Stephen Foster and the
Rise of Popular Music
From his first hit with “Oh Susannah” in 1848 through his death in 1864, Stephen Foster created a body of music that touched millions and lives on to this very day.
In his day Fosters songs were not only the hit of the Minstrel show circuit, they were performed by everyday folks, classical musicians and sung by slaves in the fields of Georgia. His music would play a large part in the creation of our nations’s first emerging popular culture and one would go on to be a hit 75 years after his passing. Looking back, these songs also shed light on the complex, torturous relationship between black and white cultures in our young, growing nation.
Award winning folksinger and multi-instrumentalist Chris Vallillo performs nine of Foster’s best loved songs while exploring the impact of this legendary American icon and his music on American culture.