Chuck Brown, the still-active "Godfather of Go-Go," was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship yesterday (June 14), the country's highest honor in the folk and traditional arts. The Fellowship, which
Chuck Brown, the still-active "Godfather of Go-Go," was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship yesterday (June 14), the country's highest honor in the folk and traditional arts. The Fellowship, which comes with a $20,000 prize, is presented annually by the National Endowment of the Arts.
Brown, 70, pioneered the funk-fusion R&B style called Go-Go, a percussion-driven, long-form approach that incorporates call-and-response chant vocals and horn riffs.
He is best known outside the Washington, D.C.-metropolitan area for his infectious, enduring single, "Bustin' Loose, Pt. 1," which spent four weeks at No. 1 on Billboard's R&B chart in late 1978.
The hook was sampled on Nelly's ubiquitous 2002 single "Hot in Herre," and is often featured during the seventh-inning stretch at Washington Nationals home ball games at RFK Stadium.
NEA National Heritage Fellowships are usually awarded to traditional craftspeople unknown outside their professions. The NEA said Brown was bestowed the award because he "remains among the few 20th-century American vernacular musicians who clearly developed and shaped a musical genre from its infancy to a more mature state." T
Three other traditional folk musicians snagged NEA fellowships: country and gospel singer Wanda Jackson, who shot to stardom as a pioneering female rockabilly star in the late '50s; Chicago gospel singer Albertina Walker, and Cajun fiddler and bandleader Michael Doucet. Janette Carter, who carries on the legacy of Appalachian music as exemplified by her kin, the Carter Family, was awarded a Bess Lomax Hawes Award for her advocacy.
The awards will be presented in September at an event on Capitol Hill. A concert at Lisner Auditorium in D.C. is scheduled for Sept. 23.