Grammy museum coming to Delta

Published 12:35 pm Friday, April 22, 2011

JACKSON — A Grammy museum will be built in Mississippi, the hub of the Delta blues.

Bob Santelli, executive director of the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, announced Thursday that the museum’s first branch outside California will be built in Cleveland, Miss.

“The state of Mississippi is the cradle of American music,” Santelli said.

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He announced the project in Jackson during the annual meeting of the Mississippi Economic Council, a state chamber of commerce. He received a standing ovation from Gov. Haley Barbour and more than 1,000 business people.

Santelli said no timetable has been established for the museum, estimated at $10 million to $12 million.

Mississippi has a Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale and a B.B. King Museum in Indianola. Both are near Cleveland.

The state also is home to blues clubs, including Ground Zero in Clarksdale, co-owned by actor Morgan Freeman.

Mississippi has been encouraging blues tourism by placing historical markers at juke joints and other sites that were pivotal to development of the genre.

The state is the birthplace of Grammy winners, including gravelly voiced blues pianist Pinetop Perkins, who died at 97 last month at his home in Austin, Texas. Perkins, whose real first name was Willie, grew up playing in Delta clubs.

The Grammy Mississippi museum will form a partnership with the Delta Music Institute at Delta State in Cleveland, Santelli said.