sábado, 9 de noviembre de 2013


After WWI, the USA is living its “Golden Age”, or as many call it, “the Roaring Twenties”. At that moment it seemed too easy for anyone to become rich through risky loans on stock and worthless real estate deals.

Parallel to this, it comes the birth of a new music style: jazz, which explains why the 20’s were baptized as the “Jazz Age”. These recently-born sounds developed in New Orleans and immediately after they travel all over the country, spreading so over any corner of the country. Jazz is based on African-American music, including traditional African rhythms, folk songs, gospel music, the blues and ragtime. Curiously, the first band which played jazz was King Oliver’s Dixie Syncopators, who opened the gateway to new-coming crooners such as Frank Synatra, Tony Bennett or more contemporary artists like the Canadian Michael Bublé.
Illegal clubs called “speakeasies” proliferate. There, women with a more liberal mindset who used to wear mini-skirts, cloche hats, feathers or smoked pipes (the famous “flappers”) practiced Charleston and Lindy dances. 

Other cultural areas such as literature or movies also progress. It’s the time for “silent films”, faithfully interpreted by iconic figures like Charles Chaplin, who together with other film stars, developed their careers in the motion-picture capital of the world: Hollywood. Moreover, the year 1927 is the milestone for the first "talkie", The Jazz Singer.
However, as ying-yang, the twenties had its ups and downs and America could not end up the century without some sort of suffering.  It is a “Black Tuesday” in the month of March 1929 when the Wall Street Market Crash took place. From then on, banks closed (at least 28 states didn’t have an open bank), unemployment arose unstoppably, and people’s houses, farms and other properties were confiscated: The Great Depression has just started.
Together with this, the USA fate had something else ready for the country: huge dust storms which lasted even complete days devasted thousands of acres over the area of the Great Plains, covering the states of Oklahoma, Texas or Kansas. This became popular as “the Dust Bowl”. Consequently, around 1936, a mass exodus to the West occurred. More than 250,000 “Okies” and “Arkies” were obliged to pack all their properties and leave their ranches in search of hope and work in the West, the so called “American Dream”. Steinbeck perfectly accounts for this historical fact in his magnificent novel The Grapes of Wrath, which was adapted for film some years later. It is worthy of mention that just a century before, half million people had harshly traveled to the West following exactly the same route in search of hope. They were the famous “gold searchers”.

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