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Rideau High School Calendar

Black History Month Music Project

  • For Black History Month, Mr. Swandel will be posting every school day about an important person in the history of black music. Check it out and learn about the roots of a lot of music you listen to.
  • James Brown

    James Brown - Papa's Got A Brand New Bag

    It would be hard to pick one person who had more of an influence on music in the second half of the 20th century than James Brown. He invented Funk with his hit song "Papa's Gotta Brand New Bag" in 1965. James Brown flipped the beat. Traditionally music emphasizes the second beat in the measure: one, TWO, one TWO... James Brown put the emphasis on on the first beat, or the down beat: ONE, two, ONE, two... This created a groove that is irresistible to dance to. 

    This led to his other great influence on music: There would be no Hip Hop with out James Brown. Not only is he probably the most sampled artist  in Hip Hop (sampled over 5800 times according to whosampled.com) but he invented the word rapping and would often talk in rhyme over his songs. 

    He also was tremendous influence on dance. His shows were extravaganzas with him thrilling the audience with splits, spins, and slides that mesmerized the crowd. He was a major influence on Michael Jackson and there is some debate if he was the originator of the Moon Walk or Michael.

    Probably the most sampled piece of James Brown's music is the song "Funky Drummer". You can hear the drum beat (played by James Brown's Drummer Clyde Stubblefield) from this song sampled in over 1,000 songs. Check out the two videos below. The one on the left is the song "Funky Drummer" the drum break comes in at about the 5:30 mark. The song on the right is Momma Said Know You Out by LL Cool J. The beat is sampled through the whole song.

    James Brown - Funky Drummer


    LL Cool J - Momma Said Knock You Out


    Posted Feb 8, 2016, 12:29 PM by Richard Swandel
  • The Birth of Rock n Roll

    Ike Turner - Rocket 88

    Ike Turner - "Rocket 88"
    Rock n Roll was born out of the mixing of black R&B and white Country music. There were a few musicians in the late 40s and early 50s who were playing with rhythms and melodies that were almost Rock n Roll. Hank Williams on the white Country side of music had a few songs that sound close to Rock n Roll. Louis Jordan on the the black R&B side also had some songs that almost caught the rhythm. There are a few contenders the first Rock n Roll song but many scholars point to Ike Turner and The Kings of Rhythm and their song "Rocket 88" as the first Rock n Roll song. It is hard to pin point one recording but this is a pretty good pick if you had to pick one. 

    Chuck Berry
    Early Rock n Roll usually was artists taking previously recorded country or R&B tunes and playing them in a Rock n Roll style. Chuck Berry was the first artist to write songs for Rock n Roll. He wasn't taking older songs and doing them in the style of Rock n Roll. They were written to rock from the start. He also is one of the key guitarists in the history of Rock n Roll. His lead guitar solos helped define the sound of Rock n Roll  for years to come. You can hear the Beatles and The Rolling Stones copying his style on their recordings  in the 60s. Chuck Berry was as big as Elvis in the 1950s and it scared a lot of people to have young white kids dancing to this black man's music. The young kids didn't care. They just wanted to dance. Rock n Roll was an important factor in breaking down racial barriers, but it was often a struggle for black artists like Chuck Berry, or Bo Diddley. They watched white artists like Elvis Presley become massive stars while they struggled and often were forced to sign bad record deal. Still, their music shaped what we all listen to today.

    Chuck Berry - Johnny B. Goode

    Posted Feb 5, 2016, 11:46 AM by Richard Swandel
  • Billie Holiday
    There have been several talented, important female singers of Jazz, but few had the emotional, vulnerable, and enigmatic quality of Billie Holiday. Billie Holiday had a hard life. She struggled through poverty, abuse, prostitution, and drug addiction. All of that pain can be heard when she sings. 

    The song Strange Fruit is an important song in African American History. It is about the racism in the United States and the public lynchings that were not uncommon in the southern United States in the 1920s and 30s. It was written by Abel Meeropol, a teacher, in 1937 and recorded by Billie Holiday in 1939. Rarely has a song and a singer been so well matched. Billie Holiday's vulnerable emotion brings out the sadness and pain of such racism. Listen to the song and follow along with the lyrics.

    Strange Fruit
    Written by Abel Meeropol

    Billie Holiday - Strange Fruit

    Southern trees bear a strange fruit, 
    Blood on the leaves and blood at the root, 
    Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze, 
    Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

    Pastoral scene of the gallant south, 
    The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth, 
    Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh, 
    Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.

    Here is fruit for the crows to pluck, 
    For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck, 
    For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop, 
    Here is a strange and bitter crop.

    Posted Feb 4, 2016, 10:55 AM by Richard Swandel
Showing posts 1 - 3 of 6. View more »

Summatives are coming

posted May 13, 2015, 8:16 AM by Richard Swandel   [ updated May 13, 2015, 8:24 AM ]

It is that time of year when you will be working on your summatives. Don't hesitate to ask Mr. Swandel for help with the databases, encyclopedias, how to cite your sources, or create your final product. The library is your hub for everything to do with summatives and Mr. Swandel is there to help. If you are having a hard time finding information on your topic, then come and speak to him. He will help you find quality information.

Keep learning 

-The Library

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