Kicking off our new series on digital history projects, Dr. Vladislav Beronja, a professor in the UT Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies, tells us about a class project to build a website on Balkan pop music. By Vladislav Beronja Turbo-folk—a mixture of pounding electronic beats and trilled vocals—can be heard blasting from cafés, taxis, […]
By Nakia Parker Popular culture can be a powerful tool in helping students understand history. Music, film, TV, fiction, and paintings offer effective and creative ways to bring primary source material into the classroom. Last fall, I gave a lecture on Black Power and popular culture in an introductory course on African American History. We […]
Recent years have seen a real flowering of scholarship about the popular music of the early twentieth century. Here are a few of my favorites—and a little something extra.
Southern musicians performed a staggering variety of music in the early twentieth century. Black and white artists played blues, ballads, ragtime and string band music, as well as the plethora of styles popular throughout the nation: sentimental ballads, minstrel songs, Tin Pan Alley tunes, and Broadway hits. They embraced pop music. Many performed any music they could, regardless of their racial or regional identities. Such variety could appear in the same set as a performer eased from one song to the next. Observers agreed that rural southerners loved all sorts of music. Yet they fought about whether that was a good thing.