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10/16/02: Dr. Eileen Southern
From: "Dr. Nelson E. Harrison" <email@example.com
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Michael Ochs <firstname.lastname@example.org
It is my sad duty to announce the death of Dr. Eileen Jackson Southern on October 13, 2002, at the age of 82.
Most of the following announcement was copied from a posting by the Centerfor Black Music Research. Dr. Southern was a pioneer in the study of blackmusic: her book _The Music of Black Americans_, now in its third edition(New York: W.W. Norton, 1997) is encyclopedic in its coverage of blackmusic in the United States, from colonial times to the present.
She held degreesfrom the University of Chicago and from New YorkUniversity and taught atseveral colleges and universities, including BrooklynCollege, York College of the City University of New York, and Harvard. In additionto her pioneering book, she and her husband Joseph also founded and published _ The Black Perspective in Music_ (1973-1990), the first scholarly journal devoted to the subject. Her numerous writings have provided a core upon whichother scholars can build, resulting in the acceptance of black music research asa specialty within musicology.
In his essay "Eileen Jackson Southern: Quiet Revolutionary" published in New Perspectives in Music: Essays in Honor of Eileen Southern (Warren, Mich.: Harmonie Park Press, 1992) Samuel A. Floyd Jr. described Eileen Southern as a "heroine" whose "revolution is one of quiet, scholarly insurgency--the overturning of faulty assumptions about black music and black musicians and their place and role in the evolution of American culture . . . an accomplishment that makes it necessary for all scholarsof American music to take into account the Afro-American musical heritage."
On Monday, April 22, Dr. Southern was awarded the National Humanities Medal in Washington, DC. The award ceremony was held at Constitution Hall. Since Dr. Southern was too ill to attend, her family asked Josephine Wright to receive the award for her.
As a colleague of Eileen's at Harvard and her editor at W. W. Norton, I know how deeply she affected all who knew her. We all mourn her loss and will miss her greatly
X-From_: sendmail Thu Oct 3 10:42:07
Ellis Larkins, Jazz Pianist of Sensitive and Elegant Style, Dies at 79
By PETER KEEPNEWS
NEW YORK TIMES
Ellis Larkins, a jazz pianist known for his understated elegance as an improviser and his sensitivity as an accompanist, died on Sunday at Maryland General Hospital in Baltimore. He was 79 and lived in Baltimore.
The cause was pneumonia, his wife, Crystal, said.
Mr. Larkins established his reputation as an accompanist with two celebrated duo albums he recorded with Ella Fitzgerald for Decca Records, "Ella Sings Gershwin," in 1950, and "Songs in a Mellow Mood," in 1954. He went on to work with Joe Williams, Chris Connor, Eartha Kitt and many other vocalists.
Beginning in the 1970's, he had long engagements at Gregory's, a small club on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, and at the Carnegie Tavern behind Carnegie Hall, where his short but eloquent sets were treated with silent respect by a devoted following.
Ellis Lane Larkins was born into a musical family in Baltimore on May 15, 1923. His mother was a pianist, and his father, who earned his living as a janitor, played violin with the Baltimore City Colored Orchestra. When Mr. Larkins was 6, his father began giving him piano lessons, and within a few years he, too, was playing with the orchestra.
At 15 he began studies at the Peabody Conservatory, and two years later he received a scholarship to the Juilliard School of Music, where he studied for three years. In an interview with Whitney Balliett of The New Yorker, Mr. Ellis, a notoriously shy man, recalled the triumphant conclusion of his Juilliard years. "I had to give a little dissertation before I graduated," he said, "but I knew I couldn't get up there and talk. I was standing on a corner of Madison Avenue, on my way to the event, when what I'd do came to me: demonstrate the similarities between the melodic lines of Bach and boogie-woogie. The teacher told me afterward that he knew I'd made up the whole thing on the spot but that I'd done it very well."
The decision to link Bach with boogie-woogie came to characterize Mr. Larkins's jazz work. Although he sometimes said that he pursued a career in jazz because there were no opportunities for black musicians in the classical field, he never played like a man for whom jazz was a second choice. He deftly bridged the concert hall and the nightclub, keeping the tempos moderate and the volume low while combining rhythmic drive, harmonic intricacy and an almost Baroque approach to melodicembellishment.
Mr. Larkins started in jazz while still at Juilliard, working with the guitarist Billy Moore at Cafe Society Uptown. Late in 1942 he led his own trio atthe same club. Over the next decade he worked frequently at a number of New York rooms, most notably the Blue Angel and Cafe Society Uptown and Downtown, as a leader or backing the clarinetist Edmond Hall and singers like Helen Humes and Mildred Bailey.
