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Anne Elise Thomas

Egyptian composer, musician, and film star, was born in the early 1900s, either in Cairo or in the village of Abu Kibir, Sharqiya Province. There is confusion regarding both the date and the place of his birth. Two official identification cards in his possession listed his birth in 1910 but in the two different locations named above. ʿAbd al-Wahhab’s contemporaries have suggested that he was born sometime between 1896 and 1907 their suggestions are supported by reported incidents of his early musical life and encounters with important historical figures of the 1910s His early years were spent in the Bab al Shaʿrani quarter of Cairo where his father Muhammad Abu ʿIsa ʿAbd al Wahhab was shaykh religious scholar and caretaker of the neighborhood mosque ʿAbd al Wahhab was one of five children born to his father and Fatima Higazi his mother Early on ʿAbd al Wahhab was enrolled by ...

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Mussie Tesfagiorgis

Eritrean Tigrinya singer and performer, songwriter, instrument player, and music composer, was born in the city of Asmara. During the Eritrean war of liberation (1961–1991), Abraham Afewerki and his family, like hundreds of thousands of other Eritreans, sought refuge in Sudan.

Abraham Afewerki became attracted by music and musical instruments at an early age. As a young child, he started playing famfam harmonica and singing at school events As a young boy with great artistic potential he joined the Qeyyahti Embaba Red Flowers of the Eritrean People s Liberation Front EPLF at the age of twelve The Red Flowers was a cultural troupe composed of young artists who performed cultural and revolutionary music and theater within Eritrea in areas controlled by the EPLF and Sudan A branch of the troupe of which Abraham Afewerki was a member was active in Khartoum By writing and composing his own ...

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Jeremy Rich

Nigerian pioneer of juju and world music star, was born Sunday Adeniyi Adé in the southwestern Nigerian city of Ondo on 22 September 1946. His father was a Methodist pastor and the organist for his church, while his mother engaged in various trading enterprises. Through his maternal grandfather, who lived in the town of Akoure, near Ondo, Ade was of royal lineage. By the time he reached his adolescent years, Adé had moved with his family to the town of Oshobo. Although he completed primary school, Adé ended up dropping out of secondary school before completing his studies. His lack of financial resources cut short his formal education. He already had developed eclectic tastes in music through his childhood and adolescent experiences. Traditional Yoruba music featuring drums fascinated the young boy, as did the occasional use of drums at church. Adé remembered in a 2005 interview that when ...

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Norman Weinstein

Sunday Anthony Ishola Adeniyi Adegeye, known internationally to African music fans as King Sunny Ade, was raised in a home where Christian and Yoruba religious and cultural perspectives were thoroughly intermingled. Ade's father was a church organist. Ade attended missionary schools, then dropped out of college in the 1960s to pursue a career as a drummer in Juju bands. Juju, a form of Nigerian pop music first developed by Yoruba musicians in the 1920s, was just beginning to gain an international audience. Ade's chief musical inspiration was I. K. Dairo, though Ade's later song lyrics drew more inspiration from his Christian education.

The early 1970s marked the birth of Ade s reputation as an African superstar with an international audience Ade deviated from the Dairo legacy through a series of innovations He expanded the juju band lineup from a single electric guitarist to as many as six played with at ...

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Baqi<ayn>e Bedawi Muhammad

pioneer Sudanese woman singer and activist during the struggle for Sudanese independence and the first woman to perform on the radio in Sudan. Born in 1905 in Kassala City in the eastern region of Sudan, Ahmad was the eldest among her seven siblings, including three brothers and four sisters. Among them was a sister Jidawiyya who played a crucial role with Ahmad in their journey as female musicians. Ahmad’s family was originally from Nigeria and migrated to Sudan in the late nineteenth century as pilgrims on their way to the holy places in Saudi Arabia. Her father, Musa Ahmad Yahiyya, was from the Fulani-Sokoto ethnic group, while her mother, Hujra, was from Hausa. Ahmad’s nickname is Aisha al-Falatiyyia, a reference to her father’s ethnic group, the Fulani, or Fallata, as they are known in Sudan.

