July 30, 2014  

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University Forum to Feature Author, Musician Ned Sublette Oct. 5

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Ned Sublette (Photo by Jennifer Kotter)

An expert on the cultural origins of New Orleans will present at The University of Southern Mississippi’s University Forum Tuesday, Oct. 5 at 6:30 p.m. in Bennett Auditorium.

Ned Sublette, award-winning author of The World That Made New Orleans: From Spanish Silver to Congo Square will present “The Making of Afro-Orleanian Culture.” The event is part of the university’s’ “French in the Americas: A closer look at the Gulf South” program, sponsored by a grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council. Admission is free.

Additional support for the program comes from the Honors College, International Education, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.

Sublette’s book is assigned reading in a class taught by associate professor of French Dr. Joanne Burnett, titled “Francophone Civilization: French in the Americas.”

Burnett said focusing on the Gulf South’s history and cultural riches could not come at a more definitive moment in its history, with the recent fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and as the region deals with environmental and economic challenges brought by the British Petroleum (BP) oil spill.

“This celebration of our region’s origins and influences allows us to look back and remember so that together we can, with confidence, construct a new way forward, and Ned Sublette’s book serves as an excellent guide toward that end,” she said. 

Sublette is also the author of The Year Before the Flood: Music, Murder, and a Homecoming in Louisiana and Cuba and Its Music: From the First Drums to the Mambo.

He is presently the Patrick Henry Writing Fellow at the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience at Washington College, and is working on a book titled The American Slave Coast, about the ocean-going domestic slave trade.

A native of Lubbock, Texas, Sublette studied guitar and music composition. After moving to New York City in 1976, he became part of what was known as the “downtown scene” of the late 1970s and early 1980s. He has played hundreds of concerts in New York, the U.S. and Canada, Latin America and Europe. His forthcoming album, recorded in New Orleans in July, is titled Kiss You Down South. His most recent album was Cowboy Rumba, released by Palm Pictures, andhis song Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly, composed in 1981, was released in a version by Willie Nelson in 2006.

In the 1990s he co-founded the record label Qbadisc, which pioneered the marketing of contemporary Cuban music in the United States. He produced many episodes of the public radio program Afropop Worldwide and co-founded the Hip Deep series, which brings the work of scholars to a radio audience. He writes about Latin jazz for Down Beat and has contributed articles to The New York Times, Smithsonian, Miami Herald, andOxford American, amongmany others. He was recently featured in the HBO documentary If God is willing and da creek don't rise, directed by Spike Lee.

University Forum is presented by the Southern Miss Honors College. For more information, call 601.266.4533.