He was teaching blues history class in the morning and gospel in the afternoon, linked. One person asks about cultural appropriation. The Reverend says that he thinks songs and history are important. He asked if there are songs that he should not sing because they are “white” songs. He says there ARE songs that he WON’T sing because they are racist or sexist. But that if a white person does not sing a song because it’s “black”, he doesn’t think that makes any sense. And he traces history in his classes of how musicians of many races and genders influenced each other and continue to influence each other.
He and other instructors talk about musical skills and guitar and acoustic instrument skills and singing styles that are being forgotten and lost. We are blessed with recordings and he gave us a four page list of people to listen to…. I knew some, Bessie Smith and Robert Johnson, and others I’ve heard of and others I don’t know at all. Homework for the next year!
Blessings on this day for you and everyone, all the world.
CentrumVoiceworks last week. I did not get a wonderful photograph of the Reverend Robert B. Jones, Sr. He was moving and I did not want to use a flash! He did two classes a day, an am blues class and an afternoon gospel class. They wove together. He talked about how the pentatonic scale came with enslaved Africans and met the European music and produced spirituals, praise songs, the blues and gospel. He also spoke about how the early blues musicians were playing acoustic guitar in noisy places, so the guitar was rhythm, harmony and bass, all at once. He traced how the changes in circumstances is reflected in the changes in music in the United States and how musicians of all races and creeds influence each other. He talks about the history of music as healing.
I didn’t get a great photograph of him, but here is another student:
And here is the teacher, engaged:
Thank you, Reverend, for your amazing classes, singing, guitar playing and the final blues jam after the concert on Friday night!
Another fabulous Voiceworks class, this with Anna and Elizabeth. As the week progressed and we ate lunch and dinner with the instructors at the tables as well as each other, I felt more and more blessed and impressed. These teachers said, “Come talk to us. We have time. We are here and you can talk to us between classes.” What generosity and blessing.
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