The documented history indicates that Sudan served as a crossroads to the holy places in ...

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Terza Silva Lima-Neves

singer and musician, was born Mayra Andrade on 13 February 1985 in Cuba. Her mother, Dina Curado, was Cuban, and her father, Carlos Andrade, was an official for the African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC), under the leadership of revolutionary leader Amilcar Cabral. Cape Verde, a small island nation with a population of five hundred thousand on the coast of Senegal, West Africa, gained its independence from Portugal in 5 July 1975. It is one of several former Portuguese colonies in Africa. The others include Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Angola, and São Tomé and Princípe.

Immediately after her birth in Cuba Mayra s parents traveled back to Cape Verde Mayra s parents separated while she was very young Mayra performed songs by famed Brazilian artist Caetano Veloso during family gatherings Veloso would later become her artistic inspiration She spent part of her childhood in the ...

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Joel Gordon

leading male vocalist of his generation in Egypt, composer and box- office sensation with a career spanning five decades, was born in Suwayda, a village in the Druze stronghold of Southern Syria. He was the eldest child of Fahd al-Atrash, an Ottoman official related to the leading Druze princely clan and Alia al-Mundhir, a Druze from Beirut. At the end of World War I, Fahd al-Atrash was posted in the Turkish district of Demirci. Fearing arrest, he fled with his family to Beirut; on the sea passage from Izmir, Alia gave birth to a daughter, Amal, whose fame as the musical artist Asmahan would equal, if not surpass, her older brother’s.

In 1923 against her husband s will Alia took her children to Damascus and then to Cairo She fled the violence that had followed the bombardment of the Druze stronghold in response to an attack on French forces ...

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SaFiya D. Hoskins

musician and actress, was born Erica Abi Wright in Dallas, Texas, the eldest of three children born to Kolleen Maria Gipson and William Wright Jr. Young Erica's mother worked as a theatrical performer while her maternal grandmother helped to raise the Wright children. Eevin, her brother, was the youngest sibling. The Wright daughters, like their mother, embraced the arts: Koryan, her younger sister, was a singer who would later perform background for Erica under the stage name Nayrok Udab.

At the young age of four, Erica was already exhibiting theatrical and artistic tendencies and began singing and dancing with her mother at the Dallas Theater Center. She was in first grade when her appearance in a Christmas play inspired her early desire to perform onstage. Erica was introduced by her mother to a diverse array of artists who influenced her musical palate, such as Ella Fitzgerald Pink Floyd ...

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Allison Kellar

actor, singer, and philanthropist, was born Etta Moten in Weimar, Texas, the only daughter of Reverend Freeman F. Moten and Ida Norman Moten. The ten-year-old Etta took an active part in church, singing in the choral group and instructing Sunday-school lessons. Standing on a makeshift step stool, in order to be at the same height level as the rest of the choir, she shared her voice with the congregation.

After high school Barnett wedded Lieutenant Curtis Brooks During their seven year marriage she had four children one of whom died at birth Following in the footsteps of her college educated parents she attended the University of Kansas in the 1920s however in order to receive her education Barnett had to sacrifice her conventional family life She divorced her husband and left her three daughters under her parents supervision while she attended school On weekends she cared ...

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Jeremy Rich

singer, was born Marie-Claire Mboyo Moseka on 14 August 1959 in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. She attended primary school in Kinshasa, but information about her family life and childhood is limited. Bel did have one famous relative: her aunt Lucie Eyenga, who had been a singing sensation in the Congo in the 1950s. Like so many other Congolese youth of her generation, Bel became a fan of the Congolese music scene that flourished in the 1970s. The grace and moving voice of the Togolese singer Bella Bellow made a deep impression on Bel as well. Rather than complete her secondary education, Bel decided to start her own career in entertainment in 1976 Bel became a dancer with the Les Redoubtables group of star female singer Abeti Masikini in the same year Masikini liked Bel s voice and soon Bel was one of ...

