided upon the guitar! Visitors are welcome during the store’s regular hours.

Johnnie’s Drive-In is an All-American diner and one of 12 significant sites in Elvis’ formative years in Tupelo marked with bronze plaques on the Elvis Presley Driving Trail. Elvis and his friends enjoyed dining at Johnnie’s Drive-In and visitors can still enjoy the food Elvis liked to eat.  You can even sit in the Elvis booth!

Natchez Trace Parkway

The rhythms of this Southern town that gave rise to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll began with the Chickasaw natives who travelled the 444-mile Natchez Trace Parkway over 8,000 years ago. Reaching from Natchez, Mississippi, to Nashville, Tennessee, this national scenic byway is headquartered in Tupelo and the music that it connects is as legendary as the views along the winding road.

Tour Tupelo’s trails on the Civil Rights and African-American Heritage Trail, Civil War Trail and Chickasaw Native American Trail.

New Orleans Cocktail Walking Tour

Take a walk through the French Quarter's bars and restaurants to discover the famous 'spirits' of New Orleans.

From America's first cocktail - the Sazerac - to the Pimm's Cup, the Ramos Gin Fizz and Absinthe you will enjoy a completely different view of New Orleans through the history of fine dining and drinking. You'll be entertained with classic stories of the cocktail concoctions which have been made famous in the city plus all the characters that brought them to life.

You must be 21-years of age or older to take this tour where you'll be offered a complimentary Natchez Jazz Punch - with additional drinks available to purchase along the route - and some Mardi Gras souvenir beads to bring home.

If you fancy sampling a typical New Orleans cocktail from the comfort of your home try our Vieux Carré recipe. This is the signature cocktail of the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans where Tales of the Cocktail was held. The Vieux Carré was created in 1938 by Walter Bergeron, who was then the head bartender, and the name comes from the French name for the Old Quarter.

Whether you're an early bird or a night owl, no matter what time of day - New Orleans has something in store for all visitors. Read about things to do in New Orleans.

For further information on the cocktail walking tour email Louisiana@deep-south-usa.com.

The Shoals, Alabama

The Shoals, defined as the area comprising Florence, Muscle Shoals, Tuscumbia and Sheffield, is home to Helen Keller, famous fashion icons and a house designed by America's most famous architect, but music is what makes The Shoals a must-see destination. Actor/musician Kiefer Sutherland, who recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in May 2017, explains it best - "If you're into something like auto racing, you go to the Indy 500. If you're into music, this is an absolutely necessary destination".

48-hours in The Shoals

Day 1 - Afternoon

Check out two of the greatest figures in blues and rock in the same afternoon, W.C. Handy and Sam Philips. Handy earned the title "Father of the Blues", not just because he wrote some of the most famous blues standards, but because by transcribing blues music to sheet music, he shared what had been little-known Southern music with musicians around the world. The W.C. Handy Birthplace, Museum and Library, housed in the log cabin in which Handy was born in 1873, holds a wealth of memorabilia, including his trumpet, much of his handwritten music and the piano on which he composed the classic "St. Louis Blues". Phillips founded Sun Records and revolutionised rock and roll. Credited with recording the first rock-n-roll record - "Rocket 88" by Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats - Phillips shaped music history by discovering and recording Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, B.B. King, Howlin' Wolf, Little Milton and others. A historic marker for Phillips stands in front of Florence's Big River Broadcasting, headquarters for the radio stations he owned. Step into the lobby to view rare photos of him and to see other memorabilia from his time.

Day 1 - Evening

Be seduced by the smell of hot bread as it comes from the oven at Ricatoni's Italian Grill in Florence, and then delight in its taste after drizzling it with olive oil and herbs. That preamble prepares your taste buds for what follows!

Day 2 - Morning

In downtown Florence, savour brunch at Odette, a restaurant with a cool vibe, well-stocked bar and a great menu of farm-to-table favourites. Afterwards walk up the street to internationally renowned fashion designer Billy Reid's shop. Even if it's your first time there, you've probably seen his clothes before, worn by Europe's most fashionable and by stylish spy James Bond on the big screen. A short drive away, Alabama Chanin's Factory and Cafe showcases world-renowned, heirloomm-quality hand-sewn pieces for home or body. Each item is made from 100% organic-cotton jersey. Equal care is given to the delights served in the cafe, where the menu, which changes frequently, might highlight baked Brie, mini Southern biscuits with bacon jam or dessert crepes.

Day 2 - Afternoon

Hit a few more high notes by visiting The Alabama Music Hall of Fame, which honours more than 1,200 Alabama musicians, from Hank Williams and Sun Ra to Emmylou Harris and the Commodores. Check out the Sun Studio equipment Phillips used to record Elvis Presley, then view the country group ALABAMA's tour bus and a 15-foot jukebox and 17-foot guitar that play songs by Alabama artists. Tour FAME Recording Studios in Muscle Shoals, where Rick Hall created a blend of Southern soul music, which eventually became known as the Muscle Shoals Sound, with Wilson Pickett's 'Mustang Sally', Percy Sledge's 'When a Man Loves a Woman' and Aretha Franklin's 'I Never Loved a Man'. According to the Alabama Music Office, the still-active studio has recorded more than 80 'Top 10' records in it's history.

Spend the rest of the afternoon at some non-musical attractions, Florence's Rosenbaum House is the only structure in Alabama designed by architectural giant Frank Lloyd Wright and one of the only such houses in the South-east open to the public. Ivy Green in Tuscumbia is the birthplace of Helen Keller, who inspired millions by transforming herself, with the help of her teacher Anne Sullivan, from a deaf-blind girl unable to communicate into one of her generation's greatest women. See the living quarters she shared with her teacher and the famous well where they had their communications breakthrough.

Day 2 - Evening

Hungering for a unique dining experience? Tuscumbia's Rattlesnake Saloon has been featured on the Food Network's "Craziest Restaurants in America" for its unique setting. Built under a natural shelter, the cave-like watering hole looks like the set of an old Western. Conclude your Shoals pilgrimage by listening to live music. Swampers Bar and Grill at the Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa hosts some of the area's best musicians on its stage.

Day 3 - Morning

Tee off at one of the country's best golf courses, the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at The Shoals. Then visit the restored Muscle Shoals Sound Studio. Singer-guitarist Dan Auerbach, half of the Black Keys, was the first to record at the revamped studio in March 2017.

For more information on any of these attractions email alabama@deep-south-usa.com

 

 

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