Category Archives: Music

Music and Politics

Jerome Camal, French of birth, is assistant to the Washington University of Saint Louis in jazz studies, logic of music and logic of ethnic music. But it is also a saxophonist that is not satisfied with to live of academic searches and he doesn’t want that teacher calls him, but he prefers to play in the places, to plunge himself in jam sessions and to teach the practice of the tool.

A stimulating character, that entertains in his home page a section devoted in full to the analysis of the political jazz of the sixties.

The observations of Camal are stimulating, ideologically you direct not, also succeeding at the same time to recover important figures of that season, giving them a correct position (is worth on all the examples of Frank Kofsky and Amiri Baraka, today a little considered, in kind the first one).

Camal quotes them, he criticizes them. I mark that their ideas “strong” on the jazz they maintain intact their charm, to distance of years.

The studies on the jazz, more and more serious and philologically correct, you are receiving spaces ever had before. There are authors that bring forth innovative thesis and different readings from those usual, for instance the wise man Paul’s Gilroy Black Atlantic, teacher of Black studies to the university of Yale, that offers a reading that has the breath of the coolness historical-political-geographical.

From the correspondence by e-mail this interview was born, that besides opinions not discounted on Coltrane and Sonny Rollins, it furnishes a list at the end – also it everything anything else other than banal – of music jazz “politics.”

Frank Bergoglio: In your pages on the jazz and the movement for the civil rights, or when you speak of the jazz of the so-called one “black nationalism”, it is frequent to find the name and the work of Frank Kofsky. Which opinion have you matured of his job after having studied him to fund? Do you think that it introduced too ideology in relationship to the treated matters or that, contrarily, the period both well described in the writings of Kofsky and Amiri Baraka?
Jerome Camal: Kofsky is an interesting character. Indeed ideology envelops its writings in so mighty way to make more its reasonings object objections. An example of this attitude is its interview to Coltrane in which him test, without succeeding us to make to guarantee from Coltrane its political ideas.

Nevertheless, some points of its discourse are faced in interesting way and they gather meaningful aspects: the most effective example is the description of the economic conditions in which you have to work the black musicians. His book Black Nationalism in Music, is probably at the end more profit if read as a primary source, which the ideology that informs a part of the musicians of the Avant Garde reflects.

F.B: Amiri Baraka is more sociologist in the analyses, is Kofsky a researcher anymore “political” of the jazz… I think that its intention was to put its studies the method of Marxist analysis into practice, doesn’t it seem you?
J.C.: I Arrange, but I think that we should think to both as about two researchers moved by strong political motivations. And’ past a beautiful po’ of time from my reading of “Blues People”, but, as memory, Baraka seems me it emphasized the African-American culture as the product and the reaction towards the slavery and in equal time as connection to Africa. The matters of Baraka are based on a vision “of class”, probably influenced from the Marxism and to lines bordering with the existentialism. For him the forms of jazz and blues that have had more commercial success they have been corrupt from the white mainstream. Reading him does him the idea that he thinks that assimilation is a form of corruption; what the bebop is a reaffirmation of the inheritance of the black roots in music and a taking of distance from the white hegemony that was consolidated during the Swing Era. Many groups and artists of the movement coagulated him around the African-American arts, the reasonings of Baraka they resounded. Of other song the writer of color Ralph Ellison was in strong disagreement with the theses of Baraka and looked at the blues as to a form of celebration of the results reached by the African-American art. In the demonstrations as the blues, where Baraka has the tendency to see the people of color as victims, Ellison underlines the strong sense of representation and affiliation instead of it.

F.B.: Which opinion you are you formed on the course to assign to the job of Coltrane? Before you quoted one famous interview of his, and in that as in others, the timidity of the saxophonist emerges, always of few words, that it brings to reserved answers, humble and at the end ambiguous in comparison to the course of the legacy coltraniano.

J.C.: I Think that the case of Coltrane to treat we need to consider his/her music from two separated visual angles. Primo: which type of political message (if it is one of them) it foresaw Coltrane for his music? According to: which done mean political you has been tied up to his music to back, from the most different listeners? In other words, I believe there is a difference among as Coltrane it conceived and he saw his music and the way in which it has been recepita and interpreted. Premised this, I see a Coltrane that “it uses” his music to communicate a message of integration and universality. I like to show up a parallel among his/her interest for the modal music and particularly for that Indian and the attention of Martin Luther King for the fliosofia of the not-violence brought ahead by Gandhi. In the first days of the struggle for the civil rights of the black population often M.L. King painted a parallel among the struggle for the liberty in the United States and the movement for the independence in Africa. It seems me to be able to affirm that both the men saw their job in universal terms. Nevertheless it doesn’t seem me that the music of John Coltrane has been welcomed in this way and some of the most radical parties in the Movement of the civil rights they were rapid in to summon to them the saxophonist as musical spokesman. Same Coltrane to the idea doesn’t appear enthusiastic, as it clearly enough shows his interview to Kofsky, where he prefers to deepen his musical explanations with a more general meaning regarding the human condition. As it underlines Craig Werner, Coltrane and Malcolm X they saw both their transformed message and used for justifying the pursuit of more radical objectives inside the Movement, independently from the fact that they wanted you was used and interpreted their job in such way or no.

