BLACK MUSIC MONTH

 

African Drumming

The history of Black Music in America actually has its roots in the heart of the Mother Land – Africa – with the sound of drums. Drums were a form of communication. One of the foremost instrumentalists to come out of Africa is Nigerian drummer Babatunde Olatunji. The influences of African Drumming can be heard through the music of such artists as Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria and Billy Cobham. Read more...

Worksongs, Spirituals, Gospel

When slaves were captured and brought to the United States of America, they were given menial labor. Drums were banned for fear slaves would use them for communication during rebellions. Slaves then relied on their vocal chords to make music. African Americans are a resourceful people and started singing Spirituals, also known as work songs, while breaking their backs in southern cotton fields. It is a fact that Spirituals are a musical form that is indigenous and specific to the highs, lows and religious experiences in the United States for Africans transported from Africa. The first Spiritual recording was by the Fisk Jubilee Singers in 1909. Read more...

The Blues

African Americans left hot southern fields and found they did not have much money or anyone to love.  So they would sing.  That was the birth of the Blues.  A forceful vocal delivery and command of the genre earned Bessie Smith the title “Empress of the Blues.” Robert Johnson was a delta blues guitarist considered by some to the Grandfather of Rock and Roll. But if you listen to his songs, they were definitely the blues.  Howling Wolf was really good at telling everyone about the blues.  Our people seemed to have a song of woe in their souls because the person they love loves someone else.  But somehow a person could make it as long as they could sing about it.  Muddy Waters had his own way of trying to attract his woman.  At about this time Black music was felt deep down in the souls of everyone.  So much so that white folks would go to the African American parts of town and listen to soulful music sung by someone like Big Mama Thornton and make the same song a hit on the pop side of the charts. Read more...