The blues grew out of the Mississippi Delta. It’s creators of course were African Americans who evolved the blues from their everyday work songs, negro spirituals, and other musical creations. More specifically a bandleader by the name of W.C. Handy said that the blues were revealed to him in 1903 by an itinerant street guitarist at a train station in Tutwiler, Mississippi. The Deep South was home to hundreds of blues men and women who helped shape the genre and create the distinct blues sound we know today.
Do you REALLY know your Black History?
The beginnings of the blues can be traced back to the late 1860s, which is arguably the most vicious and violent period in the United States. It Is important to note that the blues did not speak of the life of the enslaved, but of the experiences of freed men and women during the periods of Reconstruction and Jim Crow. The bluesmen and blueswomen who came from this difficult time period told stories which were translated into songs performed as what we know as Blues.
women had the BLUES too...
Let's State FACTS!
- Call and response was used in Blues music. The singer would say a word or a lyric and the instrument or music was the second voice or response.
- Blues helped give birth to the genre of Rock and Roll.
- New York made the blues the driving force of popular music.
- Bessie Smith: popular blues singer (sung about domestic violence and fighting back)
- The four main type of Blues include Chicago Blues, Delta Blues, Texas Blues, Blues Rock.
- 3 main instruments used were the guitar, banjo, and the harmonica.
Why so Black and Blue?
First and foremost, blues music is an art form capturing the pain of the black experience in America. This is a genre deeply embedded in the SOUL of African Americans. Though other races enjoy blues and try to take on to or relate to the black experience of blues, it truly can’t be done. To sympathize with African Americans is possible, but not even I as an African American woman of today’s generation can say I’ve felt pain like the ones before me. The feeling behind the genre of Blues is all experience. That is what gives it the “stank” because it is raw, uncut, and although imitated, it could never be duplicated. To answer the question”Why so Black and Blue?”, well you just can’t have one without the other.
Drop the Tunessss!!
Oh...SO YOU THOUGHT IT WAS OVER?!
Blues has been appropriated into many other forms of music, from gospel, to R&B, and even hip-hop. Blues was not let go as an art because it still lies within African-American culture as shown in G-Units’s “The Mechanic” which sampled “Chains and Things” by BB King.