Currently in New York, Obie-winning singer and actor Vernel Bagneris recently sold his apartment in order to move to New Orleans, where he was born. He tells us what he's heard from friends and family, and what he expects for the future. The Library of Congress has described Bagneris as "a master of the American vernacular." He wrote, directed and starred in the hit shows One Mo' Time, Further Mo', Staggerlee and Jelly Roll!
We continue our rebroadcast of our series on American Popular Song with a tribute to ragtime composer and performer Eubie Blake. He was born on Feb. 7, 1883, in Baltimore, Md. He wrote the songs for the Broadway hit Shuffle Along. African American ragtime musicians of the day sought out Eubie to write their songs. Two of Eubie Blake's best known songs are "I'm Just Wild About Harry" and "Love Will Find A Way." Just over 100 years after his life began, on Feb. 12, 1983, Eubie Blake died in Brooklyn, New York.
We continue our American Popular song series, with a program about composer Will Marion Cook. He was born in 1869 and was part of the first generation born after slavery. Cook was one of the innovators of ragtime song, and helped introduce ragtime to Broadway. Cook wrote In Dahomey the first full-length broadway musical written and performed by African Americans. It opened on Broadway in 1903. Some of Cook's songs reflect the racial stereotypes and dialect of the time.