reply to posts by tanda7 and
Originally posted by tanda7
What about hill country music? wouldn't that be Irish roots?
Are you talking about Appalachian folk ballads, that kind of thing? The roots of country music?
The origins of all American folk and popular music lie in Africa, but the influence of Africa reached the New World by at least two routes, one far
older and more devious than the other.
The newer and better-known of these is what we might call the direct route. West African music – the music of the Niger river delta and the
semi-desert lands above it – travelled to America (both North and South) aboard the slave-ships of the Middle Passage. That is because the slaver
kingdoms of the West African littoral – Benin, Dahomey and the rest – supplied white slave-traders with stock from that region. When they
kidnapped and sold their neighbours to the slave-traders, they sold the music as well. This is the well-known origin of the blues and other forms of
music that grew directly from the Atlantic slave trade. But such musical forms are never purely African: the compositional structure of the blues
comes from European folk music, and of course the instruments on which it is played were all perfected in Europe (except, of course, for steel-strung
acoustic and electric guitars, which are native to the United States).
The older and less obvious route comes out of East and North Africa, not West, and passes through Europe before it reaches America. Since the time of
the Caliphs, Arab slave-traders worked the East African coast from their ports at Dar-Es Salaam, Zanzibar and elsewhere. The Africans they took, like
the ones who would be taken from West Africa almost a thousand years later, carried their music with them and spread it throughout the Muslim empire,
which at the time was the largest and fastest-expanding in the world. From these roots arose the plucked-string instruments that evolved into the oud,
which evolved into the lute, which became the guitar; as well as the musical structures that would later inform much of European folk music. When you
listen to flamenco or any Latin American music, you are hearing that Arab/African influence in the tonality and rhythm; however, another influence is
mixed in with this, that of the Roma or 'gypsies', who are originally from northwestern India.
Meanwhile, North Africa had also become a fully integrated part of the Muslim world, making its own musical and cultural contributions to pan-Islamic
These mediaeval Arab musical influences, drawn in turn from East African roots, entered European culture through the Arab conquest and occupation of
Spain (which lasted over 700 years) and also through the returning Crusaders and the troubadours
who adapted Middle Eastern musical influences into a genre of musical poetry that would sweep the courts of mediaeval Europe. Meanwhile, Arab-African
influence also permeated the folk songs of the European commonweal. You can hear these influences in the strange minor keys and odd time signatures of
some European folk music, as well as in the use of Arab-derived (originally African-derived) instruments such as the lute (guitar) and the
The Irish and Anglo-Celtic folk music traditions both show signs of these influences. And they are, of course, the ancestors of Appalachian music and
its cousins, and hence of country music.
A little of old Africa goes a long, long way.
Originally posted by DaphneApollo
But, they were also changed from their experiences, harsh treatment here and the Blues were born.
Sure. The blues is not West African griot music; it is a unique thing. The flower is not the root, though it withers when sundered from it.
edit on 16/8/12 by Astyanax because: of North Africa.