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Corey Harris on Mountain Stage

Brian Blauser/Mountain Stage

Corey Harris is one of blues' most faithful contemporary griots. Tracing the music back to its African roots, he has trekked all over the world to share these stories in song and in 2007 was awarded the MacArthur Fellowship Genius grant for unearthing and sharing that rich, connected history.

Harris got his start as a street musician in New Orleans; he's lived in Cameroon, West Africa, for a year and has toured extensively in North America, Europe, Brazil, the Caribbean, East and West Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

Performing a selection of songs from his latest album, Insurrection Blues, Harris made his fourth trip to the Mountain Stage in Nov. 2021 for a show at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, hosted by Mountain Stage founder Larry Groce.

Slipping into the spirit, Harris opens the set with a twangy, guitar-accompanied rendition of gospel blues "By and By" and after, pays tribute to the late, great African artist Ali Farka Touré, with "Special Rider Blues," a song they recorded together in 2003. Harris recalled: "We were in Northern Mali, in the desert. It's a Skip James' tune. I played it for Ali and he said, 'Yes, it is from Mali.' I said, 'Well, kind-of sort-of.' "

Harris closed by sharing the Africana-blues flavored title cut of his 20th album, The Insurrection Blues.

Copyright 2022 West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Dave Lavender