He also recorded several solo albums in the 50's, occasionally backed by a bassist. The titles of his albums - "Manhattan at Midnight," "Blue and Sentimental," "The Soft Touch" - captured their low-key ambience.
From the late 50's through the late 60's, Mr. Larkins concentrated onstudio work, teaching and occasional performances with singers. But when New York City experienced a jazz renaissance in the early 1970's andrestaurants and bars all over town turned themselves into piano rooms, his career blossomed. In addition to the Gregory's and Carnegie Tavern jobs, he performed frequently at the Cookery, a restaurant in Greenwich Village run by Barney Josephson, the former owner of Cafe Society.
After about a decade, he moved to Los Angeles, where he continued toperform and record, before returning to Baltimore in the early 1990's. Among his last recordings were a solo recital in 1992 and two albums of duets in 1994with the cornetist Ruby Braff, with whom he had also recorded in 1955 and 1972.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Larkins is survived by a sister, Clara
Larkins Bailey, also of Baltimore.
"If we take care of our community first, the community will take care of us."
John H. Sengstacke
10/03/02: Angie Stone/Blacks in Country music
X-From_: sendmail Thu Oct 3 10:40:56
----- Original Message -----
From: "Kevin Amos" <email@example.com>
<< Hi folks.....I went into our SP database and found this posting I put up on Country Music. Perhaps we can get Angie Stone to read this and she might change her frame of reference. :)
"FROM WHERE I STAND": THE BLACK EXPERIENCE IN COUNTRY MUSIC
A few months ago a friend gave me an article that was in the Sunday edition of the Washington Post focusing on the compilation produced by the Country Music Foundation. After reading about the Grand Ole Opry's first African American star Mr. Deford Bailey, it inspired me to dig deeper to learn about the roots of country music. I had to go no farther to look but right to my Dad who grew up listening to the Opry as a kid growing up in Franklin, Tennessee just down the road from "Nas'vil". He told me of the Louisville and Nashville locomotive that the great Deford Bailey would so accurately imitate on his signature "Pan American Blues". It also caused me to reflect back to when we would travel from Pittsburgh to Franklin by train to visit our grandparents and the rest of the Amos family back in the early sixties. By then the trains were integrated as were the dining cars and I remember the pride my Dad had on his face watching his children enjoy themselves without incident. You see...my Dad was not only the son of a Primitive Baptist church elder.... but the grandson of sharecroppers and ex-slaves. He had grown up in that terrible part of our history where he had to go to school barefoot, wear secondhand football uniforms, and suffer the sting of a Jim Crow south where signs that said "No Coloreds Allowed" were the order of the day.
Deford Bailey suffered these indignities by a force from social, commercial, and academic circles that had long conspired to keep American roots music segregated. As a result of this and the battle between BMI and ASCAP in the early 40's it made him very angry and kept him out of the music business except for limited radio and TV appearances before his death in 1982. Quite a slap in the face for one of the founders of the Grand Ole Opry and the man that was part of the first recording session in Nashville in 1928.
This compilation will dispel the myth that county music is the music of bigots, rednecks and hillbillies, and that Charley Pride was the only Black face in country circles. Many White country stars were taught and/or influenced by African American musicians. Jimmie Rodgers, Bob Wills, Roy Rogers, Jerry Lee Lewis, Reba McEntire, Elvis Presley, Chet Atkins.......the list goes on and on .
The creation of "race" records in the early 20's has created a commercial division that until this day has not really been closed. We have to demand that the gap be closed by exposing the true roots of the music and educating the public about this branch of "Great Black Music".
Other artists on this excellent recording include:
Andrew and Jim Baxter
Each one....teach one.....
Kevin Amos tha Funkoverlord
10/02/02: George Lewis named MacArthur Fellow
X-From_: sendmail Wed Oct 2 18:45:58
X-Mailer: Unknown (No Version)
George Lewis selected for 2002 MacArthur Fellows Program
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation today named 24 new MacArthur Fellows. This year's list includes trombonist/composer George Lewis, currently a professor of music at the University of California, San Diego in La Jolla, California. Lewis, a member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), first gained public recognition as a gifted trombonist and improvisor. He has since become a respected teacher, theorist, and historian. He is also well known for his pioneering work with computers and algorithmic improvisation. Each MacArthur Fellow will receive $500,000 in no-strings-attached support over the next five years. More information about Lewis and the other recipients is available from the MacArthur foundation <http://www.macfound.org/> Web site.
