Celebrating Black Music Month

June is Black Music Month! Here are several titles to help you celebrate and appreciate black artists who have influenced the music industry.

Black Opera: History, Power, Engagement

Naomi Andre

Naomi André draws on the experiences of performers and audiences to explore this music’s resonance with today’s listeners. Interacting with creators and performers, as well as with the works themselves, André reveals how black opera unearths suppressed truths. These truths provoke complex, if uncomfortable, reconsideration of racial, gender, sexual, and other oppressive ideologies.



Spirituals and the Birth of a Black Entertainment Industry

Sandra Jean Graham

Sandra Jean Graham mines a trove of resources to chart the spiritual’s journey from the private lives of slaves to the concert stage. Graham navigates the conflicting agendas of those who, in adapting spirituals for their own ends, sold conceptions of racial identity to their patrons. In so doing they laid the foundation for a black entertainment industry whose artistic, financial, and cultural practices extended into the twentieth century.


Jazz Internationalism: Literary Afro-Modernism and the Cultural Politics of Black Music

John Lowney

Jazz Internationalism offers a bold reconsideration of jazz’s influence in Afro-modernist literature. Ranging from the New Negro Renaissance through the social movements of the 1960s, John Lowney articulates nothing less than a new history of Afro-modernist jazz writing. Jazz added immeasurably to the vocabulary for discussing radical internationalism and black modernism in leftist African  American literature.


Dizzy, Duke, Brother Ray, and Friends: On and Off the Record with Jazz Greats

Lilian Terry

Drawing on Terry’s long friendships and professional associations, Dizzy, Duke, Brother Ray, and Friends offers readers a rare opportunity to hear intimate conversations with some of the world’s greatest musical figures. The result is a collection of profiles, some stretching over a decade or more, that reveal these performers in ways that illuminate their humanity and expand our appreciation of their art.



Blue Rhythm Fantasy: Big Band Jazz Arranging in the Swing Era

John Wriggle

Behind the iconic jazz orchestras, vocalists, and stage productions of the Swing Era lay the talents of popular music’s unsung heroes: the arrangers. John Wriggle takes you behind the scenes of New York City’s vibrant entertainment industry of the 1930s and 1940s to uncover the lives and work of jazz arrangers, both black and white, who left an indelible mark on American music and culture.



The Street Is My Pulpit: Hip Hop and Christianity in Kenya

Mwenda Ntarangwi

Mwenda Ntarangwi explores the Kenyan hip hop scene through the lens of Juliani’s life and career. A born-again Christian, Juliani produces work highlighting the tensions between hip hop’s forceful self-expression and a pious approach to public life, even while contesting the basic presumptions of both. What emerges is an original contribution to the scholarship on hip hop’s global impact and a passionate study of the music’s role in shaping new ways of being Christian in Africa.


Harry T. Burleigh: From the Spiritual to the Harlem Renaissance

Jean E. Snyder

Harry T. Burleigh (1866-1949) played a leading role in American music and culture in the twentieth century. Celebrated for his arrangements of spirituals, Burleigh was also the first African American composer to create a significant body of art song. An international roster of opera and recital singers performed his works and praised them as among the best of their time.



Black Music Research Journal

Official Journal of the Center for Black Music Research

Begun in 1980, Black Music Research Journal is published in the spring and fall of each year and includes articles about the philosophy, aesthetics, history, and criticism of black music. BMRJ is edited by Gayle Murchison and is the official journal of the Center for Black Music Research and is available by subscription and as a benefit of membership with CBMR.

Articles in the latest issue: “Cien porciento tico tico”: Reggae, Belonging, and the Afro-Caribbean Ticos of Costa Rica”, by Sabia McCoy-Torres; Revisiting the Katanga Guitar Style(s) and Some Other Early African Guitar Idioms, by David Racanelli; Freedom Songs: Helping Black Activists, Black Residents, and White Volunteers Work Together in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, during the Summer of 1964, by Chris Goertzen Ragga Soca; and Burning the Moral Compass: An Analysis of “Hellfire” Lyrics in the Music of Bunji Garlin, by Meagan Sylvester.


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