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Smokey Robinson to headline Motown tribute concert at White House

UPI News Service, 02/24/2011 

Smokey Robinson headlines a White House Motown tribute Thursday that also features singers from the TV musical comedy-drama "Glee."

Also performing for U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will be Natasha Bedingfield, Sheryl Crow, Jamie Foxx, Gloriana, Nick Jonas, Ledisi, John Legend, Seal, Jordin Sparks and Amber Riley and Mark Salling from "Glee," the White House said.

Keyboardist Greg Phillinganes will be the night's music director.

The concert, a U.S. Black History Month event, will be taped in the White House East Room and be broadcast on Public Broadcasting Service stations Tuesday.

Robinson, Legend and Seal also performed at last year's White House "In Performance" concert, which celebrated music from the U.S. civil rights movement.

Previous concerts spotlighted jazz, country, classical, Latin and Broadway genres.

Michelle Obama started the series in 2009.

Robinson, sometimes called the "King of Motown," delivered 37 Top 40 hits for the Motown record label between 1960 and 1987 and served as the company's vice president from 1961 to 1988.

Motown played an important role in the racial integration of U.S. popular music. Thursday evening's concert "will include tributes to Motown's distinctive soul-infused pop music sound that solidified its popularity in American culture, and showcase Motown's impact on all music," the White House said.

Before the concert, the first lady will host more than 100 students from California, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota and Washington, D.C., in an arts-education workshop on Motown's history called "The Sound of Young America," the White House said.

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