By Derik Vanderford
UNION — The Union County Arts Council will offer a unique opportunity during next week’s Monday Night Music.
In addition to the regular acoustic music session at Monday Night Music at the Union County Arts Council (UCAC), there will also be an opportunity to meet Clair DeLune — the author of Images of America: South Carolina Blues — from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19, at the UCAC, which is located at 116 East Main Street in Union. Copies of DeLune’s book will be available, giving those in attendance an opportunity to have a signed copy.
“The history of South Carolina blues is a long, deep — and sometimes painful — story,” DeLune said. “However, it is a narrative with aspects as compelling as the music itself.”
DeLune said geological differences in America led to variations in the styles of music which developed from African rhythms.
“The wet, marshy landscape and hot, muggy weather of the Carolina Lowcountry combined to cultivate not only rice, but a Gullah-based style of South Carolina blues,” she said. “In drier climates, toward the Midlands and the Upstate, the combination of European influences led to the emergence of Piedmont blues, which in turn spawned country music as well as bluegrass.”
DeLune said those same Gullah roots resulted in four major dance crazes — the Charleston, the Big Apple, the Twist (Chubby Checker was from the Andrews area of South Carolina) and the beach music dance sensation that has become the official state dance of South Carolina, the Shag.
Clair DeLune is a music history professor at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, as well as a blues radio host. In her book, she dusts off neglected nuggets of history, drawing on archival photographs and rarely seen memorabilia from a generation of musicians’ personal collections. She said readers will not only learn new information about some famous players who left their musical mark on history, but even more about the not-so-famous ones, as well as modern masters who carry on the rhythms of their predecessors and are truly keeping South Carolina blues alive.
Buffalo native Freddie Vanderford — who was recognized in 2010 with the state’s Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award for keeping Piedmont blues alive — is among the musicians featured in the book.
DeLune teaches music history courses as well as writing courses at the University of South Carolina. Since 1990, she has hosted an educational roots music program — Blues Moon Radio — which airs live throughout the Midlands and streams across the globe on WUSC-FM at 6 p.m. each Tuesday evening.
Monday Night Music is held the from 6:30-8:30 p.m. the third Monday of each month at the UCAC. This acoustic session is open to the public, and everyone is invited to join. For more information, contact the UCAC at (864) 429-2817 or visit www.facebook.com/UnionArts.
Derik Vanderford can be reached at 864-762-4128 or email@example.com.