Frenchman Receives Prestigious Keeping The Blues Award

November 20, 2013 | By French Culture
Gérard Herzhaft

The Blues Foundation has released its 2013 list of the annual Keeping The Blues Alive Award recipients. Once again, a Frenchman is among the 20 award grantees. Gérard Herzhaft will receive an award in the "Literature" category. France Blues, the organization that submitted his application is proud to announce that the author will receive his award at a reception ceremony on January 24, 2014, at the Downtown Memphis Doubletree Hotel in Memphis following the International Blues Challenge.

Award Recipients

1. Affiliated Organization:
Crossroads Blues Society of Illinois – Rockford, Illinois

2. Art:
Cristen Craven Barnard – Senatobia, Mississippi

3. Club:
Kingston Mines – Chicago, Illinois

4. Education:
Tas Cru – Chaumont, New York

5. Festival (International):
Cazorla Blues Festival – Cazorla, Spain

6. Festival (U.S.):
Mississippi Valley Blues Festival – Davenport, Iowa

7. Film, Television and Video:
Stefan Grossman – Sparta, New Jersey

8. Historical Preservation:
George Mitchell – Fort Myers, Florida

9. International:
The Royal Mail Hotel – Goodna, Queensland, Australia

10. Journalism:
Gene Tomko – Lafayette, Louisiana

11. Literature:
Gerard Herzhaft – Lyon, France

12. Manager:
Marcia Weaver – Jackson, Mississippi

13. Photography:
Dick Waterman – Oxford, Mississippi

14. Producer:
Tom Hambridge – Nashville, Tennessee

15. Promoter:
Myron Mu – San Francisco, California

16. Publicist:
Frank Roszak – North Hills, California

17. Radio (Commercial):
Jerry Schaefer – East Islip, New York

18. Radio (Public):
Larry Lisk – St. Petersburg, Florida

19. Record Label:
Stony Plain Records – Edmonton, Alberta

20. Special Committee Award:
Blue Star Connection – Winter Park, Colorado

Gérard Herzhaft was born on November 8, 1943 in Meyzieu (France). He is a French novelist, historian, musician, musicologist and a former librarian. He has published twenty books, novels and essays, has received three literary prizes and his works have been translated into English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Hungarian, Czech and Romanian.
As he was meeting bluesmen on tour in France and England – Gérard Herzhaft started collaborating with several specialized magazines such as Soul Bag (France) and Blues Unlimited (England) and playing the guitar and the harmonica with his brother Cisco Herzhaft, a famous French bluesman, on various Parisian stages.  

After several years spent teaching and a first visit to the United States in 1968, Gérard Herzhaft embraced a career as a librarian while writing his Encyclopedia of the Blues, published for the first time in 1979 by Federop (Lyon). The encyclopedia’s success quickly established Gérard Herzhaft as one of the top Blues and American folk music specialists in the world, allowing him to have several other books on similar subjects published (Le Blues et La country music in the “Que sais-je” collection). He also received two research grants from the prestigious Fulbright Commission.  

Many trips and long visits to the United States gave him further first-hand knowledge, which he then added to newer versions of his Encyclopedia of the Blues (La Grande Encyclopédie du Blues, published by Fayard in 1997). His book has been translated into several languages including English (Encyclopaedia of the Blues - University of Arkansas Press) and is to this day the world’s best-selling work on the Blues. (excerpts from the official biography)

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