Chicago kids sing the blues with Billy Branch

June 30, 2010 4:40:25 PM PDT
Blues artist Billy Branch helped some Chicago children find their own voices Wednesday.The three-time Grammy nominated artist worked with youngsters from the Better Boys Foundation. They recorded a CD with him.

Branch has been teaching the kids about the blues in an after-school program. On Wednesday morning, nine of his students joined him at a record studio to be part of an album.

"What I like about this is I learned how to sing and play the harmonica," said Quartlin Taylor, Better Boys Foundation.

"I learned all about the blues," said Julian Gallardo, Better Boys Foundation.

The song will appear on Volume 2, Chicago Blues, A Living history. Volume One was a Grammy nominated CD.

"The blues is African-American cultural heritage. The kids by learning the importance of the blues it gives them identity. It gives them a sense of being," said Billy Branch, international artist. "They can say my people are the ones that are responsible for America's gift to the world."

"They can say my people are the ones that are responsible for this American gift to the world."

A municipality in France is funding this project because they believe that blues is a powerful medium for bridging racial strife and diversity.

"They are interested in supporting the blues and supporting the music and creating a bridge between Chicago and their city with the music," said Larry Skoller, project director and producer.

It only took a couple of attempts before the song was ready to record.

"This is amazing because I never got to record my voice in a studio," said Tanzania Covington, Better Boys Foundation.

"They came through and they got it? in a lot of cases I don't think a lot kids realize their potential," said Branch.


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