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Esther Aillón Soria and Sara Busdiecker

was born in La Glorieta in the Nor Yungas Province of the department of La Paz, Bolivia, on 25 March 1977. His parents, Justo Ballivián (1950– ) and Juana Vásquez Larrea (1948–2012), worked in agriculture, cultivating traditional-use coca plants and citrus fruits. His siblings include sisters Angélica (a resident of Spain), Reyna, Mari Cruz, and Saida and a brother, Jorge.

At the age of 10, upon the separation of his parents, he moved with his mother and siblings from La Glorieta to the nearby community of Tocaña. His childhood and adolescence thereafter were spent studying and working odd jobs in Tocaña, La Paz, and Coroico, the provincial capital of Nor Yungas. He graduated from Coroico’s secondary school, Colegio Guerrilleros Lanza (part of the Fe y Alegría International Federation network of schools), in 1999 He fathered a son Amanileo a resident of the United States in ...

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Mario Angel Silva Castro

His lifelong research allowed him to re-create the candombe drum with fusions that included samba, rap, bossa nova, and funk, among other styles.

Jorge Damião Bello Gularte, known as “Jorginho,” was born in Porto Alegre, Brazil, on 16 February 1956. The son of José Bello and “Martha” Gularte, a well-known figure within Afro-Uruguayan culture, he spent his childhood moving between Uruguay and Brazil. When he definitively settled with his mother and sister, Katy, in Montevideo, they found a home on Curuguaty Street in the Barrio Sur, barely a block from the emblematic tenement house “Mediomundo” (a significant space for African candombe). From a young age, he was involved in music, taking piano lessons in Porto Alegre, and by the age of 11 he was already playing the candombe drums and participating in his mother’s groups. He also began to teach himself to play the guitar in 1969 ...

Article

Tshombe L. Miles

was born Jorge Duilio Lima Menezes in Rio de Janeiro, on 22 March 1942. Ben Jor is of mixed African and European heritage, including a grandfather on his mother’s side who came to Brazil from Ethiopia. In November 2009, in an interview for Trip magazine, he described his youth as a time when all of his basic needs were met. He received a good education, at Colégio Diocesano São José in Rio de Janeiro, and even studied at a seminary, also in Rio de Janeiro, where he had the opportunity to read philosophy. This would have a profound effect on his development. As a youth he also proved to be a talented soccer player, and he has devoted many songs to the sport.

Ben Jor is a self taught guitarist singer and songwriter Over the course of his musical career he has experimented with a variety of musical ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Few performers have had a more profound effect on American popular music than Chuck Berry. The staccato guitar cadenzas with which he opened songs such as “Maybellene” (1955) and “Johnny B. Goode” (1958) helped define the new guitar idiom of rock and roll. His lyrics, celebrating teen freedom, music, dancing, and the pleasures of automobiles gave substance to the rock genre. Berry's influence shaped the music of later musicians from the Beatles and the Rolling Stones to artists of the present.

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Berry was first exposed to music when the choir of his parents' Baptist church gathered to rehearse in the front room of his childhood home. An avid fan of the Blues Berry took up guitar as a hobby at age fourteen He worked in an automobile factory and as a hairdresser before turning to his guitar playing and ...

Article

Timothy D. Taylor

(b St Louis, 18 Oct 1926; d Wentzville, MO, 18 March 2017). American rock and roll singer, songwriter, and guitarist. Born into a solid working-class black family, he worked at a variety of jobs before pursuing a career in music. He achieved success rather late; his first number one hit, Maybellene, was recorded in 1955 when he was 29. During the 1950s and 60s he wrote a number of hit songs which have become rock and roll standards, including Roll over Beethoven, Too Much Monkey Business, Brown-Eyed Handsome Man, School Days, Back in the USA, Little Queenie, Memphis, Tennessee, and Johnny B. Goode Berry s songs were based on 12 bar blues progressions with variations ranging from 8 to 24 bars played at fast tempos with an emphasis on the backbeat He ...

Article

John Edwin Mason

singer, songwriter, and guitarist, was born Charles Edward Anderson Berry in St. Louis, Missouri, the fourth of six children of Henry William Berry, a carpenter and handyman, and Martha Bell Banks. The industrious Henry Berry instilled in his son a hunger for material success and a prodigious capacity for hard work, traits that were not entirely apparent in Berry as a youth. Martha Berry, a skilled pianist and accomplished singer, passed on to her son her love for music. By the time he was a teenager, however, Berry preferred jazz, blues, and the “beautiful harmony of country music” to his mother's Baptist hymns (Berry, 14).

