Black History: The Ladies Sing The Blues

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Blues is a genre of music that originated within the Black community at the end of 19th century. ┬áIt is distinct in its chord progression and lyrics. Best known for the the expressive way it is performed, Blues music is rooted in spirituals and “work songs” of slavery in most communities from the Deep South and is the predecessor for modern-day Rhythm and Blues music. Blues had a great influence on most music forms including jazz, rock n’ roll, and pop music. As far as musical performance, nothing is more powerful or more moving than the lament of the Blues singer.

With the face of music changing rapidly in the last decade, the powerful voice of the Blues singer is quickly fading from the fabric of Black music. More artists are gaining notoriety for exciting stage shows and dance moves, and less attention is given to a soul stirring voice. However, the power that a great singer yields can’t be blocked by the monotony of autotuned voices, and great singers like Jill Scott, Lalah Hathaway, Patti LaBelle, Dionne Farris, and Jennifer Hudson remain in demand.

The precedent of a great singer as a requirement for great music was started by the ladies who sang the blues. Sit back and listen:

Bessie Smith, Empress of the Blues

Dinah Washington, Queen of the Blues

Billie Holiday, Lady Day

Ethel Waters, Baby Star

Lena Horne, The Young Star

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