4 March 2024

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This week it's all about: Soul & Motown

One a genre, one a record label from Detroit. Soul music is a genre of African American pop music that led to many later genres, from funk and dance music to hip hop and contemporary R&B. It developed in the USA in the late 1950s from African American church music called ‘gospel music’. After slavery ended in 1865, African Americans weren't welcome in the churches of white Americans, so they built their own churches and sang Christian songs with African-American vocal styles and rhythms. They sang joyful, up-tempo gospel songs while clapping and moving to the beat, and they sang slower gospel songs that expressed deep feelings like yearning for God's love.  

The most popular style of soul music in the early-60s was Motown's pop soul. In 1959, Motown Records launched in the northern city of Detroit, Michigan. The word comes from a portmanteau of ‘Motor’ and ‘Town’ as Detroit was the home of the Ford motor company. The rhythms of Motown songs were familiar for white listeners to hear and dance to by playing tambourine and rhythm guitar on the second and fourth beats of each bar. They also had female singers like Diana Ross and The Supremes use female pop-music voices instead of their natural bluesy voices of such as Etta James.

Some of Motown's best singles include ‘You've Really Got a Hold on Me’ and ‘The Tracks of My Tears’ by The Miracles, ‘Uptight (Everything's Alright)’ by Stevie Wonder and ‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine’ by Marvin Gaye. Motown's biggest hit was ‘I'll Be There by The Jackson 5’, featuring an 11-year-old Michael Jackson on lead vocals.  

We will run this theme for two weeks whilst the mock exams continue, as playing time will be a little more intermittent.

MaBaL (music at break and lunch) is music played through the school's speaker system during break and lunch.  Chosen by Mr Taylor, Lead Teacher for Music, this is designed to offer exposure to the curriculum in different ways, and support pupils' appreciation of music.

The focus is on one theme each week across a genre, a country or from history.  The theme could also link to the season, festival or an event in school, such as a performing arts production.  Any further suggestions are welcomed - pupils should see Mr Taylor or email a.taylor@priory.lancs.sch.uk 

Tags: Music Culture