Obama Music, By Bonnie Greer

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The Independent Culture

Bonnie Greer is a "south-sider" from Chicago, where Barack Obama made his political home – and, she says, coming from the south side means keeping it real, not forgetting your roots, and carrying blues music in your soul.

There is a sense that Greer is using this partly musical memoir to warn Obama (a man she admits she didn't at first warm to, too suspicious was she of his smooth ways and Harvard intonations) not to forget the lessons of the south side, or the people who have put him where he is: there is too great a history here, in what people have suffered and what they have overcome, for that part of the city to be forgotten.

Greer expertly weaves in memories of her own upbringing in Chicago, with more humour than you might expect, along with a clear, defined passion for the music she grew up listening to. She wants to show, too, how both the place she lived in, and the songs she listened to, were full of unseen boundaries that had held people back – but also gave them something to fight against.