It comes as no surprise that few have heard of Sister Rosetta Tharpe as few women are acknowledged for their influence on American music and even fewer Black women. Tharpe was a musician, an electric guitar-playing wonder who played in clubs and venues in the 1930’s and 40’s. Her exploration of rhythms and new take on gospel music did not play well with church-going audiences, at least when they were in church so she found her audiences elsewhere.
The likes of Jimi Hendrix, Chuck Berry and Elvis have all mentioned her influence on them, but for most, she is an unknown. Now that may change as playwright George Brandt has written a new musical called Marie and Rosetta.