Celebrating the African-American Music Culture

I grew up in a house that was filled with music. Even though none of us sings well or plays an instrument, we listened to all types of music and wrapped our heads and hearts around the many melodies we heard. One of the newest members of our immediate family – our one and only favorite son-in-law – plays the guitar and sings. His preferred music genre is the blues. The guest bedroom in my daughter and son-in-law’s home features prints of talented blues legends who greatly influenced the world of music.

From left to right there’s Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Bo Diddley, B.B. King,

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Little Walter, Howlin’ Wolf, and Albert Collins

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Blues have been a part of the African-American music culture since slavery times. It has been said that to know the blues, you have to feel the blues.

The great Mahalia Jackson noted, “When black people stop singing the blues, then there’ll be no more nothin’! Because the blues has made American music and they will still be around when all the rock and stuff has gone. The blues is always around.”

Male artists such as those pictured above and women such as Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Ma Rainey, Ethel Waters, and many others helped shape and define blues music and the music beyond.

February is Black History Month. This year’s theme is A Century of Black Life, History, and Culture. Take some time to educate yourself on the life and times of African Americans and the numerous contributions they have made to our society.

If you like blues, check this book out. It’s great for all ages.

 

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The Blues Singers: Ten Who Rocked the World written by Julius Lester and illustrated by Lisa Conen

Other suggestions for young music enthusiasts:

Jimi Sounds Like a Rainbow: A Story of the Young Jimi Hendrix written by Gary Golio and illustrated by Javaka Steptoe

When Louis Armstrong Taught Me Scat written by Muriel Harris Weinstein and illustrated by R. Gregory Christie

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