WOMEN ARE pivotal in the story of blues music, with Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Mamie Smith being among its earliest recorded exponents and first major stars, but they have been overshadowed by the men who came later.
It was Valentine’s Day 1920 when Mamie Smith stepped up to the microphone in The Okeh Company in New York and shouted out 'That Thing Called Love', in the process making the first recording by a black female vocalist. Alongside Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Ida Cox, and Alberta Hunter, women transformed the blues from local folk music into an art form.
In recognition of those women, Ladies In The Blues, a hit at the 2017 Cork Jazz Festival, is on tour, and comes to the Town Hall Theatre on Friday May 4 at 8pm. It features Flo Mc Sweeney (Moving Hearts ), Clara Rose, Emma Nicolai, and Ghil Quin, backed by Ed Deane (guitar ), James Delaney (keys ), Moving Hearts' Eoghan O'Neill (bass ), and Kevin Malone (drums ), to perform classics like 'CC Ryder', 'I Put A Spell On You', 'Ball and Chain', 'Piece Of My Heart', and 'I’d Rather Go Blind'.