Arizona Dranes

Arizona Dranes (1891?1963?) was one of the first gospel artists to bring the musical styles of Holiness churches' religious music to the public in her records for Okeh and performances in the 1920s. She introduced piano accompaniment to Holiness music, which had previously been largely a cappella, and accompanied herself in the barrelhouse and ragtime styles popular at the time. She is believed [to be of both African-American and Mexican descent.

Born blind in Sherman, Texas around 1891, she attended the Texas Institute for Deaf, Dumb and Blind Colored Youth in Austin from 1897 to 1910. Her correct last name is "Drane", as listed in the official enrollment record for the 1896-1897 school year at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, though she was billed as "Dranes" later in life. After graduating from the Texas Institute, she lived in Dallas and played piano for Church of God in Christ. She began recording in 1926 with OKEH Records first as a solo artist and later with choirs and various other artists and groups. Although she last recorded in 1928 , she continued touring through the 1940s. Later gospel artists, such as Roberta Martin and Clara Ward, were heavily influenced by her piano playing; Dranes' nasal singing style also had an impact on artists such as Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

Around 1920, Dranes was one of the founding members of the COGIC Church in Oklahoma City. She soon became a favored singer-pianist of the founder, Bishop Charles Mason and was well utilized in the COGIC circles. She incorporated a syncopated, ragtime style in her gospel accompaniment and soon established the songs "I Shall Wear A Crown," "My Soul's a Witness for the Lord," and "Lamb's Blood Has Washed Me Clean" as COGIC standards

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