Ma Rainey Research Paper

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Blues music has primarily been thought of as a “mans world”. Some of the greatest blues musicians we remember to this day are Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Lead Belly, and so on: all men. Where are all of these women that are feeling the blues, as well? There were several women that defined the blues era in the 1920’s who disputed the constraints of domesticity and embraced the sexual pleasure their male counterparts reveled in. One particular singer that broke the gendered barriers of blues in the 1920’s was Gertrude Pridgett, also known as, Ma Rainey. A force of power exuded from her as she performed, and even was said to have influenced Bessie Smith, another great female blues singer. They don’t call her the “Mother of the Blues”…show more content…
Rainey was born in Georgia (this has been widely disputed) in the early 19th century and quickly fell into the performing life. She and her husband formed the act, “Rainey and Rainey, Assassinators of the Blues” which garnered a great deal of attention for the duo, especially Ma Rainey ( After the demise of the act, and subsequently her marriage, she went on to record for Paramount Records, as the demand for black musicians was very high at the time. Here, she could showcase to a larger audience her talents and use her years of experience in performing to her advantage. She accumulated more interest to the Ma Rainey name and as a powerhouse singer. She even was the first performer to integrate “country blues” into her own style, something that a lot of her male peers had yet to explore. ( To go even further than that, she claimed that she invented the “blues” name ( More than 100 recordings later, Rainey had perfected the trademark blues sound she had been fostering, with “moans often replac[ing] lyrics”, with her “deep, gravelly contralto voice” sending “her entirely black audiences [to] respond enthusiastically”. ( At the height of her career, she was one of the most sought out and popular blues singers, men

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