From Albina Music Trust website
The late 20th century was a vibrant time for music in Albina. From the roots of gospel, blues, and jazz sprang new forms of soul, funk, disco, and electrified R&B.
Teenagers and elders alike fused genres to create new sounds in church. Musicians spent afternoons and after hours hopping from jam session to jam session. And residents dressed to the nines, hitting the clubs every night of the week.
Over time, however, this rich musical culture was immobilized by redlining, community disinvestment, and gentrification. Black musicians experienced racism in the city’s club circuit, restricting access to capital and recognition outside of Albina. Though music in the neighborhood was alive and well, record labels largely ignored Albina musicians and few albums were produced in their time.
Narrated by lifelong Portland musicians Calvin Walker and Norman Sylvester, this one-mile self-guided audio tour explores Albina’s musical culture of the 1960s-1980s. Along the way, songs from the Albina Music Trust archive complement oral histories from Ken Berry, Bill Deiz, J.W. Friday, Joe “Bean” Keller, Marilyn Keller, Paul Knauls Sr., Marlon McClain, and Gregg A. Smith. Visiting former venues and community hubs, we invite attendees to view these historic landmarks and consider how we might preserve Albina’s music for future generations.
THE ALBINA MUSIC TRUST is an initiative of World Arts Foundation Inc., preserving African-American contributions in American culture, since 1978.
MEGAN HATTIE STAHL is a Portland and New York City-based documentary artist and musician. Her work explores how music, sound, and place can work together to awaken our histories and create human connection.