Sonny Terry was a Piedmont blues musician most famous for his style of harmonica playing; he liked to whoop and holler a lot!

Born in Georgia, America’s Deep South, Terry didn’t take long to start playing the harmonica. His dad taught him from a young age, and as soon as he was old enough he began hollering over his harmonica on street corners. It wasn’t long before Terry met his long-time friend and guitarist Blind Boy Fueller, and the pair quickly went on to bag a record deal in the Big Apple: New York City.

From there, Terry whooped his way to the top. By the 50’s he was travelling extensively outside New York, recording with folk legends like Woodie Guthrie, even acting on Broadway and TV!

Terry and Fueller also appealed to people of all colours, making them even more popular. By the 60’s they were performing at folk and blues festivals right around the world.

Part of what makes Terry so entertaining is his unique style of harmonica playing, which adds in whoops and hollers to make it all the more fun. Sometimes, he even made the sounds of trains or fox hunts, which is what you can hear in this piece!

About this Contributor

Given name
Saunders
Family name
Teddell
Death date
1986
Nationality
American
Contributor type
Artist
Minutes created
Black History Month #16

Minutes by Sonny Terry

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