The History of Blues: Ma Rainey

Ma Rainey was the first popular stage singer to include authentic blues into her songs. She was deemed the Mother of Blues. Ma Rainey  was talented enough to perform during the first three decades of the 20th century and she was able to enjoy the mass popularity during the blues craze of the 1920s. Her music has served as a an inspiration for such poets like the great Langston Hughes.  She is widely recognized as the first great female blues vocalist.

Ma Rainey, as I’ve stated before, she began singing the blues and she contributed greatly to the evolution of the form of the blues genre and to the growth of that style of musics popularity. During her travels she appeared with ‘jazz and jug bands’ throughout the South. She even preformed with the Tolliver’s Circus and Musical Extravaganza troupe. It was stated during that time she influenced a budding Bessie Smith. Ma Raineys voice is so significant and unique as she sang with this deep voice, which had this raspy harshness to it, was an important instrument with which she was able to convey the depth of her songs of everyday life and emotion. 

She was inspiration to blues singers who were women to come. These artist included Bessie Smith, Bonnie Raitt and Melissa Etheridge. She paved a women for women to enter the style of music and to cross bridges and open this new realm of expression. 

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