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Music Talks > 2017 Autumn

Music Club: Monday 31 July 2017 (6:00 doors open 7:00 pm talk begins)

Title: What (is) the Blues?

What makes a song a "blues" - history and examples from grass roots, pop, Jazz and Latin American music)

Presenter: Akram Najar

Language: English (assisted by Arabic)

Download Presentation (PDF)

Download List of Video Clisp (PDF)

The Blues is something everyone has or everyone has heard or heard of. We recognize the Blues when we feel them and when we hear them. But do we know what they are? The Blues have African roots. Their musical principles depend on a variety of factors:

1) the blues notes or scales which are based on the universally loved pentatonic scale used in African, Celtic, Chinese, Japanese and many other ethnic musical heritage.
2) The blues have a chordal progression which is unique to them, the 12 bars.
3) The blues use various performance devices such as swung notes, riffs, bent notes, call and response and others, mostly arriving to the USA with the African slave trade. The Blues influenced Jazz to such an extent that it is impossible to talk about one without mentioning the other.

The talk will step us through the roots of the Blues, their different elements, their influence on Pop and Jazz. All will be demonstrated with Video Clips.

Akram Najjar is a graduate of AUB in Physics and Mathematics (1966). By 1969, he completed a degree in Electronic Engineering in University of Hertfordshire, UK. His professional life was spent in Information Technology and organizational management. He spent a lot of time on reengineering business and public sector processes.
When Akram was 14, he chanced upon an evening program that presented one Jazz great at a time. He was hooked in Jazz in parallel with his love for Classical music. In our earlier Season 3 and 4, he gave 2 workshops: "For the Love of Jazz" and "Ten Great Jazz Songs".

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