African American griotte

Poet, Jeri Brown is an African American griotte (vocal artist, educator, vocalist, researcher, writer of praise and love songs of creative fiction and nonfiction, producer, composer activist of minority matters expressed in rights & ritual songs), wife, sister, aunt, parent, grandparent and a recluse. Brown is also internationally recognized vocal recording artist, arts journalist, and fine arts professor emeritus from Concordia University, [Department of Music, Theatre & Contemporary Dance]. She’s published two collections of poetry, Skin Folk, and Unnecessary Family. A daughter of a chef and businessmanand abstract artist, granddaughter of a railway porter, she is also a cook with a sixth sense, recipient of Martin Luther King Jr. Award in 2005, and an end of life doula. Jeri Brown grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and now lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Her ongoing research on her concept of “improvisation within the vocal ecosystem” explores the role of the improvising vocal artist in the larger musical setting including the role of performance of vocalists with severe handicaps. She has several published papers and books.

 

"I was part of the civil rights era and marched. I was bused to [a black] school and witnessed a lot of racist events in St. Louis. When I finally went to a mixed school we had separate lunches, gym times, and white kids said nasty things. I can't believe I'm old enough to remember this stuff. So today I feel like an advocate for peace. And because the stage is a platform, I don't ever think I'm just a diva adorned in a beautiful dress. I believe performers have the ability to affect humanity and spirituality."

Convinced that it is far better to give than to receive, Jeri annually performs for charitable organizations and produces film and theatre projects that tap into cultural mosaics, discovering and showcasing emerging talent, and presenting cultural, historical tributes.

Several of Jeri's humanitarian efforts appear on jazz video and audio productions which continue to rotate in international airplay for BET, BRAVO, World Vision, Radio France and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Jeri Brown was the recipient of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award (previous winners include Oscar Peterson) in 2004. The award was presented at the 19th annual Black Theatre Workshop's event held in Montreal, Canada.

Of note is Jeri's October 2001 "Peace Concert Tour" of France and Turkey one month after the September 11 tragedy, was recorded for Radio France.
Ms. Brown regularly gives benefit concerts for social service charities including Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Centraide, Canadian Diabetes Association, World Vision and CRUDEM.

In 1994, Jeri Brown founded her own non-profit society, Jongleur Artist Group, committed to providing local talent with education and performance opportunities. She has since inaugurated the Jongleur Vocal Arts Performance School with locations in Montreal and Halifax. These efforts continue to produce and provide support through scholarship, mentorship and training. Of note are several participants who have entered university or won praise in performance competitions such as Canadian Idol.

Awards

GRAMMY – Submitted Artist
JUNO – 6 Time Nominee
ECMA – Award Winner
CHOC Jazzman de l’annee – Award Winner
Martin Luther King Jr. – Achievement Award Winner

Musicians

Notable performances

Jeri has performed for:
Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney
Finland President Mauno Koivisto
US Presidential Advisor Vernon Jordan
US Consul General Bernadette Allen

Jeri has performed or recorded with noted musicians including:

Dizzy Gillespie
Betty Carter
Oscar Brown Jr.
Leon Thomas
Fred Hersch
Cyrus Chestnut
Erik Truffaz
Pierre Michelot
Jimmy Rowles
Kenny Werner
Clayton Cameron
Rufus Reid
Trevor Ware
John Betch
Kevin Eubanks
Dr. Billy Taylor
David Murray
Grady Tate
Avery Sharpe
Oliver Jones
Joe Lovano
Ranee Lee
Billy Hart

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