Bobby McFerrin Brings 'spirityouall' to DePauw's Green Center Tuesday

Sunday, April 13, 2014
Bobby McFerrin

You probably remember him as the guy who wrote "Don't Worry, Be Happy." And, he is that guy.

He is also the winner of 10 Grammy Awards and the first a cappella artist to have a song reach No. 1 on the Billboard "Hot 100" chart.

On Tuesday, April 15, that guy -- Bobby McFerrin and his band -- will arrive in Greencastle for a 7:30 p.m. show at the Green Center for the Performing Arts.

The program at DePauw, the third stop on McFerrin's tour in support of his latest recording "spirityouall," is an evening of spirituals inspired by the singer's father, the great baritone Robert McFerrin, who provided the singing voice for Sydney Poitier for the film version of "Porgy & Bess" and was the first African-American man to sign a contract with the Metropolitan Opera Company.

He was also a renowned interpreter of the American Negro Spiritual.

"I always thought that some day I'd sing these songs," Bobby said, "and it was finally time."

"Spirityouall," is a bluesy, feel-good recording, an unexpected move from the music-industry rebel who singlehandedly redefined the role of the human voice with his a cappella hit "Don't Worry, Be Happy," his collaborations with Yo-Yo Ma, Chick Corea and the Vienna Philharmonic, his improvising choir Voicestra and his legendary solo vocal performances.

The new album features familiar tunes like "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands" and "Every Time I Feel The Spirit," alongside original songs that explore Bobby's daily search for grace and wisdom.

New material ranges from a celebratory hoedown ("Rest") to a polemic anthem ("Woe"), to a blues setting of Psalm 25:15. The project embraces the singer's folk, rock and blues influences without abandoning the fearless improvisational approach for which he is known or his never-ending exploration of the human voice.

McFerrin's recent appearance alongside The Roots on the "Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" included an unexpected bonus. Toward the end of the performance, the singer made his way across the stage to the host's desk, handed him a microphone and began scatting in the slightly surprised Fallon's face. Jimmy joined in, and their joint enthusiasm for music was contagious even to television viewers. Viewers wanted to scat along with them.

As McFerrin often invites audience to join him onstage, local residents may have that chance on Tuesday.

General admission tickets for Green Guest Artist Concerts are $10-15 and are available online and at the Green Center box office. Tickets for seniors, children and all students are free, thanks to season sponsors Judson and Joyce Green.

For assistance with obtaining tickets, visit, or stop by or call the GCPA box office, 658-4827.

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