Strix the harbinger
guards the exit gate, quizzing all
Who will pass this night?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Jim Crow Blues

My high school Humanities teacher, Nicholas Cords, introduced me to "Lead Belly", Huddie Ledbetter, when I was 16 years old. He was the first person I knew who put a value on true folk music and race music equal to European classical music, which made the music teachers cringe. He was right; they were wrong. He opened a door for me. Nick is old now, but still alive and kicking. The first line of his son's bio on the Yo-Yo Ma website states, "Violist Nicholas Cords is strongly committed to the advocacy and performance of music from a very broad historical and geographical spectrum."  I wonder where he got that from?
- Thanks Nick for what you gave to me too.




I just received an email from Cheri Register, a friend who comments offline:
"Just catching up with your blog after a busy couple of weeks embroiled in politics at the Minnesota Historical Society.  Nick Cords isn't THAT old.  He's still in his 70s, I think.  He was pretty young yet when he was our teacher.  I did a paper on the history of jazz in humanities class, and Nick steered me to sources I never would have found otherwise.  When I watched Ken Burns's documentary on jazz on PBS, I was astonished to discover that I knew all that stuff already, thanks to Nick."

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