F.B.: you think there is a connection among the New it damages American and the jazz? And of what type?

J.C.: And’ an ample question too much for a rapid answer. I have never reasoned on the connection among New Left and music, even if it seems an interesting matter to develop.

F.B.: you want to make a brief list of political passages that in the history of the jazz you consider fundamental and to give apiece us a brief comment?

J.C.: You my first choice is rather obvious: We insist! Freedom now Suite (Candid 1961). This recording exemplifies for many different aspects as the music you can politically be used. In first place it is an example of artists of color that you use their art to regain the authority and the control on his own history and on his narration storiografica. The Suite of Roach follows the story of the population of color of African descent is in the United States that in Africa, departing from the experience of the slavery, continuing with the declaration of emancipation, to end with the struggle for right peers in America as in Africa. Facing the matter from this point of view is stimulating to observe, as they makes Scott Saul and Ingrid Monson, that the order of the sections of the Suite, separate among them, you has been changed in comparison to the ideas of departure of Roach and Oscar Brown Jr. Originally the suite foresaw the departure with the African section before moving to the experience of the slavery and to pass to the emancipation. to Put the slavery to the beginning serves to strongly take root the African-American history to the experience of the slavery. To depart with Africa would have emphasized the African inheritance of the African-American culture instead. In beaten second the Freedom now Suite represents well also what Gilroy it defines “black atlantic”. All Africa melts the American jazz with the Cuban music and the African percussions: it deals with an excellent example of the continuous cultural exchange that is had among African people, people of the Caribbean, wide also in Europe and, naturally, to the United States. From last it needs to remember that the Suite is after all a great moment of music, in which you/they can be seen used advanced techniques of composition. Max Roach uses a 5/4, perhaps an answer to the success of Take Five, but more disposition and brave of that of Brubeck. The tone of the breaths, perfectly in the “fourth” in Driva men is interesting and anticipates the times. The photo of cover that shows some students during a sit-in to a counter of a cafeteria it is provocative and the notes of cover of Nat Hentoff they are also candid and fresh to the actual reading. The second example is surely less known. In fact if you has been written a lot on the Freedom Suite of Sonny Rollins, I would aim the attention at a 1956 recording, The house The live in, performed for the Prestige. It deals with a passage hard enough conventional bop, but it is also a big beautiful example of signifying in music. At the end of the piece Rollins inserts as tail the theme of Lift every voice and sing. That spiritual has become subsequently a kind of non official hymn for the population of color. In the notes of cover of the cd-playpen of the Prestige, container everything how much recorded, he explains that the saxophonist appreciated the social meaning of the text written by Robinson and wanted to strengthen his/her words ending the song with Lift every voice and sing. He perhaps wanted also to answer to the recent recording of that song performed by Frank Sinatra. In every case it is interesting to notice that this is the only song of that session that has not immediately been realized by the Prestige, immediately after the recording. I have not made a lot of searches on this disk, but I think both too often ignored, today. If then we want a complete list of passages we should include at least the Haitian fight song and Fable of Faubus of Mingus and Freedom rider of Art Blakey, John’s Coltrane Alabama, the whole apparition of Archie Shepp to the festival jazz of Newport and Appointment in Ghana of Jackie Mclean. There is then Strange Fruit of Billie Holiday, but the list would be very long…

What Makes Spanish Music

Spanish music is one of the most diverse that you will ever encounter, having been influenced from the German, French, Arabic and Moorish cultures. It has a varied form and style, although for most people, they consider Spanish music as synonymous to flamenco which is a music genre in Andalusia.

Music in Spain has a long history which shows a heavy influence of the Christian era and Roman culture during the first centuries. Later on, other cultural influences slowly made its imprint on the local music such as Greek culture, the Visigoth which is a tribe in Germany, the Jews during their Diaspora and then the Arabs and Moors. During the Renaissance period, Spanish musicians traveled throughout Europe where they learned more about the music of other lands, and then returned back to their homeland to share their newly acquired knowledge.

The 18th and 20th centuries have seen further developments of Spanish music, where opera, guitar, popular, and other genres emerged. These different influences led to the musical traditions that are unique to the Spanish.

