What is Blues Music?

Artist: B.B King

Blues is a music genre originating from the deep south in the United States circa 1870’s. Its roots stem from African American traditional music genres, such as folk music. The emotions evoked from are often soulful and sorrowful. It can arguably be recognized as the root of all popular Western musical styles in today’s day and age, especially for its heavy influence on jazz and rock.

Originally, Blues were sung in the cotton field of plantations by slaves in order to ease the pain of their labor and be in touch with themselves and others spiritually. Thus, retaining these elements within their songs such as the recognition of loss and the feeling of homesickness. 

So, why did it begin?

Artists and Sound

The songs followed a call and response pattern. The early Blues was mostly acapella but as it traveled north, instrumentation became complex. For example, the Mississippi Delta Blues often demonstrated a single vocalist accompanying their singing with a guitar. Yet, by the time the Blues reached Chicago, the genre had added the electric guitar, drums, piano, bass, harmonica.

Popular Blues Artists include Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith, W.C Handy, and Eddie Son House (part of the Mississippi Delta Blues.)




Musician and composer William Christopher “W.C.” Handy. Recognized as one of the leaders in popularizing blues music.

Naike Ngassam Njike

Naike Ngassam Njike

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