OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - Faye Carol has traveled the world singing jazz, blues, R&B, you name it. But at Yoshi's in Oakland Tuesday, during this celebration of Black History Month, Carol was also a teacher.
Her audience? Hundreds of Oakland middle school students.
"I'm going to sing you our story that goes down through the ages," she told the crowd.
For a full hour Carol, who lives in Berkeley, sang from the American songbook of black musicians, from blues to gospel and from ragtime to Motown.
Carol and her piano player Joe Warner received a grant from the City of Oakland cultural fund to perform two shows for student highlighting the contribution to music by African Americans.
"The music they have, they wouldn't have it without this music. And seeing how it is Black History Month we thought we would give them a trip of music through the ages," said Carol during an interview.
Carol has been performing ever since she won a talent contest in Oakland as a teenager in the 1960s.
She has shared stages with musical icons including Marvin Gaye and especially Ray Charles.
"He was one of my biggest influences. He let me know i didn't have to have boundaries. I don't have to have boundaries. I can do the blues. Or cabaret or bee-bop. Just a plethora of music," she said.
Carol has recorded albums, received the City of Berkeley Lifetime Achievement award, and has worked tirelessly to expose young people to music.
"She has made a life out of taking her culture and her music and sharing it with people in the school system, sharing it with people in East Oakland, West Oakland, Pittsburgh. Going into the jails and performing for people," said Warner.
"Wherever you go in life you have someone who loves you and her name is Faye Carol
Students say they appreciate her message.
"If you don't remember anything from the past, you don't have a future," said one sixth grade boy.
"I like it, especially the blues," said a sixth grade girl.