Black history month day 19: musical pioneer Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
Rosetta was born on March 20, 1915 to a pair of musicians in Arkansas. Her parents were also active in the Church of God in Christ (COGIC). This denomination encouraged musical expression, rhythm and dancing, and female preaching. Rosetta’s mother was a preacher and, at her encouragement, Rosetta began singing and playing the guitar as Little Rosetta Nubin at the age of four and was cited as a musical prodigy. By the age of six, Rosetta became a regular performer in her mother’s traveling evangelical troupe.
Rosetta became well known for her music in an age where prominent black female guitar players were a rarity. At the age of 23 she begin her recording career and became one of the first gospel performers to have the mainstream success. She performed with prominent musicians like cab Calloway and was one of only two gospel singers who was able to send records to the troops overseas during World War II.
Rosetta Tharpe has been referred to as “the godmother of rock ‘n’ roll” and her style of music heavily influenced early rock-and-roll musicians, including Little Richard, Johnny Cash, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis.
And because I just can’t justify posting this without an actual example of how talented she was, click this link to hear one of her classic songs: https://youtu.be/SR2gR6SZC2M