Monday, June 15, 2020

Black lives matter - and they created the Blues

Black lives matter. Not that other lives don't matter - but in America, black lives are much more in danger , that's why this obvious truth needs to be stated. That is why  millions of African Americans - and many others - have finally reached the point where they cannot be silent anymore, and are protesting the racism that is such an ingrained part of American culture .
I am eternally grateful  to all the wonderful  African American Blues  musicians who taught me the Blues and who accepted me as a friend: "King" Earnest Baker, Zora Young, Deitra Farr, Joe Louis Walker, Lucky Peterson, Tamara Peterson, Bernard Allison, Jimmy Johnson, Billy Branch, Charlie Sayles, Phil Wiggins, among others. I am eternally indebted to Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, BB King, Bobby Bland, Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson, Robert Johnson, Fred McDowell, Walter Horton, Buddy Guy , Junior Wells and so many other giants who created the music I love. Without them my art would not exist.  I do my best to master the craft, to play  the music the right way, to honor the roots and origins of this amazing music. But I will never know how it feels to live in their skin, to live under segregation, and often violent persecution . My friend, the great Jewish-born harmonica player Matthew Skoller came to Chicago as a young man to learn the Blues was taken under the wing of older Blues masters such as Carey Bell. He calls himself a "Blues immigrant" - he says he wasn't born in the Blues, but is trying to make it his home, to become part of it.  As for me , trying to play this music in Israel - I believe my mission is to point the spotlight at my musical heroes, and their current heirs, and to celebrate the incredible art that was created by such a brutal reality.
So keep listening to BB, Muddy and the Wolf - and to Lurrie Bell, Gary Clark Jr, and Billy Branch - and if you come see me play, I promise to play some good Blues for you!

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