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date: 25 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter traces the demarcation of sacred and secular space among Christian blues musicians in Memphis’s tourist music strip, Beale Street, drawing attention to the way in which the performative dynamics of sacred musical practices—particularly the ecstasy of Pentecostal worship—are mirrored in Beale Street (commercial, secular) performances by Christian blues players. However, these blues players negotiate the meanings of this circulation by individually rethinking strong notions of sacred and secular space. The chapter roots this individual redrawing of boundaries—as the blues players recognize their circulation between sacred and secular spaces—in African American theologies, in which direct and personal access to and reflection on God is a key value.

Keywords: Christianity, Memphis, African American, Pentecostal, blues, Beale Street, sacred, secular, theology, performance, USA

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