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Delta Symposium XVIII kicks off with screening of new blues film We Juke Up in Here: Mississippi's Juke Joint Culture at the Crossroads' April 18

04/09/2012

Arkansas State University’s Delta Symposium XVIII: Roots and Generations, set for Wednesday-Saturday, April 18-21, will open with a screening of the hotly anticipated new blues film, “We Juke Up in Here: Mississippi’s Juke Joint Culture at the Crossroads,” on Wednesday, April 18, at 12 noon in the Mockingbird Room in ASU’s Carl R. Reng Student Union, 101 N. Caraway Road, Jonesboro. Produced by Roger Stolle, Jeff Konkel, and Damien Blaylock, this documentary is a portrait of Delta blues clubs in western Mississippi.

“We Juke Up In Here” follows music producers Roger Stolle and Jeff Konkel as they explore what remains of Mississippi’s once-thriving network of juke joints – the down-home, quasi-legal blues clubs that have served as the testing ground for blues talent in Mississippi for more than a century. “We Juke Up In Here” pulls back the curtain on the state’s contemporary juke joint culture through exciting musical performances, compelling interviews, and rare on-camera experiences. The film is a joint production of Broke and Hungry Records and Cat Head Delta Blues and Folk Art. The project was produced in partnership with the Associazione Roots ‘n’ Blues of Parma, Italy.

“Through the years, Roger and I have spent countless nights hanging out in down-home juke joints throughout the Delta, drinking cheap beer and enjoying some of the hottest blues imaginable,” said Konkel, owner of Broke and Hungry Records. “Over time, we’ve seen some subtle and some not-so-subtle changes in Mississippi’s juke joint culture. With this project, we’ve tried to address some of those changes by going straight to the source: the juke joint owners and the musicians they hire. The end result is an insider’s look at the past, present, and future of Mississippi’s juke joint tradition.”

“We Juke Up In Here” reunites Konkel and Stolle with Damien Blaylock, their co-director for the award-winning 2008 film “M For Mississippi.” Also returning from the earlier film is sound engineer Bill Abel. Rounding out the production team for “We Juke Up In Here” is co-producer Lou Bopp, who provided still photography and shared cinematography duties with Blaylock.

The film will have its world premiere on Friday, April 13, at the Delta Cinema at 11 Third Street in Clarksdale, Miss., and will kick off Juke Joint Festival weekend in Clarksdale.

“We Juke Up In Here” will also be released as a deluxe two-disc collection in April with a DVD featuring the documentary, along with bonus features, and a CD soundtrack with music from the film plus additional recordings by the featured artists. A full-color pullout booklet includes essays by the filmmakers along with photos of the featured musicians, juke joints, and proprietors. Photos are by Lou Bopp, and the cover design is by Joey Grisham.

“We made the decision early in our planning for ‘We Juke Up In Here’ to make the collection as comprehensive as possible,” said Stolle, owner of Cat Head Delta Blues and Folk Art. “We want our customers to really get a feel for Mississippi’s contemporary juke joint culture, so we’ve included all kinds of extras on the DVD, including optional English closed-captioning, optional French and Italian subtitles, extended and deleted scenes, artist and filmmaker biographies, a photo gallery and more. We also compiled a scorching CD soundtrack featuring 14 performances featured in the film. It’s the next best thing to a trip to the Delta.”

In addition to generous support from the Associazione Roots ‘n’ Blues of Parma, Italy and Delta Music Experience, “We Juke Up In Here” was made possible by these additional sponsors: AJStephans Company/Jeff Rose, Blues For A Cause, Blues Matters Magazine, Cathead Vodka, Il Blues Magazine, Jerry and Marge Konkel, Lemuria Books, Grant Mills, Nayati Dreams, the New Roxy, Scot Randle, Roadhouse Lou, and Smokestack Blues. For more information about the film or the two-disc collection, contact Jeff Konkel or Roger Stolle.

Delta Blues Symposium XVIII: Roots and Generations is sponsored by the Department of English and Philosophy at ASU. For further information, contact Dr. Gregory Hansen, co-chair of the symposium committee, at the Department of English and Philosophy,(870) 972-3043, visit the Delta Symposium homepage, see the Delta Symposium releases from ASU News, or check out the Delta Symposium on Facebook