Article

Theresa W. Bennett-Wilkes

singer, actor, activist, and humanitarian. Harold George Belafonte was born in New York City to Harold George Belafonte Sr., a native of Martinique, and Melvine Love Belafonte, who was from Jamaica. Melvine Belafonte moved her family back to Jamaica in 1935 after rioting broke out in Harlem. Young Harry lived in the Blue Mountains, Saint Anne's Bay, and Kingston before returning to Harlem in 1940. Belafonte, who suffered from dyslexia, dropped out of school in the ninth grade and joined the U.S. Navy in 1944.

The seeds of Belafonte s humanitarian social and political activism began to bloom during his military service His experiences performing the servile jobs assigned to enlisted blacks were eye opening His stint on active duty further shaped his views on freedom and eventually found expression in his music and his causes While in the navy he met a group ...

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Jeremy Rich

Togolese singer, was born Georgette Adjoavi Bellow in the town of Tsévié, near the Togolese capital of Lomé, on 1 January 1945. Her parents were both from immigrant families, as her father’s family had come from Nigeria and her mother’s family had come from Ghana. Bellow was one of seven children and the eldest daughter. Even when she was very young, her strong vocal skills drew attention. Bellow soon was called on to perform in various cultural and artistic events in her hometown. By 1950, she had moved to Lomé to attend primary school at the Catholic Notre Dame des Apôtres school. She finished her secondary education by passing her baccalaureate examinations in 1966 after having attending the Lycée Sokodé in central Togo and the Lycée Bonnecarrière in Lomé Like so many young female singers of the 1960s Bellow was deeply influenced by the legendary South African ...

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Jeremy Rich

musician, popularly known as Pamelo Mounk’a, was born on 5 May 1945 in the village of Mana in the former French colony of Congo-Brazzaville (now the Republic of the Congo). His mother was Joséphine Lubelo and his father was Bingui. He completed primary school but became so enthralled with the Brazzaville and Kinshasa music scenes that he quit secondary school in his third year. Rather than continue his education, Bemba moved across the Congo River to Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where he was determined to follow in the footsteps of his heroes, Congolese singer Tabu Ley and Joseph Kabasélé. The young man loved Latin rhythms. Bemba briefly performed with the CDJE group in the Poto-Poto neighborhood of Brazzaville. One of Bemba's brothers set up a meeting between Bemba and Ley in 1963 The established singer heard three songs by Bemba then calling himself ...

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Christopher Dunn

Born in Rio de Janiero, Jorge Duílio Lima Menezes began his music career in the early 1960s using the stage name Jorge Ben, taken from the surname of his Ethiopian mother, who gave him his first guitar. He divided his energies between rock and roll and bossa nova, the sophisticated new style based on Samba rhythms and Jazz harmonies. In 1963 he recorded his first LP album, Samba Esquema Novo, followed by Sacudim Ben Samba and Ben é Samba Bom in 1964. He scored an international hit with “Mas que nada,” which inspired versions by Sérgio Mendes, South African diva Miriam Makeba, and Hugh Masekela.

In the late 1960s his music was embraced by the innovative tropicalist movement led by Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso who celebrated his electric fusions of international black popular music while others criticized him for deviating from authentic Brazilian ...

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Jeremy Rich

musician, was born in the city of Mbandaka, located on the Congo River in the what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). His mother, Jeanne Bontone, was a member of the Ingende Mongo ethnic community of the DRC's Equateur Province. Bowane's father, Titi Raoul, came from the Congo-Brazzaville town of Sibiti. As a young man Bowane became captivated by rumba and big band music coming from the Congolese capital of Kinshasa. He later recalled a concert put on by Antoine Kolosoy Wendo in Mbandaka, and how impressed he was by Wendo's voice and fine dress. In 1946 Bowane decided to leave his home city and took a steamer down the Congo River to Kinshasa He became a regular patron of Kinshasa s lively bars and dance clubs such as the Kongo Bar and Congo Moderne Bowane was so impressed by the singing of Wendo and ...

