Monthly Archives: August 2010

Ma Rainey: The Life and Music of “The Mother of the Blues”

Bessie Smith may have been the early blues’ greatest singer, but Ma Rainey was its greatest performer. This intense, warm woman was a living link between minstrelsy, the earliest blues, and vaudeville. Ma’s deep, almost-vibratoless contralto sounded rough and unsophisticated compared to other commercial blueswomen, but she projected a great depth of feeling and was adored by audiences. Continue reading