The Voice of Harlem: No Music, No Instrumental

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Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


The Voice of Harlem is a new blog that covers the latest in music, fashion, and culture. We aim to provide our readers with the latest in what’s hot in the industry, and to give our take on the latest trends.

The Birth of the Harlem Renaissance

The Harlem Renaissance was a time where African American culture and art flourished. It was a movements that spanned the 1920s and 1930s. The Renaissance began in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City. At the time, it was known for its vibrant and thriving African American community.

The Great Migration

The birth of the Harlem Renaissance was a directresult of the Great Migration. This was the mass movement of African Americans fromthe rural South to the urban North in the early twentieth century. Thousands ofblack people left their homes in search of better opportunities and prospects inlarge cities such as New York, Chicago, and Detroit. This migration had a profoundeffect on American society and culture, and it would change the course of history.

The Great Migration marked a significant turning point in the history ofAfrican Americans. For the first time, black people were able to live and work inclose proximity to whites. This proximity gave rise to new opportunities forsocial and economic advancement, as well as increased contact between the tworaces. It also resulted in increased tensions and conflict, as white people oftendid not welcome blacks into their neighborhoods or workplaces.

The Harlem Renaissance was a direct result of the Great Migration. This massmovement of African Americans from the rural South to the urban North transformedAmerican society and culture. The Harlem Renaissance was a period of great creativityand achievement for black people in America, and it helped to shape the courseof history.

The rise of the Cotton Club

The Harlem Renaissance, a blossoming (c. 1918–37) of African American culture, particularly in the creative arts, and the most influential movement in African American literary history. Extending from the end of World War I into the middle of the 1930s, it is recognized as the “Golden Age” of African American intellectual life and culture.

Nestled in a largely black and Puerto Rican section of West Harlem, the Cotton Club was one of New York City’s most renowned nightspots throughout most of the 1920s. It was launched in December 1923 by entrepreneur Owen Madden, a former baseball player and gangster with ties to both the city’s Irish mob and Italian mafia. The club featured some of the biggest names in jazz and blues—among them Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, Bessie Smith and Fats Waller—and attracted many wealthy white New Yorkers to its nightly performances.

The Cotton Club’s focus on black performers helped launch the careers of numerous artists, including Ellington and Calloway, who went on to become two of America’s most celebrated musicians. The club also played an important role in spreading jazz music from Harlem to other parts of the United States and Europe during the 1920s.

The Music of the Harlem Renaissance

It’s the early 1920s in Harlem, New York. The era known as the Harlem Renaissance is in full swing. A new type of music is taking shape. This music is raw and soulful. It’s the music of the people. There are no instruments, just voices. This is the music of the Harlem Renaissance.


The Harlem Renaissance was a flowering of African American social, artistic, and intellectual life centered in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City during the 1920s and 1930s. A major focal point of the Harlem Renaissance was jazz, a distinctly American form of music that originated in the African American communities of New Orleans. Jazz is characterized by syncopated rhythms, improvised solos, and a swinging tempo. The first great jazz musician was Louis Armstrong (1901–1971), who was born in New Orleans and began playing professionally in that city’s jazz clubs in the early 1920s. As Armstrong’s career took off, he moved to Chicago, where he made some of his most influential recordings. These recordings helped make jazz popular with white audiences as well as black ones, and by the mid-1920s jazz was being heard all over America. The most famous bandleader of the Harlem Renaissance was Duke Ellington (1899–1974), whose orchestra recorded and performed regularly in New York City throughout the 1920s and 1930s. Ellington’s music combined elements of European classical music, blues, and ragtime into a sophisticated and uniquely American sound. Other important figures in early jazz included Jelly Roll Morton (1890–1941), Coleman Hawkins (1904–1969), Sidney Bechet (1897–1959), Fats Waller (1904–1943), Billie Holiday (1915–1959), Chick Webb (1905–1939), Benny Goodman (1909–1986), Art Tatum (1909–1956), Count Basie (1904–1984), Ella Fitzgerald (1917–1996), Roy Eldridge (1911–1989), Dizzy Gillespie ( 1917 – 1993 ), Charlie Parker(1920 – 1955 ), Thelonious Monk( 1917 – 1982 ), Miles Davis( 1926 – 1991 )and John Coltrane( 1926 – 1967 ).


The blues is a style of music that evolved out of work songs, field hollers, spirituals, and other forms of African-American folk music. The first blues records were made in the 1920s by musicians such as W.C. Handy, Ma Rainey, and Bessie Smith. The style of singing used in the blues often reflects the emotions of the singer, who may be feeling sad, angry, or sexually frustrated. The lyrics of blues songs often deal with personal relationships, poverty, and other aspects of life in the African-American community.

The blues has had a major influence on all types of American music, including jazz, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, and country music. Many of the most famous musicians in these genres got their start by playing the blues.


Gospel music is an important part of the Harlem Renaissance. It is a form of Christian music that originated in the African-American community. Gospel music is a type of soul music, and it is one of the most popular genres of music in the United States.

Gospel music has its roots in the spirituals that slave workers sang to keep their spirits up while working on plantations. After slavery was abolished, gospel became a way for African Americans to express their religious beliefs and communicate their experiences as a people. Gospel music is often based on biblical stories, and it typically has a call-and-response structure. The lyrics are usually uplifting and positive, and the music is often upbeat and joyful.

Gospel was very popular during the Harlem Renaissance, and it had a significant influence on other genres of music, including jazz and blues. Many gospel singers from this period went on to have successful careers in secular music. Mahalia Jackson, one of the most famous gospel singers of all time, was born in New Orleans in 1911 and grew up singing in church choirs. She began her career as a gospel singer in the early 1930s, and she quickly became one of the most popular performers in the genre. Jackson’s powerful voice and emotional delivery were highly influential to other singers, including Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston.

The Legacy of the Harlem Renaissance

The Harlem Renaissance was a period of time in which creativity, music, and art flourished in the African American community. This period was also a time of great social change, as African Americans fought for their rights and equality. The Harlem Renaissance left a lasting legacy on American culture, and its effects can still be seen today.

The Civil Rights Movement

The Civil Rights Movement was a time when African Americans fought for their rights to be treated equally. This was a struggle that went on for many years, and it is still something that is fought for today. The legacy of the Harlem Renaissance is one of the most important aspects of the civil rights movement. This time period was a time when African American culture and art thrived. Many famous African American artists, musicians, and writers came out of this time period. The Harlem Renaissance was a time of great pride for African Americans, and it is still remembered fondly today.

Contemporary Harlem

Harlem has undergone a renaissance in recent years, with new businesses and artistic endeavors breathing new life into the historic neighborhood. The spirit of the Harlem Renaissance is alive and well in contemporary Harlem, where the creativity and energy of the artists of that period continue to inspire new generations.

The Harlem Renaissance was a golden age for African American culture, art, and music. During this time, Harlem was the center of black life in America, and its clubs and theaters were lively venues for entertainment and socializing. Many of the most famous figures in jazz history got their start in Harlem, including Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, and Billie Holiday. The Cotton Club was one of the most iconic clubs of the era, known for its lavish parties and performances by some of the biggest names in jazz.

Today, Harlem is home to many of the same institutions that were important to the Harlem Renaissance. The Cotton Club has reopened its doors, and there are several other clubs and music venues that offer live jazz performances. The Apollo Theater is still a popular destination for concerts and comedy shows, and it continues to be a launchpad for new talent. There are also numerous art galleries and museums that showcase both classic and contemporary works by black artists.

If you want to experience the best of what Harlem has to offer, be sure to check out these contemporary hotspots that are steeped in history.

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