Sister Rosetta Tharpe: The Queen of Rock 'n' Roll

June is African American Music Appreciation Month. I had no idea this was a thing. Is that shame on me? Either way, when you know better, you do better. I mentioned this statement in a previous blog post when I came across some new information on the "Tibetan singing bowls." 

Anyway, this post is dedicated to Black music and our significant contributions to the industry. The month was pinned in 1979 by President Jimmy Carter. President Barack Obama said that African American music helped the country "to dance, to express our faith through song, to march against injustice, and to defend our country's enduring promise of freedom and opportunity for all." I conquer with this statement, but I would extend and say the world has been enhanced because of Black music. 


Now that I am aware of this information, I will try to highlight a forgotten or a hidden figure in history for this month. This should be fun since I love music! I love music so much that I got music notes and tattooed on me( I was young and a rebel). Despite the young age of ignorance when it came to my tattoo, I was very connected to music and still am. Check out my top four ways to enhance your music experience below. 

Now let's get into this hidden figure, 

Today, we focus on Sister Rosetta Tharpe (1915-1973), the female version of James Brown. She came before Elvis and Little Richard, and she was a badass on the guitar; I honestly couldn't say it any other way. Her sound was unique for the 1940s. Tharpe combined gospel and rock ‘n’ roll creating her space in the industry. Check out the clip of her playing the electric guitar to a gospel song (Skip to 1:26). Tharpe played at many clubs along the east coast during the prohibition era. Check out this NPR article that gives more detail on her life and contributions to the industry. 

As promised, here are four ways to enhance your music experience: 
  1. Invest in good headphones and speakers so that you can blast those tunes as hard you want. Blast the music so loud that you can feel vibrations. Your neighbors will love you, trust me. (Just kidding on the neighbors part.)
  2. Move your body while listening to your tunes. I mentioned this tip in my "Benefits of Getting Dressed Up" blog post. Moving while listening to your body allows you to connect better since music is motion. 
  3. Find a musical rhythm in the song and mock it out loud. Find the sound of the drums repeating or the chime of the symbol. Following the pattern out-loud draws you in deeper to the little pieces that make the song a masterpiece. 
  4. Broaden your collection and expose yourself to different genres. Folks get super surprised when I recite a rap from beginning to end. Rap music speaks to my inner gangster, while José Maurício Nunes Garcia and the classical composer speak to my symphonic mood.  


So, the next time you're jamming to Sister Rosetta, Drake, or Shania Twain, use these tips to really tune in. Let the music flow through every part of your body. 

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