July Musician of the Month

July’s MOTM is CHIC. A dance band from the 70’s. CHIC stripped disco’s sound down to its basic elements; their funky, stylish grooves had an organic sense of interplay that was missing from many of their overproduced competitors. CHIC’s sound was anchored by the scratchy, James Brown-style rhythm guitar of Nile Rodgers and the indelible, widely imitated (sometimes outright stolen) bass lines of Bernard Edwards; as producers, they used keyboard and string embellishments economically, which kept the emphasis on rhythm

CHIC’s distinctive approach not only resulted in some of the finest dance singles of their time, but also helped create a template for urban funk, dance-pop, and even hip-hop in the post-disco era. They were influential in the world of music and not coincidentally, Rodgers and Edwards wound up as two of the most successful producers of the ’80s. “Good Times” was the band’s most imitated track: Queen’s number one hit “Another One Bites the Dust” was a clear rewrite, and the Sugarhill Gang lifted the instrumental backing track wholesale for the first commercial rap single, “Rapper’s Delight,” marking the first of many times that CHIC grooves would be recycled into hip-hop records. Also in 1979, Rodgers and Edwards took on their first major outside production assignment, producing and writing the Sister Sledge smashes “We Are Family” This success, in turn, landed them the chance to work with Diana Ross where they wrote and produced “Upside Down,” her first number one hit in years, as well as “I’m Coming Out.”

November’s Musician of the Month

We have had a fantastic amount of engagement from our ACE community who have suggested some fantastic artists to be included in our Musician of the Month. Thank you to everyone who shared what they listen to at home with us.

November’s Musician of the Month has been Ella Fitzgerald otherwise known as ‘The First Lady of song’. Ella Fitzgerald was the most popular female jazz singer in the US for more than half a century. She won 13 Grammys and sold over 40 million albums in her lifetime. She came from happy, but humble beginnings and after suffering the loss of her mother, she began singing, entering, and winning every competition she entered. Throughout her career, Ella would master scat singing, turning it into a form of art. Ella Fitzgerald has delighted millions with her signature combination of grace, style, and undeniable love of musicOvercoming discrimination was a significant part of her story. She was awarded the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) Equal Justice Award and the American Black Achievement Award, as well as many other honours that celebrated her talents and accomplishments both in the jazz world and in the civil rights movement. Fitzgerald was seen as an inspiration. Her drive pushed her career forward, and by using her talent and help from her friends, colleagues, and manager, she was able to break down seemingly impossible barriers.  

I would highly recommend you watch the Little People Big Dreams have a book about her life and career: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLtTxqWn7aM In Ella’s story there is mention of loss of a parent, so please be ready to have those tricky conversations and be aware of those that may have experienced/ be affected by this. Ella Fitzgerald is an artist that should be celebrated because despite traumatic childhood experiences, she managed to tap into a reserve of determinationperseverance, and undeniable talent to become the Queen of Jazz

A quick, fun activity: 

Ella is described as able to “imitate every instrument in the band.” Play a recording of a jazz band, and try to identify the instruments. Can they an imitate those sounds like Ella could? Ask your class to experiment singing with nonsensical words, like “Dubi dubi dubu daba.” Play one of Ella’s songs and ask the class what they think of her unique sound

‘It’s not where you’ve come from, but where you’re going that counts’- Ella 

Ella Fitzgerald Discography: 

Into each life some rain must fall 

A-tisket A-tasket 

Smooth Sailing 

Over the rainbow 

Cheek to cheek

Isn’t this a lovely day? 

Let’s face the music and dance

Dream a little dream of me 

Too marvellous for words 

Musician of the Month

Our musician for the month of October is Queen! 

It’s safe to say Queen have left a mark on the music world. Their music is long lasting and impactful, partly due to the unique personalities of the band members. Queen believed in pushing the limits and creating a new definition of what was considered mainstream. They often challenged the status quo of what a song was supposed to be like and they were often rejected for doing so. For a song “certain to fail” according to record company execs, Bohemian Rhapsody became the third most popular song in the history of the British charts based on sales, having reached the #1 spot in two separate decades. They still have impact today with that the film ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was made in 2018 all about the lead singer Freddie Mercury and his rise to becoming one of history’s most beloved entertainers.


The reason to celebrate Queen is because they understood that through collaboration and resilience, they could achieve virtually anything they wanted to, the individual members sacrificed a certain level of personal fame and fortune for a lasting legacy for the band as a whole.