Gulfport Students Singing The Blues - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

03/10/05

Gulfport Students Singing The Blues

Eight-year-old Jabari Thompson feels the blues deep down in his soul and his stomach.

He sang "I came home from school, as hungry as a bear. I went to the kitchen, to see what was there. I got the blues, the hungry blues".

Students at West Elementary are learning a new beat -- how to express their feelings through blues music.

Their teacher, Rita Caviness, asked "What are the emotions that we're supposed to feel when we sing this, happy or sad"? The children responded "Sad"!

Jabari Thompson "It's fun and it helps when you're sad. You don't have to get mad or nothing. You can sing".

Seven-year-old Emma Welch said "You talk about what you have to do, but you don't like to, like doing your homework or drinking your milk everyday".

Jabari said "I think about all the time I get fussed at and you gotta brush your teeth and wash your face and stuff".

The children also learn how to appreciate this musical genre that has its roots deep in Mississippi.

Daytriona Clemons said "It's a type of song that came from slavery. Robert Johnson was the first black man, the first famous man to do the blues, and he sold his soul to the devil".

Caviness said "It's a Mississippi heritage, and it's an art form that I certainly don't want to be lost. If we do not teach it, then it could be lost. I hope they carry on the legacy of Mississippi music. I hope they'll carry on music in general".

The children sang "I went to the sink, to get some water to drink. The water was bad. It sure did stink. I got the blues, the stinky water blues".

The blues lessons actually started in February as part of Black History Month and they coincide perfectly with March, which is Music in Schools Month.

by Trang Pham-Bui

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