The White House concert took place last night, with artists ranging from Booker T. Jones and Justin Timberlake performing at the latest in a long run of special shows put on by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama and former Presidents over the years.

“These events have honored the musical genius of Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney, Burt Bacharach and Hal David” trumpeted a press release before the event, going on to say that they’d “celebrated Hispanic musical heritage during Hispanic Heritage Month; marked Black History Month with events featuring music from the Civil Rights Movement, Motown and the Blues; spotlighted Broadway and the unique spirit of the American musical; and explored the rich roots and resiliency of Country Music.”

There was plenty of celebration in evidence last night (April 9, 2013), and it was the genre of soul that was celebrated. “In the sixties and seventies, Memphis knew its share of division and discord and injustice,” Obama told the audience. Tennessee was, after all, where Martin Luther King, was assassinated. Obama continued that soul music “tried to bridge those divides — to create a little harmony with harmony.” Clearly music close to the heart of the leader, he’d walked on stage to Green Onions, a well-known instrumental tune by Booker T. and the MG’s. 

Justin Timberlake
Justin Timberlake was among those performing at the White House