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Jayne Cortez

 

continued

Like much performance poetry, Jayne Cortez's is angry, raging at oppression wherever she finds it — here, in the Caribbean, in Africa. She is more than willing to be didactic. In fact, I suspect she thinks it is the poet's duty to teach a lesson or two. In "Taking the Blues Back Home," reprinted in Jazz Fan Looks Back, Cortez combines the anger and the music:

The blues that came to me
from the slave dungeons
the blues that came to me
from the death trails
the blues that came to me
from my ancestors
the blues that came to me
in a spell that tells me
through birth that I'm the owner
of the blues
from a long time ago


That may not be the blues that fits comfortably in a public-TV documentary or in the easy use of blues by young white rock artists — but you certainly know and will remember Jayne Cortez's opinion on the subject.

Jayne Cortez performs with her band at EMU's McKenny Union Ballroom on Tuesday, November 18, and reads from her work at Shaman Drum Bookshop on Wednesday, November 19.    (end of article)

[Originally published in November, 2003.]

 

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