Listen, groove, and dance to the soulful sounds of the IU Soul Revue, America’s first and finest collegiate popular music ensemble. The "Revue" will bring you back to Black popular music from the 1960s — Motown, Stax, Philly — through the present, capturing a range of emotions, from "love" to "let’s party." Don’t miss it!
The IU Soul Revue was founded in 1971, with ethnomusicologist Portia K. Maultsby appointed as the ensemble’s first director. For more than 40 years the "Revue" has wowed its local audience and audiences across the country with dynamic performances of timeless R&B, Soul, Funk, and contemporary Black popular music styles delivered by its commanding male and female vocal ensemble, powerful horn line, and tight rhythm section. The group makes annual appearances in schools, colleges and universities, nightclubs, and other venues. Revue has also opened for renowned artists, including The Emotions, James Brown, The Temptations, Con Funk Shun and Booker T. Jones. Several Soul Revue alumni have gone on to professional careers in the music industry, such as Isaiah Sanders, former keyboardist with Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson; Keith Mitchell and Kevon Edmonds of the group After Seven; Michael Burton, saxophonist for Tyler Perry, Jill Scott and Mary J. Blige; Lance Tolbert, bassist and keyboardist for Mariah Carey; James Strong, bassist and band leader for LL Cool J.
"The IU Soul Revue more than prepared me for a career in the music industry. In the Revue, we learned to interpret and perform soulful, popular music at the highest level. I will always remember my years in the Revue as the time I was being groomed to be a music professional. Many thanks to Dr. Charles Sykes, Dr. Tyron Cooper, and everyone at the African American Arts Institute."
~ Lance Tolbert, bassist, keyboardist, songwriter - Mariah Carey, Will.i.am, Charlie Wilson, and Backstreet Boys
The Soul Revue is available for public concerts, nightclubs, conventions, school and college programs, lecture-demonstrations, and other types of engagements.
James Strong is director of the IU Soul Revue at Indiana University Bloomington. Renowned bassist, producer, composer, musical director, and world-class musician, Mr. Strong has led a successful career in the entertainment industry for more than 20 years. He is the musical director for Stephanie Mills and has worked with popular artists such as Toni Braxton, En Vogue, Tupac, New Edition and LL Cool J and performed for sold-out crowds at New York’s Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall. He has also recorded and produced for top record companies including RCA, Warner Bros., Sony, Virgin, Atlantic, Universal, J Records, Jive and Capitol.
A native of Indianapolis, Indiana, Mr. Strong credits his time at Indiana University and with the IU Soul Revue, under the mentorship of Dr. James E. Mumford, as an integral part of his success as a musician and business owner in the music industry. As a member of the IU Soul Revue, he honed the skills that would prepare him to travel the world, perform, and record with some of the entertainment industry’s biggest stars.