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Blues as an Authentic Performance

Speaking about authenticity, one means something genuine, supported by historical factors or traditions. Blues is a shining example of authenticity: their origin is associated with a certain historical period and territory. It is African American folk music inspired by workers’ living conditions and natural phenomena such as flooding. A specific example would be Furry Lewis or J. D. Short, some of the first blues musicians for whom the blues was the answer and reflection of their lives (Charters, 2019). It formulates the authenticity of the blues, namely, its belonging to a specific historical place and period.

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The Mississippi Delta is believed to be the home of the blues, a swampy area in northwestern Mississippi. This place gave birth to the first blues style, namely delta blues. The name delta is characterized by historical and cultural aspects rather than geographical ones. It is the place where thousands of workers, after draining swamps and clearing forests, grew cotton. Difficult conditions inspired the workers; it is not said in vain that a young guy cannot sing the blues (Charters, 2019). Thus, blues is more of an example of cultural authenticity, as blues musicians were members of a specific culture. The characteristic lifestyle of the blues musicians of that time was a meager income, hard work, and a vagrant lifestyle.

Blues can be considered authentic post-migration, as the Great Migration influenced the territorial development of this genre. Thus, urbanization has affected the southern African American territories, forcing the blues community to move to America. As a result, one may notice that the authenticity of the blues is manifested not only in temporal and geographic dimensions. One may observe some processes in history that influenced the territorial development of the blues and its poetics. Moreover, specific historical conditions (hard work) and environmental conditions (wilderness, flooding) were the basis for the birth of the blues.


Charters, S. (2019). The poetry of the blues. Courier Dover Publications.

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