Music Maker Relief Foundation

The Music Maker Relief Foundation is an organization that does good for musicians and the music.

The Music Maker Mission:
Music Maker Relief Foundation keeps our culture vital by directly supporting senior (over 55) American roots musicians in need. We provide for basic life essentials while expanding their professional careers so that our rich musical heritage can be shared with the world and preserved for future generations.

Since the organization’s founding in 1994, Music Maker has assisted hundreds of musicians who represent the traditions of Blues, Gospel, Old-Time String Band, Jazz and more.
The Music Maker Relief Foundation is an organization that does good for musicians and the music.

The Music Maker Mission:
Music Maker Relief Foundation keeps our culture vital by directly supporting senior (over 55) American roots musicians in need. We provide for basic life essentials while expanding their professional careers so that our rich musical heritage can be shared with the world and preserved for future generations.

Since the organization’s founding in 1994, Music Maker has assisted hundreds of musicians who represent the traditions of Blues, Gospel, Old-Time String Band, Jazz and more.

Music Maker’s programs ensure the talents of these cultural treasures are accessible through hundreds of US and international live performances, multi-media documentation and outreach initiatives.

Music Maker Relief Foundation, Inc. is a tax exempt, public charity under IRS code 501(c)3.

Programs
Musician Sustenance – grants to meet basic life needs and emergency relief.
Musical Development – grants and services for recipient artist professional development and career advancement.
Cultural Access – supports the preservation and proliferation of American musical traditions.

Now those are the words that tell you what they do but it is the heart the MMRF has that really tells the story. Many talented musicians that might not have had a chance to display their gifts do so with the help of MMRF.

The MMRF is headed by Tim Duffy who has some Connecticut roots. Through his work in college and after the MMRF emerged. Tim, wife Denise and a crew of dedicated people keep the MMRF doing good. They have a number of artists that will make you take notice. A group of artists used to regularly perform at the Portsmouth Blues Festival in New Hampshire.

I first met Tim when MMRF had a national tour headlined by Taj Mahal, a big supporter. One of its dates was in Stamford. Mudcat, John Ferguson, Beverly Watkins joined Taj for an exception evening. My favorites were harmonica player Neal Pattman and guitarist Cootie Stark.

Tim introduced me to Cootie and he fast became a favorite. Cootie got ill and Tim sent out his number figuring phone calls might pick up Cootie’s spirits. When I called the woman who answered the phone call out, “Hey Cootie, it is your friend Dom from Connecticut is on the line.” Cootie passed on, but I remember that phone call to this day. I still wear my pin that says, “Cootie for President.” If you saw Cootie you know he would have been the best-dressed President this country ever had.

And that is what I mean about an organization with Heart with a capital H. Yes they do a lot with the musicians. Some have now toured worldwide, recorded and been put on DVDs. Yet it all comes back to the heart. They work for the human spirit. They expose the public to players and styles you might not otherwise see and give the players a chance to shine on a bigger stage.

Music Maker Relief Foundation also encourages and mentors younger artists performing Southern traditional music. While these artists do not receive financial support, they are assisted in other ways to foster the continuation of Southern music through this “Next Generation.”

An example of the next generation work is John Lakota Locklear. He is 14 year old Native American, was 7 years old when he started playing harmonica and 9 years old when he picked up his first guitar. He was intrigued by the sound of the slide guitar and wanted to learn to play. About a year and a half later, he bought himself a glass slide, placed it on his pinky finger and has been sliding ever since.

Their good works continue and you can be part of it. For more information go to: http://www.musicmaker.org/.

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About bluesbeatnews52

Blues columnist writing a weekly column dedicated to the Blues. The only column of its kind in a commercial (paid subscription) newspaper. Column appears in the Middletown Press, Bristol Press, Torrington Register-Citizen, and the New Britain Herald. Forcella has served on the Board of Directors of the Blues Foundation representing the Journalism constituency. Served on the Board of Directors Connecticut Blues Society as Past President and Past Editor of newsletter. Recipient: Keeping the Blues Alive award in Journalism from the Blues Foundation. Has contributed both writing and photos to nationnal blues publications.

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