Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Singing the blues


Robert Johnson,Elmore James and Albert King among others introduced me to a world of guitar licks and slides, harmonica bends and the powerful messages of a hardworking community of cotton pickers and slaves.It was the world of blues.

On a trip to the Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame museum, I was not taken aback. neither was I excited. What I was was I was blown away to the point of bawling my eyes out in the corner and I am not ashamed or embarrassed to say so. Walking into this place was more than just buy a t-shirt and saying I was there. It was seeing the music greats. Seeing the guitar Howlin Wolf played on and knowing his magical fingers touched that fret board  to churn out haunting music. 

Many Americans have asked me on my journey here what it is that I want to see and experience and one thing that I've constantly said is the fact that I want to experience some blues music. I want to see the greats (although I know I won't be able to do that since  most of them are dead). One particular response is"you listen to the blues?In Malaysia?". Yes I listen to the blues. I may not play a musical instrument, but i can appreciate good music when i hear it. 

Although it is not an overly large community of blues fans but there is a steady number of people and bands that not only play but enjoy and support the growth of blues music here (in Malaysia) with the ever popular Malaysian blues band 'Blues Gang' paving the way for other blues musicians in Malaysia to explore and expand akin to their American brothers except to sing about everyday life.

and when Muddy Waters cheekily sings Hoochie Coochie Man I will continue to swoon and remember the time I walked into the Rock and Roll museum and saw his guitar hanging on the wall. I will continue to be reminded of my roots and my heritage and be privileged to be the small town girl from Malaysia who made it to the United States and see the gift music greats have given the world - blues.

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