Press Room

For Press Inquiries, contact Camille Cintrón Devlin, Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications at 703-993-8794 or


September 24, 2013
Contact: Press & Media Relations Coordinator (703-993-8794)

For general information about tickets, seating, parking, etc., for performances and events happening at the Center for the Arts, please contact the ticket office directly at 703-993-2787.

FAIRFAX, Va., Sept. 24, 2013 – The legendary Taj Mahal invites audiences to travel the musical globe as he and some of his family and friends take the stage to perform an evening of soulful, blues-based, world music. “World Blues” comes to George Mason University’s Center for the Arts in Fairfax on Friday, Nov. 15, 2013 at 8 p.m. A pre-performance discussion, free to ticketholders, begins 45 minutes prior to the performance on the Center’s Grand Tier III, and is sponsored by the Friends of the Center for the Arts. HSBC Bank is the 2013-2014 Global View Series Underwriter at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts.

For this amazing concert, Grammy Award-winning vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and composer Taj Mahal is joined by his trio as well as African folksinger, poet and activist Vusi Mahlasela, who is known in his native South Africa as “The Voice” for the support he gave to the anti-apartheid movement. Rounding out the bill is Fredericks Brown, which features Mahal’s daughter, Deva Mahal, playing a fusion of soul, blues and the organic sounds of New Zealand.

            “[Taj Mahal] … has about the deepest and widest roots of any popular music performer today,” says The New York Times about this iconic artist, who began his career performing the blues, soon branching out to give his sound a rich, global perspective. Born in Harlem as Henry St. Claire Fredericks in 1942, Taj Mahal was raised in Springfield, Mass., by his mother, a schoolteacher and gospel singer from South Carolina, and his father, a jazz pianist, composer and arranger of Caribbean descent. His parents encouraged him to take pride in his diverse ethnic and cultural roots and pursue his musical passions. His musical exploration continued when as a teen, he was introduced to Delta and Chicago blues by a southern guitarist who moved next door. Upon graduation from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, the young artist – now performing under the musical alias Taj Mahal – moved to Los Angeles and formed the Rising Sons, which included guitarist Ry Cooder as a member. The band opened for Otis Redding, The Temptations and Martha and the Vandellas, among others, while giving Mahal the opportunity to meet the blues legends he idolized: Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Junior Wells, Buddy Guy, Lightnin’ Hopkins and Sleepy John Estes. Throughout the last five decades, Mahal has worked to develop a diverse sound that represents every corner of the globe – Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, the Hawaiian Islands, India and beyond – while releasing string of hit albums, including his Grammy Award-winning recordings, 1997’s “Señor Blues” and 2000’s “Shoutin’ in Key.” He also continues to tour internationally, performing more than 150 concerts across the globe each year. 

            “A spectacular tenor, a voice so hauntingly expressive and so rhythmically agile,” raves The Washington Post about Vusi Mahlasela, the South African artist who is revered for his passionate and uplifting lyrics and distinctive vocals. Raised in the Mamelodi Township, where he resides to this day, Mahlasela became a singer-songwriter at a young age, and after his debut album, “When You Come Back,” he was invited to perform at Nelson Mandela’s 1994 inauguration and later became an official ambassador to Mandela’s HIV/AIDS initiative, 46664. Featured in the documentary “Amandla! A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony,” Mahlasela caught the attention of fellow South African Dave Matthews, who signed the artist to his ATO Records label and released several albums, including “Say Africa,” produced by Taj Mahal. Mahlasela has collaborated with the likes of Ray LaMontagne, Paul Simon, Amos Lee, Béla Fleck, Angelique Kidjo, Hugh Masekela and the Dave Matthews Band. In the midst of recording and touring, Mahlasela remains committed to social activism, supporting OXFAM, The Acumen Fund, African Leadership Academy and the ONE Campaign, as well as his own non-profit, the Vusi Mahlasela Music Development Foundation, dedicated to the promotion and preservation of African music.

Vocalist Deva Mahal, the daughter of Taj Mahal, met keyboardist Steph Brown on the festival circuit in their home of New Zealand; the collaboration Fredericks Brown was born when the two artists later became reacquainted when both moved independently to Brooklyn. The duo quickly discovered their common passion for storytelling and creating songs that combine imagery and narrative, and their music soon became a fusion of their backgrounds – Mahal’s soul and blues roots and Brown’s rich Pacific sounds from her native New Zealand. Between them, Mahal and Brown have worked with hip-hop artists Kanye West and Common, and appeared on the bill with De La Soul, Etta James and Alice Russell.


Program will be announced from the stage.


HSBC Bank is the 2013-2014 Global View Series Underwriter

at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts


Tickets for “WORLD BLUES” are $46, $38 and $23. Family Friendly: performance suitable for families with young children. Youth Discount: tickets are half price for youth through grade 12. Visit the box office (open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) or charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit The Center for the Arts complex is located on George Mason University’s Fairfax Campus at the intersection of Braddock Road and Route 123. Paid parking is located in the Mason Pond Parking Deck adjacent the Concert Hall and FREE parking is located in university Lot K. For more information, please visit Like us on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter at @GMU_CFA.


About Great Performances at Mason

Great Performances at Mason is a program of George Mason University's Center for the Arts, the professional presentation and production arm of the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA). CVPA provides an academic environment in which the arts are explored as individual disciplines and interdisciplinary forms that strengthen one another. The college prepares students for careers as creators, performers, teachers, scholars, arts leaders and arts entrepreneurs. Understanding that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the Center for the Arts, the professional presentation and production arm of the college, welcomes a variety of professional and world-renowned artists, musicians and actors to its stage. Students have the opportunity to perform, create and exhibit their work in a wide variety of public venues including a 2,000-seat Concert Hall. CVPA is home to the Schools of Music, Dance, Art and Theater, as well as the Computer Game Design, Arts Management and Film and Video Studies programs.


About George Mason University

George Mason University is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with global distinction in a range of academic fields. Located in Northern Virginia near Washington, D.C., Mason provides students access to diverse cultural experiences and the most sought-after internships and employers in the country. Mason offers strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering and information technology, organizational psychology, health care and visual and performing arts. With Mason professors conducting groundbreaking research in areas such as climate change, public policy and the biosciences, George Mason University is a leading example of the modern, public university. George Mason University – Where Innovation Is Tradition.

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