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Chicago musician brings blues to students and fans

Published: Tuesday, April 29, 2014 11:16 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, April 29, 2014 11:32 a.m. CDT
(Submitted Photo)
Blues musician Liz Mandeville performs in Traverse City, Mich. Mandeville, who was recently inducted into the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame, enjoys touring and collaborating with other blues musicians. She will be presenting to students in Baxter for Blues in Schools today and performing for blues fans at Cadillac Jacks on Wednesday.

Liz Mandeville is a small woman with a big voice. Even friends have called her “Little Miss Big Voice” and “One Woman Riot.”

She’s played in Iowa numerous times over her 30-year career, including the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival in Davenport. Last spring, she was introduced to the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame. Today and tomorrow, Mandeville will be performing in Jasper County.

Mandeville will be participating today in Blues in School for the Baxter Community School District, an event that takes place around area schools to introduce and educate students about the blues and jazz. This program is supported and sponsored by the Iowa Arts Council Big Yellow School Bus Grant, the Baxter Parent Teacher Organization and Baxter School PBIS funds and is organized by the South Skunk Blues Society.

She will start the morning out at Baxter Community School and throughout the day present to students in kindergarden through 12th grade.

“I’m going to talk to the kids, introduce them to the blues and show them how it relates to other kinds of music they listen to,” Mandeville said. “There will be different things to say to the different age groups.”

The elementary students will get to participate in making beats, the middle school students will help her write a song and the high school students will get a more comprehensive lesson including the history of the genre.

For example, what many students know as rap started before most America music genres. Rapping started out as a long, epic poem with many verses, usually boastful created to entertain while chained. This was known as a “toast.”

“Blues needs to be introduced to people of a new generation,” Mandeville said. 

“It’s not mainstream. It’s not very well known. Only people that seek it out find it and use it.”

On Wednesday night, Mandeville will be performing from 6 to 9 p.m. at Cadillac Jacks, located at 108 N. Main St. in Baxter. This concert is free.

Mandeville said this will be her first time playing in Baxter. “We’ll be tearing it up, setting the house on fire.”

“We are delighted to have Liz perform at the school and to be able to have an ‘unplugged’ concert at Cadillac Jacks on Wednesday. That way area blues fans, as well as parents of the students in Baxter, can come see and hear what the kids will be talking about after seeing Liz perform and educate about the history of the blues at school the day before,” South Skunk Blues Society Education Coordinator Craig Peterson said.

Staff writer Kate Malott may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 422, or at kmalott@newtondailynews.com.

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