This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll learn about one of the state’s first African-American folklorists.
Maud Cuney-Hare was born in Galveston, Texas, on February 16, 1874. Her father, Norris Wright Cuney, was chairman of the Texas Republican Party and one of the most prominent African-American politicians in the South. During the 1890s, Maud studied at the New England Conservatory of Music before returning to Texas to teach. She devoted much of her time to the musical folklore of French-speaking African Americans living along the Texas- Louisiana border. These black creoles, who were the descendants of French-owned slaves, blended African and French musical influences into what would eventually become known as zydeco.
During the 1920s and 1930s, Maud Cuney-Hare published books on African-American music, wrote a column for the NAACP journal The Crisis, and authored a biography about her famous father.
Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll resin up the bow with one of Western swing’s jazziest fiddlers.