In Spain, the different regions have distinguishing music genre using varying instruments. Andalusia is well-known for flamenco which is the most popular form of Spanish dance and music. Aragon is where the jota music originated where they usually use the tambourines, bandurria, castanets and the guitar as instruments.

In Northwest Spain, the music has a distinctive Celtic influence and the popular instruments used are the gaita, tamboril, fiddle, harp, rebec and zanfona. The Xeremiers is typical in the Balearic Islands where the bagpipes and flabiol are used. The Basques are known for their choirs, the trikitixa dance and the musical instruments txisu, alboka and txalaparta. Isa is a musical genre that is actually a local type of jota which is traditional in the Canary Islands where the charango, tabor pipe and drums are used as instruments.

The music in Castile, Madrid, and Leon has a unique sound which is influenced by the Jews, Romans, Italians, Moorish, French, Visigoth, and the Gypsy. Catalonia is where the sardana music originated while Portuguese music is distinctive in Extremadura. In Murcia, Moorish music influence can be heard in most musical compositions in this area along with Christian songs often performed in accapella. Lastly, the music of Valencia has a Mediterranean origin although the region is also well-known for its musical innovation.

Despite the differences of the music from the various regions, you will notice that these have a distinctive sound which identifies them as Spanish. Also, aside from keeping their traditional music alive, the Spaniards also excel in classical, opera, techno, jazz, rock, pop, hip hop and all the other music genres. There are a lot of Spanish artists and musicians who have risen to fame worldwide because of their talents. Father and son Julio and Enrique Iglesias are among them as well as Alejandro Sanz, Maria Jimenez, Victor Manuel and a lot more. Some well-known music groups are Las Ketchup, Los Bravos, Tequila, Tierra Santa, Tote King and others.

Traditional Spanish music has indeed evolved and to this day it shows various styles and forms. It indeed blends perfectly well with modern music, which makes it all the more interesting. With music and dance an integral part of Spanish life, learning about Spanish music is necessary for you to fully understand the Spanish society.

Elvis the 1950s Classics History

Elvis’ full name is Elvis Aaron Presley. He was born on January 8, 1935. He is the most talked about rock and roll singers to date. He had a twin brother named Garon, who died and it was because of him Elvis had his middle name Aaron so that he could always feel his brother as a part of him. Elvis is also known as the King of Rock and Roll. Elvis started out his career singing rhythm and blues, gospel and country. He is known as the first singer who merged the country music with blues. He also sang ballads, pop, folk, as well as opera and jazz.

Elvis took the world with a sweep. There are millions of Elvis’ fans throughout the world, who still love him dearly. He had a musical career that ranges over the span of two decades. You might be surprised to know that Elvis Presley had a very tough childhood where his father did not want to take any responsibility of the family and Elvis’ mother was working really hard to make the ends meet. It was in 1938 that Elvis’ father was convicted of forgery and was sent to Mississippi State Penitentiary.

Elvis had been known to hang out with only a few friends and he never mingled much with his classmates. His teachers tell of him as a student who was sweet and loving and loved to read comic books. Elvis was living in a dreamland of his own. He used to hang out at theaters and listened to the local musicians and it was then he thought of expressing his emotions through music. It was in 1945, that Elvis’ mom bought him the first guitar valued at $12.75. The first two songs recorded by Elvis were “My Happiness” and “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin.” There is so much about Elvis that I can go on and on for days. The last words that I have to say are “He Is My Hero.”

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Hawaiian Music

My wife and I visited the Hawaii in 1981, and were both struck by the beauty of the islands and the people. There was only one thing I found disappointing- I didn’t hear one steel guitar player. Sure the slack-key guitar was riding a wave of newfound popularity, and the ‘ukulele too was ubiquitous; but in our 2 week stay I never was able to find young people playing the kind of guitar named after Hawaii. I even found a baritone ukulele in the shape of Oahu, but most of the interest and development was in the guitar and the slack-key guitar. New luthiers were making quality guitars and ukes of all shapes and sorts-but no steels.

I knew some of the big night clubs had shows including a few of the old-timers still playing the Hawaiian guitar, but I wanted to find the steel-playing equivalents of the kids at the beach playing their slack-key. I did see many tourist-oriented show groups, and with them ukes of all sizes, but the steel guitar had appeared to have fled the islands to the mainland, now residing in Nashville in the form of the pedal steel, the most mechanically developed member of the guitar family, and it’s cousin the Dobro, a resonator guitar designed as a loud acoustic Hawaiian guitar in the 1920’s. Of course there were some of the oldtimers around, but we did not know how to find them.

