(AANEWSWIRE) Canandaigua, NY…Everywhere you look these days someone is honoring two-time Grammy winner and blues icon Taj Mahal. Taj has been playing his own distinctive brand of music — variously described as Afro-Caribbean blues, folk-world-blues, hula blues, folk-funk, and a host of other hyphenations — for more than 40 years. He is considered one of the recording industry’s most celebrated contemporary blues artists.
Earlier this year two very special honors were bestowed on Taj and another is on the way.
In February, Massachusetts’ Governor, Mitt Romney signed legislation designating Taj, a Springfield, MA native, the Official Blues Musician of the Commonwealth.
At the end of March, Taj and his late sister, Carole Fredericks, received the 2006 James W. Dodge Memorial Foreign Language Advocacy Award from the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (NECTFL) for the spotlight they shine on the vast potential of music to foster intercultural communication and to maintain cultural
Next, the University of Massachusetts Amherst will award an honorary degree to the alumnus and legendary bluesman during the Undergraduate Commencement on Sunday, May 28th. Chancellor John V. Lombardi and President Jack M. Wilson will offer brief remarks.
Taj Mahal’s response to the accolades… “Well, it is always exciting when people outside the music industry and other related industries recognize an individual’s work.
I’m just happy that what I do can reach many different people. And the music is exciting to other people to the point they feel they would like to recognize the type of work being done.
I didn’t set out to create anything like this. It is always a surprise and a thrill to be recognized by
one’s peers…but when it comes to any other recognition from outside of the business, it means that the music is doing what it is suppose to do.
I am very fortunate in that my music, the music that comes through me, is
trans-generational and cross-cultural. I like that the music is having a very positive effect on things in an
Taj Mahal to receive honorary degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Undergraduate
Commencement, Sunday, May 28, 10 a.m. – noon, Warren P. McGuirk Alumni Stadium.