DeFord Bailey’s DIY Harmonicas— Friday, August 28, 4:30pm

This week’s family online event hosted by the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is DeFord Bailey’s DIY Harmonicas.

Born the grandson of slaves, DeFord Bailey contracted polio at a young age and was unable to work in the cotton fields like his relatives. Instead, the young boy spent hours developing his musical talents with the harmonica from his bed at home. By 1926, Bailey gained himself the label of “the harmonica wizard” when his instant approval on-air for the pre-Ospry Barn Dance included his playing. Bailey went on to define Black American musicianship in Southern blues and country music’s forefront programming of the Grand Ole Opry until an unfortunate falling out in 1941. Twenty-three years after his passing, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, 2005, and was the commemorated in PBS’s special “DeFord Bailey: A Legend Lost”.

Participants are required to register online before the event starts. There is no cost for the event.

Source: Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

(Friday, Aug. 28, 4:30 p.m.) Online Family Program: DeFord Bailey DIY Harmonicas
Create your own harmonica from craft sticks and rubber bands, inspired by country music’s first Black American star, DeFord Bailey, and the science of sound waves. A popular early star on the Grand Ole Opry, Bailey played the harmonica in an innovative style that was influenced by sounds around him, such as chugging trains and barking hounds. What sounds will you make on your new harmonica? Led by a museum educator on Zoom. Recommended for ages six and up, but all are welcome. Guardian is required to be present for children under thirteen.


Photo by Thomas Kelley on Unsplash