You see, I loved the Hawaiian guitar. I had been dabbling with one since I was a kid, and one summer when working at a local music store came across a WWII vintage National six string electric lap steel, and a circa 1911 Leon Coleman Hawaiian guitar method book. As a teenager I had played in a dance band, and was exposed to the all-but defunct sound of “Hawaii Calls”, of the music once the most popular in the continental USA, that of Hawaii.

I found out that by 1900 the recently-invented ukulele and Hawaiian guitar were gaining in popularity on the mainland, along with a new style of music called hapa-haole, or “half-white”, and was a blend of many elements reflecting the diverse peoples that settled in the Hawaiian Islands in the 1800’s. Native Hawaiian elements were mixed with congregational hymns, sailor’s songs, Portuguese, Spanish, Mexican, and many other musical genres adding their contributions- even European band music! Immigrants from other Polynesian Islands brought another layer of influences. Before the late 1800’s, violin and flute were among the main lead instruments, and mandolins were popular as well. However by1880 a new instrument based on a Portuguese braguinha (also the ancestor of the Brazilian cavaquinho) burst on the Hawaiian scene, the ukulele, which was a small guitar-shaped body , short neck, and 4 strings of gut, now nylon. The tuning was based on the guitar as well, GCEA being the Hawaiian standard, although mainland uke players typically tuned up a whole step, ADF#B.

The ukulele became a widespread hit, even becoming associated with the early flapper/jazz age of the Roaring 20’s, and was played in vaudeville by such string virtuosos as Roy Smeck and Harry Volpe. The baritone ukulele is larger and is tuned lower, DGBE like the highest four courses of the guitar. Players often used fingerstyle techniques, but occasionally used felt picks or some other plectrum. Double-strung ukuleles were called “taropatches” and were more often played plectrum-style.

The guitar was brought to the Islands by Mexican cowboys and possibly whaling vessels in the early 1800’s, and soon the guitar was being tuned to open chords as a means to produce a certain unique style of playing, and to make playing basic chord patterns easy. This guitar style developed into two distinct areas- slack key and the Hawaiian or steel guitar.

Slack key is possibly the earlier development, and is based on fingerpicking melodic patterns against open tuned backgrounds; many tunings are used, maybe over 100, although most performers use far less. The name derives from slackening the strings, to produce open chordal tunings in different keys. Somehow, the slack key guitar was not a big part of the uke-steel guitar boom of the 1st half of this century; however with the revival of Hawaiian culture in the 1960’s and 1970’s the slack key became immensely popular, moreso than ever on the Islands or the mainland.

The first public performance of hula accompanied by the new Hawaiian steel guitar was the 1886 Jubilee Celebration for KIng Kalahaua. Sweet Emalie danced the hula to the accompaniment of Ôukulele and Hawaiian guitar. Although the invention of the steel guitar style is shrouded in doubt, the first person to make a steel bar and to develop the standard technique was Joseph Kekuku, who moved to the mainland in 1904 and performed and taught until1931.

Derived in part form slack key, the Hawaiian guitar uses a hard object, like the back of a comb, pocket knife, or best, a steel bar to touch the strings and shorten the strings, rather than using the fingers to press the strings against a fret, All manner of slides, graces, glissandi and vocal effects are available when using a steel, and it was this sound that influenced blues players to use slides or bottlenecks to get that “whining” tone characterizing old Delta blues. Even East Indians have adopted the steel guitar as it can play all the gamaka of Indian vocal styles- and all the microtonal pitch inflections of the Indian music system. This is fair, as one of the possible developers of the Hawaiian guitar was a native of India named Gabriel Davion, who may have adapted the vichitra vina playing technique to guitar. This vina is played with a hard egg-shaped piece of glass, sliding and swooping and playing quite vocally.

The earliest Hawaiian guitars are merely regular Spanish guitars with metal strings, raised nuts, played with flat metal bars and fingerpicks, tuned most commonly then in the early 1900’s to open A low bass tuning of EAEAC#E. These guitars were not particularly loud, as a regular guitar placed on the lap does not project the sound forwards like the usual method of holding it, so in Los Angeles a guitar maker named Weissenborn made Hawaiian guitars with a larger body and hollow neck, often of koa wood, the preferred Ôukulele wood. These guitars were not particularly popular with the professionals of the time, but were the next step in development; in many ways the steel guitar developed faster and further than almost any other string instrument in the same period.

The first “new” guitar design which was wholeheartedly accepted by the professional Hawaiian player was the invention of the resonator guitar in the early 1920’s- and also in Los Angeles- by the Dopera Brothers, notably John. The design is based on the use of aluminum cone “megaphones” upon which the bridge sits, and the tone is much louder than a conventional wooden top. Some of the most prized of these were made with all metal bodies, often etched in designs. Due to business reasons, the Dopera Brothers formed a new company, Dobro (DOpera BROthers-and it means “good” in all Slavic tongues) and introduced a single-cone resonator guitar which bears the company name and in turn passed it on to posterity. Today the Dobro is widely played by Bluegrass artists, the only popular acoustic steel anymore.

