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  • S7. The Birth of the Blues

S7. The Birth of the Blues

  • 06/16/2023
  • 06/30/2023
  • 2 sessions
  • 06/16/2023, 10:00 AM 11:30 AM (EDT)
  • 06/30/2023, 10:00 AM 11:30 AM (EDT)
  • Zoom


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The blues is a music deeply rooted in West African rhythms and vocal patterns, but  it first takes an identifiable form at the end of the 19th century, with the decline of minstrelsy and the rise of the phonograph. The blues arose in opposition to “coon songs” and blackface, part of a determined effort by black performers to reclaim their musical legacy, off and on the stage. 

We’ll hear music from the black and white vaudeville stages caught on old cylinder and 78 recordings from the 1890’s through the 1920’s. ~ Profusely illustrated and thoughtfully expounded ~ For fans of old blues, vaudeville, and American social history.

Rick Hendra is a radio host and Zoom music documentarian, specializing in the era of cylinder and 78 rpm recordings – old blues, hillbilly, gospel, pop and jazz. His courses for WISE include “The Old White Guy’s Guide to Black Gospel Music”, “The Rise of the Female Vocal Groups”, and “How Tin Pan Alley Saved Christmas”. His presentations reach into the social/historical context of different musics and into issues of social justice.

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Worcester Institute for Senior Education (WISE)
Assumption University, 500 Salisbury Street, Worcester MA 01609

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