In 1944 Berry and two friends hatched an ill considered plan to drive across the country to California They soon ran out of money and committed a series of armed robberies in an attempt to return home All three were ...

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Timothy J. O'Brien

rock-and-roll pioneer. Chuck Berry is truly the father of rock and roll. His vibrant songwriting, innovative guitar playing, and live performances inspired legions of followers, and he was the single most important figure in defining a new genre that mixed country and rhythm and blues.

Charles Edward Anderson Berry was born to Henry William Berry Sr., a carpenter, and Martha Bell Banks, a housewife, in Saint Louis, Missouri, in 1926. The family belonged to a Baptist church, and Berry's earliest memories were of his parents singing gospel songs around the house. His first try at show business, singing “Confessin’ the Blues” to a friend's guitar accompaniment at a high school talent show, inspired him to play guitar.

While still in high school in Saint Louis he left for a trip to California with two friends When their money ran low they robbed a few small businesses and ...

Article

Charles Rosenberg

musician, an early member of the groundbreaking band, the Ink Spots, which contributed to early musical styles leading to rock and roll and rhythm and blues, was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, the son of Anna Gleason Franklin Daniels and Jerry R. Daniels. His parents had family roots in Tennessee and Kentucky. During his early childhood, the family lived with his maternal grandparents, Franklin Moses Daniels and Irene Daniels, on Twelfth Street.

When Daniels was fourteen, his father worked as an interior decorator, while his mother was a clerk in a grocery store. He graduated from high school in Indianapolis. He and a friend named Charlie Fuqua began performing with local “coffeepot bands” that combined guitar, ukulele, and vocals with use of metal coffeepots as an echo chamber for kazoos. “The larger the coffee pot, the more resonant the tone,” Daniels told music historian Marv Goldberg decades later. In 1931 ...

Article

Joy Elizondo

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to an ex-slave, Gabino Ezeiza first picked up a guitar at the age of fifteen. Drawing from a rich oral tradition of earlier payadores, he gradually attracted an impressive following by taking his improvisational virtuosity on the road. The payada, a duel-like exchange in which singer-guitarists spontaneously compose formulaic refrains, is derived from both Spanish versification and African traditions of musical contests. In Argentina, it is considered “popular literature,” inextricably tied to the most symbolic of national figures: the gaucho of the pampas (roughly equivalent to cowboys on the range). While still a teenager, Ezeiza began writing for La Juventud, a Buenos Aires newspaper for and by members of the black community. From 1876 to 1878, while still building a reputation as a payador, publishing poetry, and writing news, he became the editor of La Juventud.

Before the twentieth ...

Article

Born in the Dominican Republic, Guerra, with his group 4.40, gained an international reputation during the 1980s and 1990s for his music—a danceable blend of two popular Caribbean genres, Salsa and Merengue. Guerra uses poetic lyrics that often speak to social issues in the Dominican Republic and the rest of Latin America. His music also draws on the roots of other popular Caribbean, Latin American, and African American styles, including bachata (a style of lyric poetry), nuevo cancíon (Spanish for “new song”), and African soukous.

Guerra was born and raised in a middle-class neighborhood in Santo Domingo the Dominican Republic s capital His father was a professional baseball player Guerra s early musical influences include the British rock music groups the Beatles Jethro Tull Pink Floyd and the Rolling Stones as well as the traditional music of the Dominican Republic Largely self taught on the guitar ...

Article

Paul Oliver

(b Navasota, TX, April 9, 1895; d Navasota, Jan 30, 1976). American songster and guitarist. He taught himself to play guitar and accompanied his father, a rural fiddler. As a youth he assisted the Texas Ranger, Frank Hamer. Before being recorded at the age of 66, he was a sharecropper and farm labourer in Navasota. He had acquired an extensive reputation in Texas for his effortless playing of dance accompaniments, such as Buck Dance (1961, Rep.) and Sugar babe, it’s all over now (1960, Arhoolie), and for his singing of old ballads like Ella Speed. From 1960 he was a popular performer at concerts and festivals, still playing fluently until forced by ill-health to retire in 1973. In 1971 he was the subject of a film, A Well-spent Life directed by Les Blank Because of his previous ...

Article

Bill McCulloch and Barry Lee Pearson

songster and guitarist, was born on a farm near Navasota, Texas, the son of Charlie Lipscomb, a former slave who became a professional fiddler, and Janie Pratt. Lipscomb learned to play fiddle and guitar at an early age, learning mainly by ear because his musician father was seldom home to teach him. When he was still a preteen Lipscomb supposedly traveled with his father for a time, accompanying him on guitar. However, when Lipscomb was around eleven years old his father stopped coming home altogether, and the youngster went to work on the farm to help his mother.

