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Cultural Historian Shawn Amos to Perform, Educate for King Convocation

(Posted January 12, 2004)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Shawn Amos, a singer-songwriter and African-American cultural historian, will present a performance as part of Juniata College?s Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Jan. 16 in Rosenberger Auditorium in Oller Hall on the Juniata campus.

The event is free and open to the public.

Amos is an eclectic performer who balances a career as a recording artist with duties as a freelance record producer and who also has pursued careers as a screenwriter and business executive.

Amos, who is the son of former cookie mogul Wally ?Famous? Amos, has recorded three acclaimed record albums, ?3 Out of 14,? ?In Between (2002)? and ?Harlem (2000).? He also has contributed soundtrack songs for such films as ?The Prophecy.?

He also has an active career as a record producer with Rhino Records, an acclaimed label noted for its tasteful compilations of all genres of popular music. Amos produced a Grammy-nominated boxed set called ?Rhapsodies in Black: Music and Words from the Harlem Renaissance.? He continued his exploration of African-American historical music by producing two other compilations, ?Say It Loud: A Celebration of Black Music in America? and ?Q: The Musical Autobiography of Quincy Jones.?

Amos? work on his album ?Harlem? led him to explore the historical legacy of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. The boxed set includes music speeches and poetry of the era recited by such performers as Angela Bassett, Alfre Woodard, Chuck D, Debbie Allen, Ice-T and Branford Marsalis.

?(Amos? ?Harlem?) is a brilliant examination of cultural identity and the need to balance one?s own individuality with one?s cultural heritage,? wrote critic Michael Toland for the online review Web site High Bias.com

In addition, he also produced compilations for the Rhino label for such eclectic artist as violinist/vocalist Laurie Anderson, Patti Austin, South African vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo and the group Testament. Amos also produced Rhino compilations featuring the seminal rap groups Sugar Hill Gang and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, and produced a four-part compilation ?MTV The First 1,000 Years? which featured hits from four genres: hip-hop, rhythm and blues, rock and new wave

Amos also composed and performed ?It?s All Gonna Be Alright,? the theme song from a children?s show hosted by Wally Amos.

Amos also has staged several performance art pieces, including ?Colorblind: Songs and Stills in Black and White,? a work that confronted racial stereotypes.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.