Friday, February 26, 2010
Black History Month: R&B
Today, R&B means a very specific style, but the term originated in the days of segregation, when record stores put music by blacks in one part of the store and music by whites in another part.
The Music Collection has CDs from every era of rhythm & blues. A very special reference collection (can only be streamed to carrels, not checked out) is a multi-disc sampler from important R&B label, Atlantic Records, covering 1947-1974. Another important label is Motown, whose artists included Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye and others.
Recent stars are also represented in the collection, such as Beyoncé and Mariah Carey.
Use the subject Rhythm and blues music to find more fine artists in the Music Collection.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
The Blues developed in the first few decades of the twentieth century when life was hard and people were freer to express their feelings than under slavery. Blues musicians traveled throughout the Mississippi Delta, accompanying themselves on guitar. Probably the most famous of the itinerant blues musicians was
whose recordings would influence diverse musicians of later generations such as Eric Clapton and "The Blues Brothers."
Other influential blues musicians are B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Jimi Hendrix, Taj Mahal, and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
The blues went on to influence rock music, and some rock musicians evolved a style of blues-rock, sometimes called "roots rock."
The Music Collection has over 200 Blues CDs from all eras and in all styles. Use the Library's Media Finder to search for blues or other styles of music. To hear an excellent compilation from the entire history of the blues, check out the CDs for Martin Scorsese's The Blues televsion series.
Friday, February 19, 2010
Not all music by black musicians is in the popular vein. The earliest famous Classical composer was the eighteenth-century Afro-French composer Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, who conducted the premiere of Haydn's "Paris" Symphonies. He is sometimes referred to as the "Black Mozart" ("Le Mozart Noir").
The most famous nineteenth-century black composer was the Afro-English composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, called the "African Mahler." His best-known composition is Hiawatha.
The Harlem Renaissance inspired some composers to incorporate African-American themes into their compositions. The most famous example is William Grant Still's Afro-American Symphony.
There are many more Classical musicians of African descent, and the best place to read up on them is in the International Dictionary of Black Composers, found in the Music Collection Reference area (ML 105 .I5 1999).
The Music Collection's 17,000+ CDs include examples from the wide diversity of black musical styles, both Classical and popular. For books, recordings and sheet music, search African-Americans and Music in CardCat.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Mardi Gras in New Orleans
Lousiana Spice: 25 Years of Lousiana Music on Rounder Records
The Music Collection has a wide selection of zydeco music to get your feet moving!
And if the music piques your interest, read up on it in
Musical Gumbo: The Music of New Orleans
Monday, February 15, 2010
Welcome to Haiti, Wyclef Jean
Rough Guide to the Music of Haiti
Haitian music includes well developed art music:
Vodou Nation: Haitian Art Music and Cultural Nationalism
Use World Music Media Finder to search for music by country or region.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Want a little help setting the mood for your Valentine date? Check out these CDs from the Music Collection:
Classical Love Songs (mostly opera arias)
Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (Derek & The Dominos)
All About Love by Christian musician Steven Chapman
Love Songs, Dionne Warwick
My Funny Valentine, Miles Davis
Para Siempre, Vicente Fernandez
Thursday, February 4, 2010
The Music Collection has books and CDs to help you explore the music of Africa.
For a start, check out the Garland Handbook of African Music, which comes with a CD. This book gives you an overview, with information about African musical ideals and individual regional styles.
The World Music Media Finder gives you the option to search for CDs of music of a region or specific country, or even a specific language.
African musical ideas are at the heart of African-American style. One book in the Music Collection links African aesthetics to the blues: Africa and the Blues. This book is also available online (From the CardCat Detailed view, click on the URL)
Slaves brought to the Western hemisphere came mainly from Western Africa. Call-and-Response musical styles in the U.S. are indebted to that practice brought to the West by slaves.
By the end of the twentieth century, African musicians began to incorporate African-derived American genres into African styles. Fela Kuti's "worldbeat" movement is an example of this. Other African musicians have adapted reggae and rap and made it their own.
Feel free to ask for help at the Music Collection Counter or over the phone (285-8188). The Music Collection is broad and diverse, and whatever music you want to explore "We can take you there."