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Whitwell Community Centre

Postcode: S80 4NN

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Ma Bessies Prohibition Party

Show Details

Presented by Ma Bessie & The Pigfoot Band

Performance date and time
Saturday, 8th February 2020
7:30 PM

The 'Empress of Blues', Bessie Smith is given the royal treatment in this foray into 1920s and '30s prohibition-era blues and jazz. Widely agreed to be the greatest female blues singer ever, Smith lived fast, drank hard and died (relatively) young, in a car crash in 1937, aged 43. Here, blueswoman Julia Titus teams a phenomenal vocal power with her live band's tremendous dynamism to chronicle Smith's life and musical canon, charting her rise from a one-room shack in Blue Goose Hollow, Tennessee, to becoming the highest-paid black entertainer of that time. ________________________________________________________________

Take a trip back to Prohibition-era America with Ma Bessie & The Pigfoot Band. This show is an incredible time capsule and brings the very best of 20s/30s blues and jazz to the present day, focusing on the life and musical canon of the late, great Empress of Blues herself, Bessie Smith. Led by Julia Titus and her impressive vocal range, the troupe offer a potted history of sorts, chronicling the life of Bessie Smith. From a one-room shack in Blue Goose Hollow, to becoming the highest-paid black entertainer of that time, her story is told through song and music. It even follows Smith to her tragic demise in 1937 at the too-soon age of 43, giving the show a dramatic narrative arch. Titus’ warm vocals are matched by a mix of guitar and keys, as well as additional clarinet, trumpet, saxophone and drums depending on the size of show. Their songbook tracks the work of Smith with a range of classics like ‘Careless Love’, ‘Nobody Knows When You’re Down and Out’ and 'St Louis Blues’, as well as incorporating the work of contemporaries like Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday to name but a few. They are equally happy to include additional requests – an unusual treat from a group of this quality. As the performance is set around the prohibition era and beyond, every player in the group sounds and looks the part and audience members are more than welcome to join in by dressing up. Now, say it like you mean it: ‘Gimme a pig foot (and a bottle of beer)!’

★★★★★ 'It's safe to say that an evening with Ma Bessie & The Pig Foot Band proves that jazz is good for the soul.' Get Reading

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Performer's website

Running time
90 min + interval

Audience Type
Adults/Older Children

Age Range

Ticket Prices
£10.00 Standard / £8.00 Under 16 / £7.00 In Adv Under 16 / £9.00 Standard in advance

Other Ticket Information
In association with Whitwell Forward. Doors 7pm.

Main Box Office Telephone Number
01909 723 490

Available From
Call Whitwell Community Centre 01909 723 490

Additional Information
In association with Whitwell Forward.

Venue Accessibility (See Key for more information)

Live & Local affirms that when a disabled person’s access requirements necessitate them being accompanied to a performance, that person and their personal assistant should be able to purchase two tickets at a total cost of no more than the cost of a one full-priced ticket. Promoters are advised that this is best practice that is now supported by an established legal precedent.

Reservable/general parking on site Designated parking Level entrance Alternative wheelchair access to side/rear of venue Ramped approach up to entrance Wheelchair accessible toilet Induction Loop

This performance is supported by:

Derbyshire Logo

Bolsover District Council Logo

Arts Council, England