Thursday, January 17, 2008

Dedication songs to music

Please click this link to se a dedication song by Erykah Badu

Influences on later music:

Originally, Harlem’s music was recognized as Ragtime and Theatre. This quickly led into the Swing Era setting the stage for all vocalist of the 1930’s. As a result Bebop was created because artist were tired of people only dancing to there music and not listening to them.

Just like the artist wanted, the music shortly switched from only dancing to listening. This type of music also reflected on the resentment blacks felt on whites trying to copy their style of music.

Many of them developed a new sense of style while they were at it. They wore berets and grew goatees.

They also performed with there backs to there audience as Miles Davis often demonstrated.

The most infamous skill developed during this time was scatting. Scatting is the sing of syllables. Ella Fitzgerald was an expert in this category.

After the era of Swing, things started to cool down with the more subtle beats of Jazz.

In the Late 1940’s the music acquired a stronger beat from the Boogie Woogie. New instruments were added from the electric guitar, tenor saxophone, and strong emotions from the Gospel Music.

Then the Urban music of Rhythm and Blues developed and the recording tape was in the picture. From 1945 to 1960 this style of music thrived. Rhythm and Blues was looked at as “good ghetto music”. The black created music was still not accepted by the mainstream of America so it could on be heard at home, in the car on a jukebox or record.

In the 1950’s the sounds of Country of the south and Rhythm and Blues combined to create Rock n’ Roll. Although the sound was developed and performed mainly by black, the whites had the few big artists as well. Elvis Presley was later named as the King of Rock n’ Roll.

Songs such as “Soul Brother” and “Black is Beautiful” were all created during the 1960’s Soul Era. This music directly reflected Black Nationalism, pride, and the emergence of the black power movement. This was the beginning of Black owned music productions such as Motown, Atlantic and Stax. Soul music is the type of music that portrays feeling in a song very strongly. Artist such as Aretha Franklin and James Brown (King of Soul) depicted these emotions in there songs.

Next came Disco, product of the 1970’s. This musical rage both attracted black and white people in the communities. Emphasis took place on whether recorded sound was better or live performances. A winner was never officially declared.

Who doesn’t know bout rap? Everybody knows the popular songs on the radio, but who knows the true root? It all started with 3 men roaming the streets of New Jersey in 1979 and took hottest beats out and created “Rappers Delight” by the Sugar Hill Gang. They helped popularize rap in black subculture and urban cities.

Rap music is an expression of what goes on in today’s urban youth. It includes rhymed street slang and usually up beat melodies with a farley heavy bass line. Today’s rap can also be heard on the radio BET and MTV as wel as other music channels provided.

Over the years, Rap music has changed. Artist such as Doug E. Fresh, KRS1, and A Tribe Called Quest influenced artist such as Tupac, The Notorious BIG, and Snoop Dog who influenced today’s popular artist such as Bow Wow and Soulja boy.

Rap is not the only thing that has developed over time. Rhythm and Blues has changed as well. Rhythm and Blues is now called R+B. Nowadays artist such as Trey Songz, Marques Houston, Omarion and J Holiday were all influenced by the 80’s and 90’s artist such as Micheal Jackson and New Edition.
All the artist and genres above will one day be the influence of our future generations music.

Popular places of Performances:

Savoy Ballroom

Apollo Theatre
These artists often times played and at times competed against each other in many world renowned places such as The Cotton Club, Ed Smalls Paradise, Connies Inn, Savoy Ballroom, and The Apollo Theatre. All these famous musical landmarks held what were called Rent Parties.

The reasoning behind Rent Parties was to basically raise money because many people of the community lived compacted as young starving artist who lived in places with very high rent. The Rent Parties raised money for them to stay on top of there rent.

A lot of the popular artist listed above and more attended these Rent Parties. These parties were the real flow and feeling of the Harlem community. The parties ran til’ after hours usually. They provided music food to booze and got “down and Dirty”. If you wanted to have a real night in Harlem, it was one of these spots to go to. Most writers and well respected people of the community would not admit to attending any of these infamous Rent Parties.

Popular Artist of the 1920's and 1930's:

Dizzy Gillespie (above)

Ella Fitzgerald (above)

Though many artists at the time had great music that attracted the community, it is important to remember that the majority of the people in the Harlem Renaissance were not black and did not accept the type of music being produced. There were a few people who regardless of what was being said pursued in there dreams. This bunch consisted of:

Louis Armstrong- Born in New Orleans, later on in life moving to Chicago then to New York found his big break in Harlem with his group who took the sound of the Trumpet to higher levels.

Cab Calloway- Band director, vocalist, and headliner of the Cotton Club. He was also the man who gave Ella Fitzgerald her chance at stardom.

Miles Davis- A man who took his trumpet playing very seriously. He was known for being on stage and playing his music with his back to the audience.

Duke Ellington- Without a doubt the most important man of this era. He was the headliner of The Cotton Club, December 4th 1927 and into the 1930’s. Though he was rewarded a fine arts scholarship, he turned it down to follow his love of music.

Dizzy Gillespie- Though not the world’s best, probably the worlds most recognized bop performer. This man appeared in motion pictures, television, radio and recorded albums. He played the trumpet as well. You can pick him out of a bunch of performers because when he played his cheeks puffed out.

Billie Holiday- Born Eleanora Fagan and later nicknamed Lady Day, she was an American Jazz Singer and composer. She has much influence on today’s performers. She is generally regarded as one on the best jazz singers of all time.
There were many other artist out as well, some played underground others were discovered and given chances at hollywood.

What differentiates Music during The Harlem Renaissance from any other time period?

Millions of different cultures wandered to Harlem during the 1880’s, and because of this Harlem holds many different heritages and cultures. One of the main customs that all the cultures had in common was music. New sounds collided creating the amazing sound, flow and rhythm of the Harlem Renaissance.

At the time (the 1920’s – 1930’s this area served as the cultural capitol of black America, it was also the center of night life in the Big Apple. Most of the inhabitants of Harlem were not black but of Dutch decent. The few blacks that did live in the area held jobs such as club musicians but never were ever aloud admittance into the actual club.

There were many attempts for African Americans to start there own music productions but many failed at the attempt. The only recording companies to succeed at the time were Black Swan Records as well as Handy’s Music Publishing Business, both establish by Harry Pace in 1920.

Also during the Harlem Renaissance writers such as W.E.B. DuBois, Claude McKay, Zora Hurston, Countee Cullen, James Weldon Johnson, and Langston Hughes set themselves up for exceptional careers.

When thinking of the word Renaissance, thoughts such as rebirth of art music and culture come to mind, but why did it all take place in Harlem?

It’s because as the music shifted to Harlem more and more job opportunities appeared allowing one specific place for the music to settle and except adaptation and new sounds constantly.

There were 3 reasons why your average Black American at the time could join into the mainstream of America:

1. There was a sudden appreciation of anything that was created by the black community.
2. The poorer Black Americans were lead by Marcus Garvey (leader of the Black Panthers) who created the Back To Africa Movement which created a love for race pride.
3. The idea of the N.A.A.C.P was followed by many of the middle class Black Americans

Blacks also had the right to speak there mind and Magazines such as Crisis, Opportunity, Messenger, and the Amsterdam News provided this opportunity to share the word on topics such as music and government.

By this time, the mass migration of new musicians to Harlem had started with open doors to start a new music frenzy!