Posted inMusic

Remembering the Big Boss Lady

“I’m the mother and the grandmother of the blues,” Johnnie Mae Dunson declared in a 2005 interview with the Chicago Tribune, and I won’t argue. “When I first started playing in Chicago, in the ’40s, people said ugly things about a woman who plays the blues,” she recalled. “They said, ‘She must not be a […]

Posted inMusic

The Reader’s guide to World Music Festival Chicago 2022

The term “world music” has never been adequate to the task we’ve set it—even in its most benign reading, it implies a division between the listener and the rest of the world. And if that listener is in the United States, our country’s global hegemony in popular music colors the term’s meaning too.  Americans don’t […]

Posted inMusic

Boogie-woogie 2, pandemic 0

We won’t know the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic for many years, not least because they haven’t stopped piling up. Bodily sickness, mental illness, financial loss—everyone seems to have been afflicted differently, and the effects on our medical, political, social, and economic systems compound those individual misfortunes. New variants, vaccine updates, and long COVID are […]