Article

Daniel Donaghy

Mariah Angela Carey was born in Huntington, New York, the third child of Patricia Hickey, an Irish-American a mezzo-soprano opera singer, and Alfred Roy Carey, an African American–Venezuelan aeronautical engineer. Her family endured violence, abuse, and threats at the hands of racists upset with her parents’ interracial marriage. After her parents divorced when she was three, her sister Alison lived with her father while Carey and her brother Morgan lived with their mother, who struggled to support them, working several jobs and moving them to several different towns on Long Island. While rehearsing at home for her part in Verdi’s opera Rigoletto her mother was astounded to hear Carey not yet four repeating what she sang Her mother introduced her to vocal exercises to expand and improve her singing voice Soon Carey was performing at school and community events She began writing her own songs in middle school and ...

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Courtney Q. Shah

singer and actress. Carol Diahann Johnson was born in the Bronx, New York. As a teenager she performed as a nightclub singer and a model while attending the famous New York High School of Music and Art. She made her film debut in 1954 in Carmen Jones, working with Harry Belafonte and Dorothy Dandridge. Paired again with Dandridge, Carroll had a role in Porgy and Bess (1959). Film and television appearances continued, including an Emmy nomination in 1963 for her work in the crime drama Naked City.

In 1968 Carroll made television history by becoming the first black actress to star in her own series. NBC's Julia received both popular praise and critical acclaim, and Carroll received an Emmy nomination in its first year. Generations of African American performers remember Carroll's Julia as a turning point providing inspiration that roles for black actors ...

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Caryn E. Neumann

a two-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his doo-wop singing with the Flamingos and the Dells, was born in Harvey, a South Side suburb of Chicago. The names and occupations of his parents are not known. Johnny Carter, as he was most commonly known, grew up in Harvey, where he sang in a church choir. About 1950, Carter joined several other choir members and, as the Swallows, sang on Chicago street corners. The close-harmony style of the group would later be categorized as a new type of rhythm and blues known as doo-wop after one of the typical nonsense words used as rhythmic filler. When another group using the Swallows name climbed the chart, Carter's group changed its name to the Flamingos.

The Flamingos typically sang slow ballads with Carter only occasionally taking the lead More often he used his high tenor as ...

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Mary Krane Derr

singer, actor, and comedian, was born Nell Ruth Hardy in Birmingham, Alabama, one of nine children. Nell's parents were Edna Mae Humphrey, a homemaker, and her second husband Horace Hardy, an Army sergeant. At age two, Nell witnessed his accidental electrocution death. Deeply affected by Dinah Washington, B. B. King, and Elvis Presley records, Nell began singing in her church choir, on a local radio show called the “Y-Teens,” and on the gospel circuit. She never grew taller than four feet eleven inches but had a large, commanding voice and presence. Her show business ambitions made her a “weirdo” in a social environment where “most kids wanted to be teachers or nurses” (CNN.com, Entertainment, 23 Jan. 2003). At age 13, the Presbyterian-raised Nell discovered that one of her grandfathers probably had Jewish ancestry. Although not converting until 1983 she started ...

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Juan Otero-Garabis

Willie Colón was born in the Bronx in New York City. His first album, El malo (The Bad Guy, 1967), gave him the image by which he was known for the first decade of his career. This image made fun of the negative stereotype of violence attributed to Puerto Rican communities in New York City, especially those perpetuated by Hollywood movies. With some of his lyrics, this Mafia-style image contributed to develop the identity of the Puerto Rican community in New York with Salsa Music.

Some of Colón's lyrics are urban chronicles that narrate the life of the Puerto Rican barrio in New York, while other songs emphasize the African heritage of Puerto Rican culture. Colón and his band's lead singer, Héctor Lavoe, introduced the jíbaro sound into salsa Jíbaro music comes from the Spanish heritage of Puerto Rico while salsa is based on Afro ...