[Harp-L] Harvard Online: History of Blues in America

Dear List Moderator:

Your discussion group may find this course of interest.

Thank you. 

L. Cross

Harvard Online: Blues course honors backbone of American popular music

January 22, 2008

America's popular music derives its vitality, its form, and its emotional
power from the blues, according to historian and B. B. King biographer
Charles Sawyer. While the musical style was born in the Mississippi Delta
in the last decade of the 19th century, it wasn't until the 1960s that the
blues transcended racial barriers to change popular music profoundly and

Beginning January 29, the evolution of the blues is explored in the
Harvard Extension School course MUSI E-139 A History of Blues in America
with Charles Sawyer. Students, both on-campus and online, will benefit
from Sawyer's extensive musical knowledge and passion for the blues while
examining the history of the music in the context of social changes that
allowed "race" music to enter the mainstream. 

A History of Blues in America is more than your typical survey course.
While there are straight lectures on a few key basics, the course is in
effect a musical feast for blues lovers. Throughout the semester, students
listen to recorded blues music, watch film and video of historic blues
performances and figures, and enjoy visits from some of the leading blues
artists around the country. Musical guests play for the class and explain
how they formed their styles, what artists influenced them, and what the
music means to them.

Leading blues musicians and scholars visit the course regularly and have
included over the years Peter Guralnick, David Maxwell, Paul Rishell and
Annie Raines, Mark Naftalin, Toni Lynn Washington and Bruce Bears, Debbie
Davies, Peter Parcek, J. Geils, Kim Wilson, and B.B. King, not to mention
Sawyer's own band, "2120 South Michigan Avenue," featuring Sunny Crownover
and Peter "HiFi" Ward. 

MUSI E-139 A History of Blues in America is study of blues from 1900 to
the present, exploring the development of the unique voices of principal
instruments (guitar and harmonica) and the role of amplification in
establishing the defining style of blues. Major artists studied include
McKinley Morganfield (Muddy Waters), Chester Burnett (Howlin' Wolf),
Marion Walter Jacobs (Little Walter), Otis Spann, B. B. King, Paul
Butterfield, and Kim Wilson. The course website offers students a wealth
of resources including video and audio links, as well as an extensive
reading list.
The final class meeting of the spring 2007 A History of Blues in America?a
concert held in Harvard's Lowell Lecture Hall with blues guitarists J.
Geils and "Monster" Mike Welsh, and Sawyer's band, 2120 Michigan
Avenue?was videotaped to become part of the permanent collection posted on
Harvard@Home, a website devoted to presenting video clips of significant
events happening on the Harvard campus. The video presentation is a
tribute to B.B. King, "Blues is King," and is scheduled to go live in
spring 2008.

Registration for this course continues through February 3, with late
registration continuing through February 10. For further information visit

Video clip of past guest performer?Kim Wilson of the Fabulous
Thunderbirds: http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~musie139/kimwilson.mov 

Course website: http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~musie139/index.php

Charles Sawyer bio: http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~musie139/faculty.php

2120 Michigan Ave: http://home.comcast.net/~cherhoyt/2120.htm

Harvard at Home: http://athome.harvard.edu/

This archive was generated by a fusion of Pipermail 0.09 (Mailman edition) and MHonArc 2.6.8.