BURNING OF TULSA Q & A
Q1. What is "Burning Of Tulsa"?
A1. "Burning Of Tulsa" is a "Folk Opera" album documenting and commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacres. The songs and narrations cover many aspects of life in the Negro district of Tulsa called Greenwood or, as Booker T. Washington coined it, "Black Wall Street." It covers stories and comments of 16 people, either involved before, during, or after the riot, to include several survivors 80 to 100 years later.
Q2. What inspired you to create an album like "Burning Of Tulsa"?
A2. I was shocked and horrified to find out about the Massacres and Lynching’s of the 1920’s as a 67-year-old American. I knew immediately after reading the first book I needed to create something. I didn't know what "Something" would be at the time. Many books and many videos later, I knew that I needed to challenge myself to go outside my wheelhouse and comfort zone.
Q3. You did not know about the Massacre before May 2021?
A3. Not a single word. Same with the Red Summer, or Rosewood, Wilmington. American History Books and the American Education System don't cover anything derogatory about white Americans or any positive contributions to society by non-whites.
Q4. How many books did you read, and how many videos's did you watch to educate you on the subject?
A4. I believe I read five complete books, maybe 5 or 6 sample books, and at least 30 videos available on YouTube. I have since, watched many of those videos numerous time, searching for ideas and validation. I have the titles and links to those on my website.
Q5. Are all the songs based on factual events?
Apart from Thursday Night and Grandpa Johnson, everything is factual. Regarding Thursday Night, I couldn't find a particular Maid to write about, so I created one, although I read pieces in several books that covered all the activities on Thursday night. Grandpa Johnson was Daniel T. Coates' idea. Initially, it was the closer of the album. Although it could have been a factual person, the intro and song are entirely fabricated. Just like with Thursday night, each part of the song was found in some character from Greenwood.
Q6. Did you write all the songs yourself?
A6. That is correct. Most were written in the summer of 2021, before I had decided to create an album. However, "Black Wall Street" was written in January of this year, as I felt that was a missing element to the project.
Q7. How many different voices are on the album, and who are they? Where did you find them?
A7. In total there are five different voices. I knew I wanted African-American Gospel Singers' voices on this album to give it authenticity. I contracted Vincent Bates, Tina Spears and Dgiovahni Denize through Air Gigs. I communicated with them about the characters they were portraying. Daniel T. Coates provided two voiceover narrations.
Q8. Where was the album recorded?
A8. Several songs were recorded in Garland, Texas, at McClain's Recordings. I have recorded four previous albums with Mike McClain, and I knew I wanted his product on this album. Most of the vocal tracks and several songs were recorded and mixed in Coates Recording Barn in Üschersdorf in Bayern. Daniel T. Coates is an integral part over every single aspect of this album. I have been consulting with him since I wrote the first song. Other songs and backing tracks for the narrations were recorded in my home studio in Helmbrechts.
Q9. What are your plans regarding distribution and promotion for the album?
A9. Primary distribution is the Historical Societies of Tulsa, the various NAACP organizations in Tulsa and the state headquarters of Oklahoma. Also to several of churches in Tulsa, especially the AME Church of Tulsa. Secondary distribution is to the Book Authors and those key individuals quoted in the various videos I’ve watch. Distribution to some of the descendants of victims and survivors is planned. Thirdly, I will distribute the album to various Historical Societies and Germany and other countries in Europe
Q10. What are your expectations of positive or negative feedback regarding the album?
A10. I am certainly hopeful for positive feedback, but I also understand that a “White Southern Man” writing an album about a Race Massacre may raise eyebrows. But the award winning author, Scott Ellworth, is white!! Most often the response is “I had no idea of this”, so I feel fortunate to help educate the public on this American Racist Tragedy and Coverup!!
Q11. Is “Burning Of Tulsa” available to the public to buy?
A11. This is a non-profit album. Physical CD’s will not be available for purchase. It will be available on worldwide steaming services such as Spotify. The public can download the complete album free of charge with a link from my website.
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