Napoleon Strickland

Napoleon Strickland (October 1, 1919 – July 21, 2001), sometimes known as Napolian Strickland, was a fife and drum blues artist, and songwriter, and vocalist specializing in country blues, specifically North Mississippi Hill Country Blues. He also played guitar, drums, harmonica, fife, and all manner of percussion instruments.

Born near Como east of the Mississippi Delta in hill country, Napoleon Strickland learned music as a boy from his father. Later Othar Turner taught him how to play. He became adept with guitar, drums, harmonica, diddley bow, fife, and all manner of percussion. He was primarily a fife player and singer, playing a great number of festivals. He also performed on several compilation albums of North Mississippi Hill Country Blues, as the music was recorded in the late 20th century. He appeared in the biopic documentary film, The Land Where The Blues Began.

Strickland was considered by many to have been the premier fife player of his genre. He made a living as a sharecropper for most of his life, mentoring other musicians in the region. After a car accident, he was committed to a nursing home but continued to play for guests from his bed.