Dobros are tuned in what was originally called by Hawaiian guitarists G high-bass, or GBDGBD. The old A low bass tuning was adapted to high bass, AC#EAC#E, and transposed to G. This is the standard acoustic steel tuning. Hawaiian player often used other tunings for more complex chords. A 1930’s Gibson catalog, featuring several models of steel guitar, lists a chart of tunings, and suggests the use of an E 7th tuning for advanced players. This tuning is BDEG#BE, with use of the 2nd string up to C# sometimes.

National and Dobro merged in 1932, and soon (again it’s unclear who was forst) were selling an electric Hawaiian guitar, the first commercially available ones ever. One of their former emplyees also released an electric Hawaiian guitar, Adolph Rickenbacker, forming a company still bearing his name. Soon the pros switched again, this time from the resonators to the amplified Hawaiian guitars; soon to appear were 7 and 8 string models, double necked versions followed by 3 and 4 neck instruments, console models, and finally the addition of pedals that alter the tuning, resulting in the pedal steel.

Most Hawaiian style players prefer smaller non-pedal steels. One of the Hawaiian hallmarks is the use of slanting the bar to obtain harmonies and other chords than the open tuning provided, and the use of pedals changes the whole approach- not to mention the expense and complication of the pedal steel compared to the simplicity and easy portability of the reliable lap steel.

Hawaii’s Most Famous Musical Instrument

Ukelele ( spelled ukelele in the UK, abbreviated to uke; pronounced yoo-kuh-ley-lee [American English] or oo-koo-ley-ley [original Hawaiian]) is a small, guitar-like lute with four to ten strings. Developed in the 1880s, the ukulele is the Hawaiian interpretation of the Portuguese braguinha.

Hawaii’s most famous musical instrument produces big tone and sweet sound. Ukuleles usually come in 4 sizes: Soprano (or what Hawaiians refer to as Standard size), Concert, Tenor , and Baritone. The Solid Body Cutaway is a more recent innovation.

Ukuleles are typically made of wood, although there are some models made of plastic or a composite of plastic and wood. Expensive models are made from hardwood (e.g.mahogany, kulawood, spruce, and sequoia), the most expensive of which are made from koa tree.

A typical ukulele has a figure 8 shape like that of a small acoustic guitar. There are also other interesting shape variations such as oval (called pineapple ukulele), boat paddle, and square (usually made from an old wooden cigar box).


Ukulele was brought to the Hawaiians by Portuguese immigrants. To celebrate their arrival on August 23, 1879, Joao Fernandes played Portuguese folk songs on the wharf using a braguinha borrowed from a friend. Hawaiians who witnessed him on the dock where so impressed not only with his music, but also with the speed of his fingers: it seemed like they danced across the fingerboard. Hence, they called the instrument “ukulele,” meaning “jumping flea.”

(Queen Lili’uokalani, the last monarch of Hawaii, gave a different version to the origins of “ukulele”. She thought ukulele meant “the gift that came here,” from uku meaning “the gift” and lele meaning “to come.”)

There were 419 immigrants aboard the ship Ravenscrag, but three people would be the first to establish ukulele shops. They were Manuel Nunes, Augustine Dias, and Joao Fernandes.

Within 10 years after the arrival of the Portuguese, the ukulele became Hawaii’s most popular instrument. It is said that Joao Fernandes was a key behind this, as he spent a lot of time playing around Honolulu with his instrument.

Ukelele: A royal endorsement

It was also from Fernandes that King Kalakaua first heard

the music from the ukulele, but he learned to play it from Augusto Diaz. He encouraged that it was played during royal gatherings. A patron of arts,  King Kalakaua’s enthusiasm over ukulele made it more acceptable to people of Hawaii. It was played by Hawaiian from all walks of life— from taro farmers to fishermen to royalties. Other royalties who learned how to play included Queen Emma, Queen Lili’uokalani, Prince Leleihoku, and Princess Likelike.

In 1915, ukulele’s popularity moved to the mainland beginning in San Francisco during the Panama Pacific International Exposition. As a result, ukulele sales increased. In addition to its sweet sound,

The King of the Blues

A man who married twice, had fifteen children and supported them all, became a mega star of his genre yet still, by all accounts is a pleasant and extraordinarily modest man. Mick Brown of the Telegraph described him as a ‘kind man in an unkind business’. The world knows him as B.B. King. B.B. King was born, like many blues legends, in Mississippi, specifically near the town of Ita Bena, where he grew up cared for by his grandmother. His first job was picking cotton in the fields for the princely sum of 35 cents per hundred, but he realised that skill would get him more money and at 16 progressed to tractor driver. The wage? $22 a week.

