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Dear Tessa - An Introduction

October 31, 2017

This is the history of music. OK, not all music, but pop music, popuLAR music perhaps. 'Pop Music' is often considered a genre all of its own, whatever that means. I hate the word genre; as you will see, all types music blend into another at some stage. So if a heavy metal guitarist puts on a Stetson hat and sings a Bob Marley song on an acoustic guitar, what 'genre' is that?. Who knows, who cares.

"It's all just music" - Duke Ellington

So where did it all begin? Well, they a found a flute like instrument with holes drilled into what they think is the femur of a bear in Slovenia about 40,000 years ago. I would've have loved to have heard that tune.

Now we are going skip forward about 39,850 years (hope you don't mind) to the middle of the 19th century. This is when the second of two of the most important events that shaped the music we listen to today occurred. It was the emancipation of slavery in the United States. The first important event was the illegal occupation of the United States by European settlers. From the white settlers and the freed black slaves the four cornerstones of popular music emerged: Jazz, Blues, Folk & Gospel. Everything after that can be traced back to one of these four.

Gospel music emerged as slaves were exposed to white religious songs by their slave owners and they gradually gave these dreary hymns a well deserved kicking and although I am not a religious man those Gospel songs can really get to me. More of that later.

Blues came from the plantations, the fife and drum traditions of Africa and the subsequent call and response. Jazz came from the slaves of French and Spanish owned slaves who developed their own music using the influences of the latin rhythms. Folk is what the white settlers brought with them, in their many forms, from whichever country they came from. It could have been Irish, Scottish or English folk songs from Britain, Flamenco and Fado from Spain and Portugal, Klezmer from the various Jewish communities, Nordic, Gypsy etc. These all evolved eventually into what we know as American Country music,

This is quite a simplistic explanation, but like google maps, the closer you get the more differences and nuances and small villages you will find.

Oh by the way, I will be suggesting listening material as we progress and playlists will no doubt emerge. Also, as I witter on about this and that, I will talk about my own experiences from the last sixty years of listening to music... ok, last fifty five years, I can't remember much of my first five years of life.

So this is the introduction. I tried doing this project as a playlist only event, then decided to do a radio show, then several radio shows, then just a voice only podcast, then I gave up altogether, then someone suggested a blog. Which is what this is.

Hope that's ok.

 

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