Mudcat Café message #2315603 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #110403   Message #2315603
Posted By: Azizi
14-Apr-08 - 05:58 PM
Thread Name: Law Officers in Songs &Children's Rhymes
Subject: RE: Law Officers in Songs &Children's Rhymes

This is definitely off-topic, but re-watching the video of The Fairfield Four singing "Po Lazarus", I'm stuck by how their percussive foot stomping, handclapping, and body slaps sound so much like the sounds made by step teams that are part of African American Greek [letter] fraternity & sororities.

Before I saw this video, it occurred to me that the body patting that some of these university based fraternities & sororitues do is a survival of the 19th century {and probably earlier} music custom of pattin' juba. But I hadn't realized that old time gospel groups accompanied their singing with foot stomps also {and they were doing that long before steppin came on the scene-around the 1960s.

Of course, there are a lot of differences between step show performances and gospel singers stomping their feet while singing. The main difference is that the fraternities & sororities move across the floor, while the gospels singers stand in place. But still, I wonder if anyone else has noted this connection?

Here's a link to a university based fraternity step team:
Iota Phi Theta, Inc


In the last ten years or so step teams have become a feature of some high schools, community centers, and churches. Here's a link to a short video of a co-ed community step team:
a high school or community step team-no name given


I should also note that steppin' isn't limited to only predominately African American university and non-university organizations. Since the 1990s, an increasing number of Latino, Asian, and White organizations on the university level and outside universities arre fielding competitive step teams.