Dominican University in River Forest, IL, west of the West Side, is once again partnering with Living Blues Magazine to host the the fourth Blues and the Spirit symposium on May 30-31, 2014. The conference will continue the dialog about the African American Blues legacy from the last symposium in 2012. Professor Dr. Janice Monti, department chair of Sociology and Criminology at Dominican, announced that this year’s theme of “Blues Impurities” will examine the music’s cultural heritage as well as its contemporary expressions.

Plenaries and panels feature diverse scholars, musicologists, writers, musicians, and industry leaders. Two evenings of live entertainment offer some of the best musicians in Chicago. The conference is open to anyone interested.

Tricia Rose, Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America and Professor of Africana Studies, Brown University will give the keynote address.

Other highlights include an exhibit of photos by the late Susan Greenberg, who was married to blues guitarist Lurrie Bell; a reception with live performance  by Walter Scott and the World Band; and a Saturday evening after-party at Rosa’s Lounge, “Blues Across the Generations,” featuring the youthful band Jamiah on Fire and the Red Machine, plus singers Cicero Blake, Theo Huff, Claudette Miller, HoneyDew, Sharon Lewis, and others. 

The $75 registration fee includes ALL events on campus May 30 and 31 (panels, presentations, and receptions, Friday evening performance by the World Band, and round-trip bus transportation and club cover charge to the Saturday night show at Rosa’s.

A free Artist Empowerment Workshop for Musicians is offered free of charge on Saturday afternoon, co-sponsored by the Koko Taylor Celebrity Aid Foundation. It requires a separate advance reservation; contact the Symposium at (708) 524-6050 or .

A Chicago Blues Legacy Bus Tour, conducted by Barry Dolins, retired Director of the Chicago Blues Festival and adjunct lecturer at Dominican University, can be reserved for an additional $35 when you register online for the symposium.

Bonni McKeown

"Barrelhouse Bonni" McKeown, the author of "West Side Blues Blog," has played piano and written about blues music for over 15 years.  She has led classes for young and old on...