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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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


Juan Carlos Estenssoro

was born in 1788 to Rosa Rudesinda Retuerto, a free mulatto woman. On his certificate of baptism, he is documented as a son without a father; however, on his marriage certificate, his father is identified as the surgeon and pharmacist José Isidoro Alcedo. He began his studies in the Augustine music academy in Lima, which was run by the friar Cipriano Aguilar; he later moved to the Santo Domingo convent, where he received his true musical education under the direction of Friar Pascual Nieves. In 1807 he took simple vows as a third-order Dominican for three years, having worn the friar’s habit the year before. At that time he began to teach music at the convent. In 1821 he was among the signatories of Peru s Declaration of Independence and he presented two compositions to the competition led by General José de San Martín to select a national march ...


James Dapogny

(b New Orleans, Aug 4, 1901; d New York, July 6, 1971). American jazz trumpeter, singer and bandleader.


Kathy J. Ogren

One of the twentieth century's premier jazz musicians, Louis Armstrong was born in poverty in New Orleans. He first learned to play brass instruments in Joseph Jones's Colored Waifs' Home. His skills matured in settings where ensemble jazz improvisation first evolved, including street parades, dance halls, and Fate Marable's Mississippi riverboat band. Armstrong's considerable influence as a jazz pioneer began with membership in the bands of Edward (“Kid”) Ory (1918) and Joseph (“King”) Oliver (1922), with whom he first recorded in 1923. Armstrong also collaborated with blues musicians like Bessie Smith.

A virtuoso trumpet soloist, Armstrong through his Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings (1925–1928) disseminated jazz improvisation to a wide audience. His initial success was followed by fame as a band leader and vocalist; beginning in 1929, he fronted his own bands, including Louis Armstrong's All Stars (1947 ...


Karl Rodabaugh

jazz cornet player, trumpeter, and vocalist. Louis Armstrong's musical style and charismatic personality transformed jazz from a “raucous” and “vulgar” regional form of dance music into an internationally beloved popular art form. Also known as “Satchel-mouth” and “Pops,” Armstrong first gained renown as an innovative cornet player and trumpeter whose creative energy helped bring about the movement of jazz into swing in the 1920s. But he also achieved fame as a vocalist whose distinctive style, including some specific features identified as “Afro-American,” influenced scores of jazz singers and thus played a significant role in shaping popular music of the twentieth century.


Frank Tirro

jazz trumpeter and singer, known universally as “Satchmo” and later as “Pops,” was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of William Armstrong, a boiler stoker in a turpentine plant, and Mary Est “Mayann” Albert, a laundress. Abandoned by his father shortly after birth, Armstrong was raised by his paternal grandmother, Josephine, until he was returned to his mother's care at age five. Mother and son moved from Jane Alley, in a violence‐torn slum, to an only slightly better area, Franklyn and Perdido streets, where nearby cheap cabarets gave the boy his first introduction to the new kind of music, jazz, that was developing in New Orleans. Although Armstrong claims to have heard the early jazz cornetist Buddy Bolden when he was about age five, this incident may be apocryphal. As a child, he worked odd jobs, sang in a vocal quartet, and around 1911 bought a ...


More than anyone else, Louis Armstrong was responsible for legitimizing and popularizing jazz for a wider public. A much-admired jazz trumpeter and gravel-voiced vocalist, Armstrong was also a consummate entertainer, steadily expanding his career from instrumentalist to popular singer, to film and television personality, and, ultimately, to cultural icon. He acquired many nicknames throughout his life, including Dippermouth, Pops, and Satchelmouth—the latter often contracted to Satchmo. As Satchmo, he was instantly identifiable around the world, decades before PrinceMadonna, or Sting. The international appeal of his music in effect made Armstrong the American goodwill ambassador to the world.


Carlos Vázquez Cruz

was born Álvaro José Arroyo González on 1 November 1955 in the coastal city of Cartagena de Indias Colombia various iconic the son of Guillermo Arroyo and Ángela González El Joe as he is also known grew up in a humble family in a marginal neighborhood of Cartagena where he started singing at the age of 8 in the school choir At the same time he accepted a proposal from the saxophonist and bandleader Michi Sarmiento to start singing with orchestras in the bars and brothels of Tesca one of Cartagena s red light districts to earn money to support his household Cartagena was an important port and the city s nightlife scene catered to lots of international visitors with live entertainment With his rare voice and musical creativity Arroyo soon found this job opening up opportunities for him to join several groups He began his professional singing career ...


Fred Rohner

was born on 27 October 1892 at the Cebezas square (the fourth block of Virú Street) in the Rímac district, north of Lima, Peru, the son of Jorge Ascuez García and Nicolasa Villanueva y Cabezudo. At the age of 4, he became an orphan and for a few years lived with his eldest sister, Gabriela. While still a young boy, Augusto and his brother Elías, who would become his musical partner until Elias’s death in 1967, moved to the neighborhood of Malambo, a traditionally Afro-Peruvian area, under the care of their uncle Mateo Sancho Dávila and aunt Clara Boceta (their mother’s half-sister). As teenagers, they learned from their uncles Mateo and Santiago Villanueva the trade of bricklaying, but also all that they came to know about Afro-Peruvian folklore.

