Mudcat Café message #1884873 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #96348   Message #1884873
Posted By: Azizi
13-Nov-06 - 02:45 PM
Thread Name: Why do our songs last so long ?
Subject: RE: Why do our songs last so long ?
GUEST,Jack Campin,

I found your comments on Iranian chanting during political demonstrations to be very interesting. I'd love to know more.

I'd also love to be able to answer the question you directed to me about the possible survival of African American music from the 18th century {or even earlier for that matter-since the first enslaved Africans came to the USA in 1619}. However, answering that question is far beyond my capability.

That said, I'm gonna try to answer it anyhow.


I believe that the religious chants of the Nigerian {Yoruba}, Benin religion of Orisha Vodoun {erroneously called Vodoo}have survived for 200 years plus in the United States {and in the Caribbean, and Brazil}. For an example of such a chant, see this Youtube video


With regard to secular music, rather than the lyrics and tunes of particular songs surviving, I think that one can point with a great deal of assurance to the survival of the way songs are structured, the way particular musical instruments are played, the types of body stance and body movements that are used in dancing, and the way other performance activities occur.

See this quote about the survival of African musical traditions in the United States:

"The record shows that African musical traditions survived in some places. Occasional reports from travelers, tutors, and British officers mention musical practices in the rural South that clearly had African origins. African traditions flourished in well-documented public celebrations by slaves on election days and Pentecost in the North, and weekly at Congo Square in New Orleans."