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Guitar Gabriel - Axel Kustner

On April 2, 1996 Guitar Gabriel died of natural causes. He was born in 1924, the son of an itinerant bluesman/sharecropper in rural Georgia. Gabriel lived hard, travelled constantly and saw a great deal in his life. Gabe was a profound artist who dedicated his entire life to music. He was the original inspiration to create this foundation. No one spoke more eloquently about the blues than Gabe. Here are a few words he left us with: "When I make other people happy, then I am happy. About music--it keeps you out of violence. Blues is special because it takes a lot of animosity out of your heart."

Music is a difficult thing if you do not understand it. Music is a feeling. If you can't feel what you are doing you can't do it. If you don't like what you are doing you are not going to do it. You can do it, but you won't be good at it. Like a preacher. You take a city preacher, he'll say, "Ladies and gentlemen." No one wants to hear that shit. You get one of those old country preachers--he will start screaming. He is going to do it from his heart. Make them feel what you feel. Once you do that you are all right. Other than that... you might as well hang it up.

I'm good but I don't brag it. I am not afraid to get in front of anybody. I know I am good. When you know something you do not have to ask nobody. As long as I feel it in my heart that I am good, I am good. I have played so much guitar it could make your ass hurt.

Blues is something that you do not find in no notes. You don't find it on paper. It is something which is in your heart. You got to feel it to do it. If you live it you know what I'm talking about. Sometimes we can be happy, sometimes we can be blue. It's only what life chooses for you. You can wake up in the morning going to your job, doing your daily occupation. Twenty-four hours or eight hours. That's the blues. When things don't go right, seems like everything you do is wrong, that's the blues. You can be in your home and have the blues. You can be on the train. You can get it, too. That's the blues. Or you can be in New York City with over 20 million people and have the blues, that's what I'm talking about. That's the blues. It explains your mishappenings, it explains your misfortunes, it explains your ups and downs. That's what life chooses, you know. Now blues ain't nothing but a feeling. It's either you have or you don't. It is something that God gives you. Men can't take it away. You know sometime we can be happy, sometime we can be blue, you go down in the wilderness you see little birds cheeping, they got it too. That's the blues... Back in Africa before my time, they used to take a paper sack and play the blues. Yeah. So to experience life, it will tell you all about that, too... My hat is an African hat. And what it is, it brings the story about the culture that you have been through. The things that you have been through. The things that you have seen in life and the trouble that you have experienced, and the people you have been around. So, it kind of gives you the flavor of the blues... so whenever you wear this hat, it gives you a feeling of what you are representing. Anything that you take on to do, got to have a basing to let people know what it is and what it stands for. You can drive a Cadillac but if it don't got Cadillac on it and people don't know what the car is, they still don't know what it is you are driving. So, that is the same thing. That is the story behind that.

Blues will never die because it is a spirit. It is an uplift and the way you feel it, that is the way it is. And it brings a lot of joy to people. Music is made to make happiness, make you smile and forget your troubles. In the Good Book it says to make a joyful noise, just as long as you make one. So that is about the size of it. That is what we are trying to do."

-Guitar Gabriel

Music Maker Relief Foundation, Inc.,4052 Summer Lane, Hillsborough, NC 27278
Email: Tel:919 643 2456 Fax:919 643 2597

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