Berklee to honor Gamble & Huff with honorary degrees

, Staff

Berklee College of Music President Roger Brown will present Kenneth Gamble, Leon Huff, Paco de Lucia, Angelique Kidjo, and Kenny Barron with honorary doctor of music degrees at Berklee College of Music’s commencement ceremony, which will be held on Saturday at the Agganis Arena at Boston University. Gamble will address the more than 860 Berklee graduates as the ceremony’s Commencement speaker.

Each of this year’s honorary doctorate recipients are being recognized for their achievements and influence in music, and for their enduring contributions to American and international culture.

The Gamble & Huff songwriting and production team has churned out 70 #1 pop and r&b singles and collected 175 gold, platinum, and multiplatinum certificates.  They have produced more than 3,500 songs and won five Grammy Awards.

“To be awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music from The Berklee College of Music for our music career accomplishments is a feeling that goes beyond our wildest dreams,” said Gamble & Huff in press release. “We are very humbled and truly blessed to be chosen to join a list of extraordinary luminaries.”

Spain’s Paco de Lucia is one of the world’s greatest guitarists.  The Latin Grammy winner is regarded as the most innovative and influential flamenco artist of his generation.

Grammy Award–winning Angelique Kidjo has been called Africa’s premier diva and has made her mark not only in music, but in humanitarian work including with her own Batonga Foundation, which provides educational aid to African girls.

Composer, arranger and bandleader Kenny Barron has spent 50 years decades at the forefront of jazz piano aristocracy. He is an inductee into the National Endowment for the Arts prestigious Jazz Masters class of 2010, one of his many awards. The multiple Grammy nominee has released more than 40 albums as a leader and even more as a sideman.

Past recipients include Duke Ellington (the first, in 1971), Patti LaBelle, Steven Tyler, Aretha Franklin, Tito Puente, Nancy Wilson, David Bowie, U2’s The Edge, Loretta Lynn, Quincy Jones, Bonnie Raitt, and most recently Smokey Robinson last year.

Tonight, students will pay tribute to the honorees by performing music associated with their careers at the Agganis Arena as part of an annual Berklee tradition on Commencement eve.

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