Riley B King (his actual name) also sang in the church choir, and so at weekends he supplemented his income by playing guitar and singing on street corners. It didn’t take long to realise that he made more money singing blues than anything else, and so his career began. After some time in the army Riley moved to Memphis in 1948 and got a job making fuel tanks. He composed a jingle for Pepticon health tonic, the sponsor of a radio show on station WDIA, and found himself with a regular radio spot where he used the name the ‘Beale Street Blues Boy’ later shortened to B.B.

From 1949 onwards he made records and performed, but despite achieving a degree of fame his records earned him very little. He gradually built a band (the B.B. King Review) and travelled in a bus known as ‘big red’ all over the USA. In 1956 he played 342 one night stands. In 1958 ‘big red’ collided with a gas truck and was completely destroyed by fire. Unfortunately the insurance had expired that weekend, leaving him with over 100,000 in debts, a sum which took many years to pay off.

Black audiences began to turn away from the blues in the late fifties and as his fans aged his audience began to dwindle, but his album ‘Live At the Regal’ was well received on both sides of the Atlantic and he found new fame amongst rock fans. In 1967 he performed for his first white audience in San Fransciso and a short while after his fortunes began to improve dramatically when he hired his erstwhile accountant, Sid Seidenberg, to be his manager. Under Seidenberg’s guidance he made his first TV appearance and later in 1969 opened 18 concerts for the Rolling Stones. Also in 1969 he recorded a blues song by Rick Darnell and Roy Hawkins called ‘The Thrill is Gone’ which earned him a Grammy award for Best Male R&B Vocal performance. His version of the song is number 183 in Rolling Stone magazines ‘500 greatest songs ever’.

Having learned to fly in 1965, BB King flew himself to many of his concerts in the USA, but in the 1970’s he began to tour the world and his fame grew. No more small clubs or jazz halls, he performed in large concert halls and travelled to Europe, Asia, Africa, South America and Australia. In 1988 he made ‘When Love Comes to Town’ with U2 and in 2000 made an album, Riding With The King, with Eric Clapton.

After fifty albums, fifteen Grammy awards, induction into the Blues Foundation, Rock and Roll and Songwriters Halls of fame, two honorary doctorates in Music and two presidential medals (1990 and 2006) no-one can deny BB Kings position as the King of the Blues, but his song goes on. His latest Grammy award was in 2008, for the album ‘One Kind Favor’.

Fashion History’s Bread

Just as the rings of a tree tell its age, fashion acts as that ring. Immediately seeing a particular style of fashion, you can, with most certainty, tell its age. Clothing has the ability to be an excellent indicator of time. When you turn on an episode of say, COPS, by examining the clothing and hairstyles you can almost immediately decipher the decade. The same can be said for when one is watching say a movie preview, is it a period piece? What era? All you need to do is look at the clothing and think back to your middle-school history class. Let us not forget to mention what intense and indelible effect clothing has on culture and society. The first thing we see has a tendency to say a lot about who we are as people, as well as a society as a whole. In the beginning clothing was about protection and heat regulation. There are so many theories as to why homo-sapiens (man) began to loose the hair covering their bodies. Perhaps no one wanted lice living on them and eating them alive. Whatever the reason, the shift has shaped culture, questioning what may be acceptable and challenging that which is not acceptable, in addition to its primary purpose of shelter for the body.

Marie Antoinette, a woman famous for her fashion sense and ability to create trends, indulged her passion for fashion. While prominent heads of state lived off the yearly wage of 50,000 livres, Antoinette spend double that, around 100,000 livres on her wardrobe alone every year. Although well known for her high style, she kept some of her more extravagant spending a secret from the King. Antoinette not only set trends and presented new ways to express oneself through fashion it may have been a secondary function to her spending. Antoinette was unable to bear children, frustrated and childless, she kept tails waging with her wild wigs and costuming, diverting attention from the fact that she could not produce an heir.

The period of 1911 to around 1925 saw a lot of change in the way of women’s rights as well as women’s hemlines. The social upheaval that occurred as a result of World War I created a shift in the economy, which also created a shift in society’s role for women. As men went off to war, women were left behind to rear the children, tend the home, and now more than ever bring home the bacon. After the war, the Age of Jazz was ushered in, an era when prohibition looms large and styles changed dramatically, creating quite the controversy in the streets. In 1910 the hemlines were ankle-length; in 1919 they hiked up to the mid-calf and finally by 1925 hemlines were all the way up to the knee. In the span of 15 years, men and women were exposed to more feminine flesh than previously experienced in history. As women fought for their rights, they also questioned what society told them to wear and how to dress. If they had to take on both role of mother and father, they had better wear whatever makes them feel good.

