Jazz Research Journal, Vol 13, No 1-2 (2019)

‘Mississippi, My Home’: Songwriting, identity and everyday aesthetics in the African-American tradition

Josep Pedro, Begoña Gutiérrez-Martínez
Issued Date: 14 Feb 2020


This article focuses on the analysis of 'Mississippi, My Home', a blues composition byAfrican-American singer Lavelle White, which posits key issues about the meaningsof home, identity, and everyday aesthetics. Presented as a true story, the song dealswith the idea of returning home to Mississippi. It represents everyday life in a plantationthrough the bond between the narrator and her mother while picking cotton. Therefore,it introduces the listener to an aesthetic of everyday life that combined blues, work songs, and spirituals. Drawing on a personal interview with the artist, as well as on othersources, we will analyse the song as part of a broader interest in the musical discourseof blues. Exploring the song's text and context, the aim is to reach a complex understandingabout the ways in which biography and fiction intertwine with each other in thecreative act of songwriting and musical performance.

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DOI: 10.1558/jazz.39374


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