Como Library

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 3, 2012

Shakevia Loveberry and Shaquille Conrad construct a diddley bow during a workshop Wednesday at the Como Public Library. The library will host a Hill Country Blues Celebration today from 4-6 p.m. Performances are slated by several local artists, and children will demonstrate the diddley bow, a string instrument of African origin made popular in the American rural south. Photo provided

Como celebrates treasured Blues items going to library

By John Howell and Rita Howell

Como will host a “Hill Country Blues Celebration” today to mark the “Repatriation of Como, Mississippi Recordings, Photographs and Videos from the Alan Lomax Collection” and the loan of the Hill Country Blues Photography Collection from the Jessie Mae Hemphill (JMH) Foundation to the Emily Jones Pointer Library.

The event from 4 to 6 p.m. at the library on Como’s Main Street will include performances by Sharde Thomas and the Rising Star Fife and Drum Band, The Como Mamas and Glen Faulkner, said Como librarian Alice Pierotti who is helping plan and coordinate activities.

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Being celebrated is the placement in the Como library of folklorist and musicologist Lomax’s recordings, photographs and film that captured hill country blues, a unique regional offshoot of the Delta Blues.

Lomax visited the Como area in the 1950s and again in the 1970s. His work is archived in the Library of Congress and the Archive of American Folk Song.

 In addition, photographs from the Hill Country Blues collection  of the Jessie Mae Hemphill Foundation will be placed in the Como library. The JMH Foundation is a nonprofit organization created to focus public attention and help preserve the hill country blues music indigenous to North Mississippi, its web site states.

Representing the Lomax Foundation today will be John Lomax III, nephew of Alan Lomax, a Nashville-based journalist and music reporter. Representing the Jessie Mae Hemphill Foundation will be its founder and president, Olga Wilhelmine, blues performer, music historian and member of the Blues Foundation’s board of directors.

The celebration will begin at 4 p.m. with a procession up Main Street led by Sharde Thomas and the Rising Star Fife and Drum Band with R.L. Boyce. Guests will be welcomed by librarian Alice Pierotti. The invocation will be given by Reverend John G. Wilkins of Hunter’s Chapel Church.

Malcolm White, director of the Mississippi Arts Commission, will speak.  

Leading the dedication of Hill Country Blues Photography Collection will be Olga Wilhelmine, founder and president of the Jessie Mae Hemphill Foundation.

Materials from the Alan Lomax Collection will be presented by John Lomax III, musicologist and journalist.

Shaquille Conrad, Mathew Holloway and Briana Patton, Como library teen volunteers, will introduce The Como Mamas-Ester Wilbourn, Della Wright, Angela Taylor- and Glen Faulkner, diddley bow master.  Youngsters at the library this week have constructed their own versions of the African musical instrument and will be playing them as well.

Hosts will include the Town of Como, the Como Civic Club and the Como Homemaker’s Guild.
Call 526-5283 for information.