This Month on Live Culture I am delighted to present a conversation with Music Maker Relief Foundation’s founder and photographer Tim Duffy about his Blue Muse Project which involves a museum exhibition, a book, a music album and participation in this year’s New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. This multi-sensory extravaganza is in celebration of MMRF’s remarkable 25 years of creating collective cultural goods by directly helping artists.
Duffy, a musician, and photographer has mastered the challenging art of tin-type portraiture, creating indelible images of MMRF’s American blues and roots musicians. Tin-types- a process that dates to the 1870s- create unique photographic images using a chemical process on metal plates.
For the first time, these prints will be shown together in a major exhibition at the New Orleans Museum of Art, and large exterior prints of the portraits will be strategically placed throughout the city during the festival. Tim Duffy: Blue Muse, will open at NOMA April 25th and run through July 28th, 2019.
The accompanying publication Blue Muse: Timothy Duffy’s Southern Photographs, produced by UNC Press, in association with the New Orleans Museum of Art, offers a beautiful book showcasing the prints and featuring thoughtful essays. It is available as of March 28, 2019.
Thirdly, also featuring the tintype images, is the music disc Blue Muse, which came out on February 1st, this year. A few selections from this compilation will be featured on this edition of Live Culture. The album features 21 tracks, most of which were recorded by Duffy himself. Blue Muse artfully places some of the most important musicians you’ve never heard alongside rockstars and longtime Music Maker supporters Taj Mahal, Eric Clapton, and Dom Flemons.
Music Maker Relief Foundation offers support to some of the many American musicians living in poverty, offering help with such vital needs as medication, subsistence and support getting their music seen and heard. This powerhouse of a project has led to graphic novels, books, videos, concerts, and images as well as offering life-changing individual support and care of our musical elder statesmen. Over the 25 years more than 435 artists, with 11,840 grants, have benefitted from MMRF actively helping keep traditional blues and folk songs alive.
“This is who we are as a nation,” Duffy says. “Everyone drinks from the root of this music. It’s our greatest export.”
This year the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival will be offering sets by Music Maker Relief Foundation Artists Ironing Board Sam, Little Freddie King, Leyla McCalla, Ernie Vincent, Kenny Neal, and Henry Gray as well as advisory board member and Blues Hall of Famer and Americana Lifetime Achievement Award winner Taj Mahal. The festival runs April 26-May 5th and more information is available here http://www.nojazzfest.com/
About the exhibit: Tim Duffy: Blue Muse, at the NOMA website herehttps://noma.org/exhibitions/timothy-duffy-blue-muse/
About the Blue Muse compilation CD here https://musicmaker.org/shop/
About the Book Blue Muse: Timothy Duffy’s Southern Photographs, here https://musicmaker.org/events-blog/blue-muse-book-release/
Information on MMRF here https://musicmaker.org/