BLACK MUSIC MATTERS
My father came from Duluth, Minnesota; Bob Dylan did too, before he was raised in Hibbing, Minnesota. So it’s a state I have a lot of good feelings for—at least I did, before this latest terrorist incident. Northern trees bear a “Strange Fruit” too.
Bystanders tried to save George Floyd’s life—begging and pleading with the four officers—including the one whose knee was crushing Mr. Floyd’s neck—all to no avail. So Phil Ochs’ stark cautionary tale “And I’m sure it wouldn’t interest anybody outside of a small circle of friends,” may no longer apply.
But another Phil Ochs song still rings true today: Cops of the World. It happened on Memorial Day—the lynching of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. His last words were “I can’t breathe–” before he cried out for his mother, who had been dead for two years.
Black Music Matters is therefore the theme of this column—to go along with Black Lives Matter, and all the protest marches that have taken place from sea to shining sea, and from the redwood forests to the gulfstream waters since Memorial Day. The range of this column includes concert, theatre, film, museum and CD reviews, feature articles, previous columns and obituaries —all of black musicians I have covered for FolkWorks, most recently this March, just before the lockdown.
Let me conclude by noting four of the iconic artists celebrated: Marian Anderson, Billie Holiday, Paul Robeson, and Lead Belly—the Mt. Rushmore of Folk Music.–>CLICK ON THE PICTURES BELOW TO READ THE HISTORICAL WRITINGS<-