Since its conception, the movie industry wanted to uphold the values and morals of the time. In 1922 the industry created the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA), headed by the former postmaster Will H. Hays. Later nicknamed the “Hays Office,” was all about upholding the standards of society, which decent people valued, e.g., regulating what was acceptable to be seen in regards to violence, sex, hemlines and necklines. For a while it was a great self-governing system solution for the motion picture industry, though in the 1940s with WWII, saw a weakening in its governing strength. Independent movie producers like Howard Hughes created films such as “The Outlaw,” a 1943 western, starring Jane Russell that chipped away at the compliance of the board. Considered too sexual and provocative, Hughes cut many scenes, raised necklines, and later was granted a seal approval from the “Hayes Office,” but disgruntled by all the editing, Hughes shelved the project until 1946. In 1946 Hughes, in a strong act of defiance, released his film without any edits and experienced widespread mainstream success despite the board’s obvious disapproval. Finally, in the 1950s the board was disbanded and the ratings system we now have in place started to come to fruition.

During and after the sexual revolution, society saw severe shifts in the styles seen in the streets. Though in the beginning of the 1960s only the hippies were wearing and doing radical practices. As the decade went on, it was more about a self-made expression of social defiance. Hippies wore less clothing, louder styles and even created garments of their own design as an answer to war, hate, ignorance and the values of regimented society. The clothing embraced by the hippie community reflected influences of eastern philosophy, psychedelic rock music, drug experimentation and all other forms of alternative consciousness. It shocked suburbia and shifted the acceptable standards of dress, no longer would women have to leave the house with set hair, a full face of makeup, gloves a coat and of course a hat. After the 1960s women and men have enjoyed much more freedom of expression in personal style. Maybe we were all just happy that some people put their clothes back on, no matter what those clothes might be.

The 1990s were another decade enjoying a new sense of identity, courtesy of the fashion world. Widespread economic productivity, a new way to communicate via the internet and a clear shift in gender roles in industrialized countries worldwide all lent to fashion’s mainstream appeal. Instead of actors and actresses on our magazine covers, it was the faces of Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, Claudia Schiffer, Stephanie Seymour, Naomi Campbell, and Christy Turlington. High fashion’s heavy influence during this decade was certainly a bi-product of increased economic productivity. We started to watch runway shows on cable every Saturday morning, we wanted models in our gossip mags, and we defiantly needed their wardrobes. These big supermodels crossed all mainstream borders, appearing on the runways, as contract faces for the major labels, on TV and even in film. If not for these major crossovers, where would we be today? We would be without our Cameron Diaz’ and Charlize Theron’, both former models who have crossed the lines and influenced what we want to emulate in fashion.

Music Therapy for Body

Music therapy is one of several healing art forms that is progressively gaining prominence and a place among complementary mind, body, spirit therapies offered in hospitals in the United States. Music as a healing art has been around for eons and now there are research reports that document its effectiveness and benefits.

“Music and History”

Music has been a part of cultures and societies throughout history. It may have been in the form of drumming, chanting, toning and musical. Shamans, medicine woman and man, tribal sweat lodge singings, initiation ceremonies and funerals used music to promote healing and a smooth transition after life.


It is, without a doubt, a beautiful, melodic form of therapy that can reduce stress and anxiety, relieve pain, lift depression and produce feelings of happiness. Music is energy and produces a flowing of inappropriate (negative effect) energy within the body, outward from the body (positive) resulting in restoration of balance and harmony.

Sound waves are produced by music and they are processed in many areas of the brain which then influences the condition of the body. Thereby, bringing harmony to the body, mind, spirit and the emotions. Research has demonstrated the beneficial effects on a person’s blood pressure, muscle tension and respiratory rate.

Categories of music include:

1. Big Band-Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman
2. Jazz-John Coltrane, Miles Davis
3. Blues-B. B. King, John L. Hooker
4. Ambient/New Age-Brian Eno, Halpern
5. Baroque-Bach, Handel
6. Classical-Beethoven, Mozart

Listening to music one hour a day can improve learning, promote clarity of values, personal intent and creativity.

Harp music (harp therapy) has been used to reduce pain, anxiety and promote relaxation.

Music has the ability, according to various studies and lived experiences, to increase dopamine levels. Dopamine, a neurotransmitter, is released when there are rewards and pleasures such as music, food, sex and drugs. It is a ‘feel good’ substance, a motivator. Music for healing is pleasurable experience. The pleasure of music can distract a person from feelings of pain, lower blood pressure and reduce depression.

