The PBS American Roots Music series which include the 4 part documentary on DVD and 4 CD boxed compilation is an admirable and much of informational piece of work musical culture-wise. It offers a great and incredible art of education basically revealing the growth of American culture musically and this collection is not only offers a popular American music and culture, but also history, and highly advisable and recommended to be viewed and listened in high schools across the entire nation.
Lots of problems in American civilization and its youth nowadays emanate from a total lack of self-awareness and pride. A fast study of culture and popular music disclose an alarming state of ignorance of America's ideas, values, and history. In summary as the series focuses on America's musical society, it does an implausible work of passing on a sense of America's "roots" in an optimistic, inspiring manner.
Chicago blues is an episode in the famous PBS American Roots and its generally termed as The Times They A-Changin’. This episode shows the origin and traces of the continuing appearance of American roots music during a countrywide awareness catalyzed by the blues and folk revivals. In the Mississippi delta region during the middle of the 20th century country music, the new juke box dancing, and American rock and roll music had been born and they quickly gained popularity amongst the natives especially around Memphis. After the Second World War, social migration in the history of America reached its peak. In 1920s, African Americans from the south left the tobacco plantations and gold-mines to migrate to the northern cities in search for better jobs. This era saw the massive migration ever in the southern parts of America to the north hence delta blues musicians like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf were not left behind.
This urban immigration from the region of the Mississippi Delta to Chicago fostered the electrification and emergence of the blues, commonly known as the electric blues. Throughout this era, folk music and the blues become incorporated in political and social causes like the anti-war movements and civil rights together with youth culture. Critics argued that Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf were the major pioneers and revolutionaries of blues music and they are responsible for bringing in the delta blues into Chicago. Their electrifying performances shows it all and it’s argued that both of them were brought out a picture of what blues is all about, for instance playful, sexy, and messed up all together in a good way. Their bands are credited to be probably the best bands of their time and more so in the century.
There are several strengths revealed throughout the episode one of which is their total dedication musically. For instance Muddy performed with all his heart together with his band. Its not like they were after making money even though everyone enters into music so as to gain something financially but Muddy was different, his first priority was to entertain people hence this made him famous. Another major strength which made the two delta blues musicians rise above all other musicians is their use of a self-motivated, determined, creative composer or rather song writer known as Willie Dixon. He was well versed with the street vernacular hence through his imaginative and creativity he composed songs which were appealing and touching the society.
Weaknesses which are exposed in the episode are majorly touching the lack or rather the use of outdated technology of which blame is not on to them since in that era technology and use of the current sophisticated musical production were unavailable. Therefore this phenomenon caused a poor production of the songs for instance in black and white even though that was only the technology available by then.
This episode tries to educate us on the emergence of the Cajun type of music and its culture in the southwest Louisiana. This form of music is termed to have had its roots or rather origin from the French speaking Catholics in Canada and their music instruments composed of the fiddle and later on they adopted the accordion.
In 1960s, the young generation it was argued that they saw how they could impact the political and social changes through music and this is when the so called traditional old fashion of the Cajun type of music hit the southwest Louisiana. For instance the Balfa Brothers became so much appealing to the society in their journey of Cajun music that everyone liked them and they were eager to be associated with the culture and to listen to them. In fact people from different regions travelled to Louisiana to listen to that type of music as it was termed as exotic and different. The youth became much involved with Cajun as they wanted to show off that they could play the musical instruments. Furthermore audience participation is what boosted this genre of music to higher heights together with the deeds of Mark Savoy who built accordion and even went further to teach it to everyone. It’s widely argued that this form of music enlightened people both socially and politically in a wide range as everyone was eager to know it.
A lot of creativity was involved together with much determination and self-motivation from the musicians who helped pioneer this new form of music culture into the people of Cajun ethnic group. This form of music was exotic in the Cajun community but with much eagerness from the society it grew extensively in the midst of other ‘folk’ songs. A major drawback noted was that of lack of improved technology and lack of some skills generally by the society together with the singers. This coupled with it being an exotic form of music presented a great weakness to the venturing of Cajun to the society.
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