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X-From_: sendmail Wed Sep 4 15:56:01
<<Subject: Susana Baca
Hi everyone! when we talk about "Great Black Music",
we just don't talk about Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone,
Ma Rainey, or India Arie. We talk about Susana Baca,
Celia Cruz, Ceasara Evora, Miriam Makeeba, and
Virginia Rodreguez as well.
This is a story from the web.
Susana Baca's Roots Are in Peru
CHORRILLOS, Peru - Susana Baca has traveled the world as one of her country's most famous musicians, but her inspirations are still rooted at home in Peru's little-celebrated black culture.
Baca is arguably Peru's most recognized musician in Europe and North America, where critics hail her as "the voice of black Peru" and "Peru's musical ambassador to the world."
Though she hasn't generated a large following in her own country, Baca, 55, is among the nominees at the Latin Grammy Awards, which will be presented Sept. 18 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, Calif.
"There used to be a distortion of our true history. It was as if a group of humans had been left out of reality, or at least out of official history," she said at her home in this seaside Lima district where she grew up.
"Our story wasn't known. We didn't even know our own story . I didn't know about it until college, because the books I read in high school mentioned nothing about it!"
Afro-Peruvian music is a relatively obscure genre compared with other African-influenced music from Latin America such as the Caribbean's salsa and Brazil's samba.
Pop star David Byrne gave Baca an invaluable boost when he sought her out after hearing a recording of her seductive voice. Her rendition of Peruvian classic "Maria Lando" piqued listener interest on his record label's 1995 compilation of Afro-Peruvian music.
Baca's latest album on Byrne's Luaka Bop label, "Espiritu Vivo," was recorded before a small audience in downtown Manhattan in the days following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
She'll open a 22-date tour of the United States and Canada on Sept. 13, with performances scheduled in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Edmonton and Calgary.
"David Byrne opened the doors of the world for me," she said, flashing her trademark smile. "But he doesn't go onstage with me. I have to fill my own space there."
Baca's captivating voice can handle that by itself.
Dressed in flowing shawls and dangling earrings, her hair cropped short and feet bare, she's enchanting onstage. Most of her pieces are traditional Afro-Peruvian songs rearranged into jazzier, slow-tempo versions.
"It is a very sublime form of singing," said Mabela Martinez, host and producer of the local radio and cable show "Sonidos del Mundo (Sounds of the World)."
"While many singers may be more expressive with the eyes, the face, with facial muscles, she gestures with the soul," Martinez said.
The Spaniards first brought African slaves to Peru in the 16th century to work gold and silver mines in the Andes Mountains. The Africans couldn't adapt to the cold, high altitudes, so they were moved to the coast to work cotton and sugarcane plantations. It was there, forbidden their traditional drums and percussion instruments, that generations of Afro-Peruvians created a musical genre by mixing old-country rhythms with Spanish and native Indian influences.
A percussion-driven, danceable sound emerged. The lyrics range from flirtatious love songs to beck-and-call chants sung to confront the brutality of slavery. The ban on drums sparked an ingenuity in creating sound. The slaves turned fruit crates on their side, sat on one end and slapped out a beat.
The instrument's modern-day descendent, the "cajon" or box, anchors the rhythm of Afro-Peruvian music. A donkey jaw serves as a shaker, the teeth loosened slightly to rattle when the jawbone is hit.
Baca , whose lifelong dedication to Afro-Peruvian music has included treks to remote towns to learn near-extinct rhythms and instruments , discovered another percussion instrument after accompanying a historian to Sana, a rice-farming town on Peru's northern coast. There, she was introduced to a 94-year-old man who played a pumpkinlike gourd as an instrument. Baca recorded his songs and her percussionist learned the rhythms.
A song based on the old man's tunes called "Golpe e' Tierra" or "Stomping the Ground," is included on her second Luaka Bop album, "Eco de Sombras (Echo of Shadows)." And the gourd is now a fixture in her stage shows.
Baca's repertoire also draws on family traditions that she said were kept secret from the outside world for decades. Her mother, who worked as a household servant, told her the story of the zamacueca rhythm, which was danced around 3 a.m. after a town festival or family party. At the end of the night, the older women who had cooked and served food all night would gather to dance the zamacueca. "Those customs were practiced within the family," she said. "It wasn't something you saw on television or heard on the radio."
Baca is still largely unknown in Peru, where her United States-produced albums are imported and cost at least $20 , almost the weekly minimum wage in this impoverished nation. She has developed a mostly elite following in Lima, Peru's capital,where she sings at diplomatic parties and small nightclubs in upscale neighborhoods. "Not singing in Peru more frustrates me very much, because I like to. It's my natural audience," she said.
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