Who Was Amanda Aldridge?

Amanda Ira Aldridge, also known by her musical pseudonym Montague Ring, was born in 1866 to Ira Aldridge and Amanda von Brandt, a self-styled Swedish countess. She was a graduate of voice and composition at the Royal College of Music in London. She made her debut as an opera singer, but because of a throat problem, she was forced to limit her performance appearances. She focused more on teaching and publishing works under the pseudonym Montague Ring after that.

Sadly, three of Amanda’s four siblings passed away at a young age, and by 1921 she was solely taking care of her sister Luranah because her health had declined.

Aldridge was a prolific composer, publishing around 30 love songs. She also wrote more music that was inspired by a variety of genres. Her music drew on her black heritage, with songs such as Three African Dances, whose rhythm was influenced by West African drumming. Her romantic parlour compositions often adapted the works of black American poets mixed with rhythms of the genre.

She trained some of the world’s most renowned African-British, British-Caribbean, and African-American celebrities in music and drama, including Marian Anderson (U.S. contralto) and Lawrence Benjamin Brown (Florida singer/composer).

Aldridge’s favourite genre for a number of her compositions was parlour music, which was popular among British middle-class families during the mid and late 1800s. It is characterized by light, sentimental songs that were often played on the piano or guitar.

Aldridge was a highly skilled musician, and her talents extended beyond composition. Her lyrics were emotional and expressed what people felt while the melodies were easy to remember and play on different instruments.

She died in 1956.

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