The house of Mateo Sancho Dávila was the center of a group of Afro-Peruvian musicians and singers of décimas a ...


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 ...


Christian Maldonado Badrán

most famously known as an original member of Cortijo y su Combo, was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico, on 17 February 1933. His career in Afro–Puerto Rican music spanned six decades. His mother was Leonor Román and his father Carlos Ayala, who died when his son was a year old. Sammy married Esther Rondón Alicea in 1959. At the time of his death, he left four children (Carlos Samuel, Lourdes Caridad, Nayda Esther, and the percussionist Carlos Luis), at least thirteen grandchildren, and his sister, Paquita (aka Rita). As a child, he grew up in the working-class neighborhood of Tras Talleres in Santurce and attended Escuela Rafael M. de Labra in the “Parada 18” neighborhood, where his classmates included future legends and bandmates such as Rafael Cortijo (1928–1982), Roberto Roena (1940– ), Rafael Ithier (1926– ), and Ismael “Maelo” Rivera (1931–1987 Immediately ...


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 ...


Caryn E. Neumann

a doo-wop singer with a distinctive bass voice who sang with the 1950s group the Moonglows, was born in Magnolia, Mississippi, one of fourteen children of farmers Garfield and Della Barnes. His siblings were Jellee, Jethro, Samuel, James, Tero, Houston, Clifton, Simon, Buster, Maggie, Bertha, Julia Mae, and Beulah Mae. The family worked a two-hundred-acre farm, raising cotton, corn, cucumbers, watermelons, and other products to sell from a truck as well as cows, chickens, and hogs. Barnes did not attend high school because he had to help out on the farm. Barnes began singing in church and picked up performing jobs before leaving farming to pursue his dream of a musical career, By 1952 he had formed the Crazy Sounds with Harvey Fuqua Alexander Pete Graves Bobby Lester and Billy Johnson The group sang in churches and local clubs until coming to the attention of famed Cleveland disc ...


was born in Trinidad in the West Indies on 7 February 1914. His father’s work in the oil industry resulted in the family moving to Maracaibo, Venezuela, when he was quite young. It was while he was in Venezuela that Barriteau first heard the clarinet and expressed a desire to play music. After his father’s death, Barriteau returned to Trinidad before his tenth birthday and was sent to an orphanage when he was 12.

At the home, Barriteau first began seriously playing music. He originally performed on the tenor horn with the Belmont Orphanage Band, also learning the E-flat clarinet. During 1933–1936 he turned professional working with the Trinidad Constabulary Band where he switched to the more conventional B flat clarinet and the alto sax Barriteau gained local acclaim performing with the popular police band in particular for his clarinet playing He also worked during the same period ...


Gage Averill and Kevin F. Mason

and founding member of the Haitian mizik rasin (roots music) band Boukman Eksperyans, was born on 20 September 1956 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in the neighborhood of Bas-Peu-de-Choses. Lòlò Beaubrun was the son of a popular comedic actor in Haiti, Theodore Beaubrun Sr., and Luce Americe Beaubrun, a folk dancer and actress, formerly with La Troupe Folklorique Nationale d’Haïti. Lòlò acted in the cast of his father’s television program Aventures de Languichatte, in which his father played the madcap character Languichatte Débordus.

Lòlò Beaubrun went to Petit Séminaire Collège Saint Martial for his primary schooling, later attending high school first at the Collège Canado-Haïtien and then at the Union School, an American school in Haiti, graduating in June 1975. In September 1975 he traveled to New York to join his mother, who had relocated to the United States in 1970 In New York City Lòlò took classes in ...


Harry Belafonte may be best known to audiences in the United States as the singer of the “Banana Boat Song” (known popularly as “Day-O”). However, it is his commitment to political causes that inspired scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. to observe: “Harry Belafonte was radical long before it was chic and remained so long after it wasn't.” Belafonte was born in Harlem, New York, to West Indian parents. The family moved to Jamaica in 1935 but returned five years later. Struggling with dyslexia, Belafonte dropped out of high school after the ninth grade and, at the age of seventeen, joined the U.S. Navy. The work was menial: scrubbing the decks of ships in port during World War II. Naval service, however, introduced Belafonte to African Americans who awakened his political consciousness and introduced him to the works of radical black intellectual W. E. B. Du Bois.

In ...


Ronald M. Radano

(b New York, March 1, 1927). American popular singer and actor. He lived in Kingston, Jamaica, for five years (1935–40), returning to New York in 1940. In 1945 he began a career as an actor, having studied in Erwin Piscator’s drama workshop at the New School of Social Research. He experienced greater commercial success, however, as a popular singer, making his début at the Royal Roost, New York, in 1949. The following year he rejected his popular song repertory and began to sing traditional melodies from Africa, Asia, America and the Caribbean, which he collected in folk music archives. Having secured an RCA recording contract in 1952, Belafonte went on to become the most popular ‘folk’ singer in the USA. His interpretations of Trinidadian calypso music between 1957 and 1959 won him his greatest success and marked the pinnacle of ...