Fruteland Jackson brings blues to Beloit

Fruteland Jackson brings blues to Beloit


BELOIT, WIS—“The blues is the recognition of a tragedy and an optimism to deal with it,” says “blues activist” Fruteland Jackson, who will grace the stage at 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 26 in the Eaton Chapel at Beloit College.

Born and raised in Sunflower County, Miss., Jackson grew up in a musical, church-going, blues-singing family. He taught himself to play guitar, strumming folk songs and listening to Motown sounds, and later attended Columbia College (Chicago) for performing arts studies, and Roosevelt University (Chicago), where he studied voice. Now—as an artist—Jackson performs at blues festivals, cultural centers and clubs worldwide, singing everything from field-hollers and work songs to Delta and Piedmont styles, and strumming everything from traditional blues ballads to original works.

As an educator, Jackson takes his craft to the classroom, conducting his award-winning “All About the Blues Series” in order to create greater awareness and deeper appreciation for blues music at educational institutions and community centers across the nation. His programs for younger kids provide teaching tools and creative venues for understanding the blues as an art form. For troubled kids, his “Bluz in the Hood/Trading Handguns for Harmonicas” program provides an important musical outlet. Jackson’s efforts won him the 1996 Illinois Arts Council Folk Ethnic Heritage Award, and the 1997 “Keeping the Blues Alive” award for the H.C. Handy Blues in Education program.

Jackson’s on-campus lecture and performance is sponsored by the International Performing Arts Series at Beloit College and is open to the public. Call (608) 363-2242 for tickets and information. Tickets for the Friday, Oct. 26 performance are $10 ($6 senior citizens, $4 students).

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