(DONALDSONVILLE, LA) – The River Road African American Museum in co-sponsorship with the City of Donaldsonville [Louisiana] hosted blues artist and historian Chris Thomas King on October 7.
The event was held from 5:30 p.m. to sunset at the Rosenwald School building, located at 511 Williams Street. However, the event ran a little later than expected because the audience was interested in what King has to say about the history of Blues music.
Namely, King says that it was born in Louisiana, contrary to the perhaps more popular notion that blues music comes primarily out of Mississippi.
“The word ‘jazz’ has no meaning,” King said. “The word ‘blues’ is very powerful.”
King pointed to American bandleader King Oliver, born in Aben, LA. in 1881.
“When King Oliver’s Orchestra called their song ‘Dippermouth Blues,’ he was saying something. He wasn’t talking about Jazz,” King said.
King also pointed out that the origin of the Blues genre comes from the French expletive “Sacrebleu,” which translates into “damn it.” Blues music, which today in mainstream culture is often associated with sadness or gritty electric guitar, was never that to begin with.