Music frames black history

bk davis on stageFats Domino was once quoted as saying that before there was the first era of rock’n’roll, black people were in New Orleans rocking.

For Salem composer BK Davis, there is no better way to trace black history than though  black music.

“All American music stems from basically slave music and early rock’n’roll,” he said. “You can still find traces of it in today’s rap music.”

On Saturday, in honor of Black History Month, the BK Davis Singers will perform gosel, jazz and pop in a Black History Celebration, sponsored by Pauline Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church.

The program, which includes music, poetry and speeches, is from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Salem Civic Center and is free to the public.

“There are diffreent solo artists from the Portland area that will electrify the audience,” he said.

Davis, 28, said that his objective Composer BK Davis. was to create more demand and awareness and visibility of what’s called black, gospel or Afro-American music. “Lets get all the musicians together and have a feast,” he said when he was approached by the Rev. Odell Thompson to perform at the Black History Celebration.

Davis said that it was important for blacks to know about their Afro-American heritage.

“To know what you stand for is a very important element in art,”  he said. “Sometimes when you hear music and you are not told who the writer is, you just know who it is You just know.”

Davis moved to Salem from Glendale, Calif., in October 1987.

Davis said that during his first week here, he was busy putting together what is now the 25-member BK Davis Singers.

He said his goal was to bring gospel music to the Northwest.

Through his company, Davis Copyrighting and Publishing Service, he offers commercial composition, copyrighting and performance, he said,

In the past, Davis has worked  on projects Bobby Lyle, who is Anita Baker’s conductor, Billy Preston, Little Richard, B.B. King and Frankie Avalon.

Although he promotes gospel music, Davis said he is not honed into any particular style.

“Music is music,” he said. “It’s really all the same. It just depends on how you treat it.”


By Patricia Feeny
Of the Statesman-Journal

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