Tuesday, January 28, 2003

year of the blues

On September 12, 2002, the United States Senate resolved that the period of time from February 1, 2003 to February 1, 2004 has been designated as the Year of the Blues:

Designating the year beginning February 1, 2003, as the `Year of the Blues'.

Whereas blues music is the most influential form of American roots music, with its impact heard around the world in rock and roll, jazz, rhythm and blues, country, and even classical music;

Whereas the blues is a national historic treasure, which needs to be preserved, studied, and documented for future generations;

Whereas the blues is an important documentation of African-American culture in the twentieth century;

Whereas the various forms of the blues document twentieth-century American history during the Great Depression and in the areas of race relations, pop culture, and the migration of the United States from a rural, agricultural society to an urban, industrialized Nation;

Whereas the blues is the most celebrated form of American roots music, with hundreds of festivals held and millions of new or reissued blues albums released each year in the United States;

Whereas the blues and blues musicians from the United States, whether old or new, male or female, are recognized and revered worldwide as unique and important ambassadors of the United States and its music;

Whereas it is important to educate the young people of the United States to understand that the music that they listen to today has its roots and traditions in the blues;

Whereas there are many living legends of the blues in the United States who need to be recognized and to have their story captured and preserved for future generations; and

Whereas the year 2003 is the centennial anniversary of when W.C. Handy, a classically-trained musician, heard the blues for the first time, in a train station in Mississippi, thus enabling him to compose the first blues music to distribute throughout the United States, which led to him being named `Father of the Blues': Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate--

(1) designates the year beginning February 1, 2003, as the `Year of the Blues'; and

(2) requests that the President issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe the `Year of the Blues' with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and educational programs.
More on some of the programs celebrating the Blues in the U.S., from the New York Sun.

While we will be celebrating the Blues in the United States, British musicians have their own blues to contend with. While there was some good news for them, in the announcement of a program to help unemployed musicians find work under a program called the New Deal for Musicians, there was also some bad news. A silent protest was held on Monday outside of Parliment by hundreds of gagged musicians over a licensing bill that may threaten to keep music out of British Pubs. Seems like a matter of giving with one hand, and taking away with the other.

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