News / Arts & Entertainment

Young Musicians in Houston Carry on Blues Tradition

Young Musicians in Houston Carry on Blues Traditioni
X
November 01, 2013 1:39 AM
The American musical genre known as the blues emerged in the early part of the 20th century out of African- American communities in the deep South -- places like Memphis, Tennessee, The Mississippi River Delta and the fields of east Texas. Many young people are rediscovering the blues, and some are even becoming master players. VOA's Greg Flakus profiles two such artists making their mark on the Texas blues scene in this report from Houston.
Greg Flakus
The American musical genre known as the blues emerged in the early part of the 20th century out of African- American communities in the deep South - places like Memphis, Tennessee, The Mississippi River Delta and the fields of east Texas.  Many young people are rediscovering the blues, and some are even becoming master players.
 
One of the most popular young blues artists in Houston is Josh Davidson, known as The Mighty Orq.  He views this American-born music as a national treasure.

"It is awesome, man. It is something to be celebrated and enjoyed," said  Davidson.

He has learned the styles of famous blues singers like BB King, Muddy Waters, and the city's most celebrated blues man, the late Sam “Lightnin' Hopkins - the icon of the Houston Blues Society.

"Born in Houston, where the blues fall down like rain, Lightnin' Hopkins up on Dowling, Albert Collins down on Main," he sings.

"I think the real magic of blues music is that it speaks to everyone. I mean it just speaks to the humanity of everybody," he said.

That's because the blues flows from deep human emotions, according to another of Houston's popular young blues artists, Annika Chambers.

"It takes over you. It can take over in different ways, so the blues is something you just feel deep down in your soul," said Chambers.

Annika Chambers puts her whole body and soul into each performance.

She began her journey singing gospel music in Houston and was introduced to the blues while she was serving in the U.S. Army in Kosovo.

Although the blues started as a strictly black musical form and was once termed “race music,” Chambers says her band members and audience reflect how things have changed.

“Music is universal, so it brings us all together at some point, whether it is black or white. I play a lot of shows and I get a mixed crowd at all of my shows," she said.

Annika Chambers, who experiments with hair styles and dress as much as music, likes to hang out with other Houston blues songsters, including The Mighty Orq.

Both of them praise Houston's supportive blues community, consisting of musicians, fans, radio program hosts and club owners who frequently stage blues concerts.

“There is just a sense of community and camaraderie that is really wonderful, you know, and then you have venues in different parts of the city that are sort of hubs for the community and the musicians," said The Mighty Orq.

Both the Mighty Orq and Annika Chambers have recorded CDs that are helping to spread the news about Houston's rich blues heritage.

You May Like

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, No voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve and do not want to take a risk by endorsing independence More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Spacei
X
September 17, 2014 4:20 AM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Border Crossings

Graham Nash has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice – once for his work with The Hollies and once as part of Crosby, Stills & Nash. The legendary folk-rocker joins "Border Crossings" host Larry London to talk about his latest project, “CSN 2012,” which captured on video recent live performances by Crosby, Stills & Nash.