What Musicians Have Made Gibsons Popular

It’s not surprising that one of the best guitar makers of all times have countless guitar players voluntarily endorse their brand. The word “Gibson” evokes the images of a legendary performance in nearly any type of setting. They are coveted guitars by all players of all skill sets, from the very bottom to the very top. Whether it’s the abundance of concerts or famous recordings, many of the notes that made music history were played on Gibson guitars by innumerable legends from various genres.

Blues legend Robert Johnson famously plucked a Gibson. Though his career output was limited to fewer than forty songs, he vastly influenced the many American and British players of the sixties and beyond, most notably Eric Clapton. He’s possibly one of the reasons slide and finger-picking blues is so associated on Gibson. The image of Johnson nattily dressed up in suit and fedora smoking a cigarette while holding his Gibson in his lap is etched in the minds of all guitar players. Other legends include none other than B. B. King, Jeff Beck, and Muddy Waters!

The folk singers and songwriters utilizing Gibson’s catalogue was no less impressive. The demi-god of folk Bob Dylan played a variety of models all throughout his career. Before him were the Guthrie’s, Arlo and Woody. Earl Scruggs and Bill Monroe played on Gibson Banjos and mandolins respectively, testifying to the companies’ wide-ranging prowess. Sheryl Crow uses Gibsons now, as did George Harrison and Paul McCartney of Beatles fame.

There’s no shortage of jazz leaders who bopped on Gibsons: Joe Pass, Barney Kessel, Grant Green, and Wes Montgomery. The Gibson arch-top is iconic for jazz players and fans alike. They expect to still see it in the clubs and to hear it on new and old records. They were the first company to perfect the arch-top, and for years it was miles ahead of any other. It likely still is, and playing on the new and old ones is a real treat-as is listening!

But perhaps Gibson is best known for their Les Paul-a guitar made and played by its namesake and a long list of guitar heroes: a brief summary can include: Keith Richards, Slash, the Edge, Jimmy Page, Paul Stanley, and Neil Young. These guitars possess a crunch that is somehow at once polished and raw, mellow and yet dirty. It’s hard to imagine a guitar that can be said to be the quintessential emblem of electric blues, heavy metal, and lighter more popular forms of rock, but this is a rare quality found in the Les Paul. An idea of its range can be understood by considering Gibson furnished players from AC/DC’s Angus Young to Bob Marley.

Music Healing Therapy

In ancient Greece, Apollo was the god of both music and medicine. In the Old Testament, poetry attributed to King David is considered some of the most provocative literary and lyrical works in history. It is undeniable that music and healing have been considered mutually inclusive over the centuries. Lani Star, internationally known for her music performance as well as her philosophy on the healing power of music within every individual. She uses Hawaiian musical wisdom, Eastern yogic sound patterns, and angelic chants to enhance the self – the mind, body, and spirit – and inspire success. For Lani Star, music is an expression of the soul, and the way to tap into vocal or musical beauty is to tend to the soul. In turn, tending to the voice can improve the soul. Lani Star’s musical specialty is New Age and mystic jazz, and she makes it a point to spread the healing power of music.

Lani Star states, “A singer must reach within, connecting heart and voice, to produce a powerful resonance that can move their audience to tears. This same power can be used in all areas of life – and not just by professional musicians.” With the power that comes from music, an individual who uses music for healing can manifest the internal self-development in the rest of their life – in their work, their relationships, their hobbies, their friendships. You don’t have to be a musician at a professional level. You don’t even have to be good. Music doesn’t have to have an audience beyond oneself. Even so, any audience will appreciate the emotional intensity and sincerity as much as or more than the musicality. It is said that an audience will forgive a missed note – they will not forgive an inauthentic performance.

The author of The Mozart Effect, Don Campbell, said that music, even when it’s calm and peaceful, still vibrates with energy and power. When singing, that energy and power comes from deep within your body, and what you bring to it is what comes out, intensified.

Lani Star’s advice for those who wish to achieve self-healing with music is to attend to your health as you’re learning your craft. Your body needs to be nourished in order to protect your voice, and your mind needs to be nourished for the emotional purity of performance. A good diet and lots of water is clinically proven to enhance your mood, and it’s also good for your voice. Lani Star also believes that things you sing or say uplift your mood and your spirit, so it is good for you to listen and sing positive and reinforcing music. Not only does it help you, but it improves the mood of your audience. Songwriting can also be a vehicle for expressing your emotions, getting the poison out of you and transforming it into a piece of art. Singing can be a method of meditation, and it has a calming and peaceful effect, just as meditation helps maintain your mental and spiritual balance.