Blues music arrived in America in August of 1619. Its unwitting transport was a Dutch man-of-war whose cargo consisted, in part, of 17 black men and 3 black women who were sold into “indentured servitude” to the English colonists of Jamestown, Virginia. By the onset of the American Civil War in 1861, the insatiable demand for cheap labour had swelled the number of blacks in America to 4.5 million, the vast majority of them slaves.
Wrenching people from their families and homes in West Africa and forcing them on a harrowing trans-Atlantic voyage was one thing. Separating them from centuries of acquired culture passed down orally through successive generations was quite another matter.
Music was the voice of that culture. Performed by storytellers called griots who accompanied themselves on stringed and percussion instruments, it spoke about everyday life and tribal folklore.
In a cruel twist, even after Abraham Lincoln’s
There have been many incredible perfomances at past Thunder Bay Blues Festivals! With amazing performances and plenty of activities for the whole family, it has always been an event not to be forgotten! Check out our photo galleries and caricatures: