Seattle’s Experience Music Project (EMP) will feature live performances by rock legends Jerry Lee Lewis and Ike Turner next month as part of its month-long celebration of Sun Records. “Dawn of Rock: The Sun Records Legacy” will run from May 2-24 in tribute to the record label, which released early recordings by the likes of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Roy Orbison and has been hailed as the original home of rock’n’roll.
The series will feature a variety of events, including a Q&A session with Sun Records founder Sam Phillips. Founded in 1952, the Memphis-based label built up a formidable roster of artists that blended elements of rockabilly and rhythm and blues into a gritty sound that became known as rock’n’roll.
Beginning June 8, the EMP will launch “Island Revolution: Jamaican Rhythm from Ska to Reggae, 1956-1981.” The exhibit will trace the development of Jamaican music and its influence across the globe. Spotlighting such artists as Jimmy Cliff, the Skatalites, King Tubby, Augustus Pablo, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Peter Tosh, and Bob Marley & the Wailers, “Island Revolution” will map the cultural and political impact of the genre, both within Jamaica and internationally.
Divided into five main sections, the exhibit will begin with the Jamaican sound-system era of the late 1950s, and continue with the rise of rocksteady, ska, and reggae, and offshoots such as dub and DJ music. Artifacts, photographs, recordings, and reggae-related films obtained during three years of research and acquisition by curators at EMP will also be on display.
The EMP is a year-old music museum founded in downtown Seattle by former Microsoft executive Paul G. Allen. The museum celebrates rock’n’roll through memorabilia, multimedia exhibits, and special projects such as the “Dawn of Rock” series.