For the next fifty years Lipscomb worked full-time as a farmer. He took jobs as a farmhand until he was sixteen, then began sharecropping on a twenty-acre tract, raising mainly corn and cotton. Two years later he married Elnora maiden name unknown they had one son but raised ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

His father, a hunter, had a number of wives. Manatsa’s family did not have much money, and Manatsa’s studies were slowed in part because he had to work on the farm to earn money to pay school expenses. By 1964 Manatsa had only completed primary school. Although he had learned to play the banjo, Manatsa had little hope of becoming a professional musician in Mhangura. In the mid-1960s however, he traveled to Chinhoyi to obtain his identification papers, but then went to the Zimbabwean capital of Harare (then Salisbury) when he discovered the papers were not available in Chinhoyi. Unable to find the office where his papers were supposedly located, Manatsa decided to take a train to the southern Zimbabwean city of Bulawayo rather than go home. A sister-in-law there took Manatsa to some stores, where he bought a whistle.

Manatsa then made it back to Mhangura where he convinced ...

Article

James Sellman

Zimbabwean guitarist, singer, and songwriter, was born near Harare, Zimbabwe (then Salisbury, Rhodesia), on 22 September 1952. He is also known as “Tuku.” Mtukudzi was drawn to music as a child. After leaving high school, like many others, he moved to the city in search of work. He took a sales job at a stationery shop but quit after saving enough to buy a guitar. In 1975 he recorded his first single, “Stop after Orange.”

Beginning in 1977 Mtukudzi and popular Zimbabwean musician Thomas Mapfumo worked together in the band Wagon Wheels playing in the Congolese rumba style then popular across Africa Mtukudzi recorded Dzandimometera his first hit with the band but Wagon Wheels broke up before the decade s end Mtukudzi and Mapfumo then launched solo careers each incorporating more distinctly Zimbabwean musical elements Politically however their paths diverged The outspoken Mapfumo was imprisoned by Prime Minister ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

was born into a family belonging to the Teke ethnic community in Lubumbashi, the capital of the southern province of Katanga in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mwenda’s father studied at a school run by the Don Bosco missionary order, and so named his son in honor of his former teachers. In 1936 Mwenda’s father, who also played piano, found a job in Likasi (known as Jadotville in the colonial period), a mining town. After completing his education, Mwenda began to pursue music as a full-time career, and by 1950 had learned how to play guitar He became a key innovator along with his cousin Edouard Masengo in developing the Katanga beat sound which featured lyrics in KiSwahili the main language of Katanga province as well as finger picking on the guitar Mwenda later acknowledged the influence of Zimbabwean musicians on his style of guitar playing since Lubumbashi and ...

Article

Mark Steven Maulucci

was born John Alexander Veliotes, Jr. in Los Angeles. His parents, music impresario Johnny Otis and Phyllis Walker, were married for seventy years and had four children: Shuggie, Nick (also a musician), Janice, and Laura. Shuggie, a nickname derived from “Sugar” and bestowed upon him by his mother who was half African American and half Filipino, was born into and surrounded by music his entire life, adopting his father’s stage name “Otis” at an early age.

Johnny Otis was the son of Greek immigrants who became immersed in and infatuated with African American music and culture. He started playing professionally as a drummer in 1939 and eventually formed what would be a house band at a major Los Angeles club This band then evolved into a smaller combo that moved to the forefront of the Southern California Rhythm and Blues scene He played drums on significant hit records such ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

Phiri’s biological father, John Mshana Zulu, died in 1950, and his mother, Minah, soon remarried. His stepfather Kanyama “Justnow” Phiri was a musician from Malawi. Phiri was deeply influenced by his stepfather, who took him to gigs and introduced him to the guitar. Phiri also battled illness as a child. In 1951 he was admitted to the Crocodile Valley Hospital for calcium deficiency, and ended up receiving treatment there for nearly an entire decade. By Phiri’s adolescence Henrik Voerwerd was prime minister of South Africa and apartheid policies had closed off skilled job opportunities and advanced education for the vast majority of South Africans. Phiri himself only received eight years of primary education. Phiri chose to become a musician after seeing a concert by the band Alexandra’s Flaming Souls in Johannesburg in 1960 When Phiri s stepfather lost several fingers in a work accident he gave Phiri his ...