Afro-American Folksongs - online book

A Study In Racial And National Music, With Sample Sheet Music & Lyrics.

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Coupon Codes



Share page  Visit Us On FB



Previous Contents Next
AFRO-AMERICAN FOLKSONGS
the popular notion in the United States that a Creole is a Louisiana negro is erroneous. Friedenthal discusses the origin of the word and its application in the introduction to his book "Musik, Tanz und Dichtung bei den Kreolen Amerikas." The Spanish word criollo, from which the French Creole is derived, is a derivation from the verb criar, to create, bring up, breed. From this root other words are derived; not only substantives like cria (brood), crianza (education, bringing up), criatura, criador, etc., but also criada (servant), which in other languages has a very different etymology (Diener, serviteur, domestique, servo, etc.). The term criado is a relic of the old patriarchal system, under which the servants of the household were brought up by the family. Children of the servants became servants of the children of the master. So on the plan­tations of the Southern States slaves were set apart from childhood to be the playmates and attendants of the children of the family. Criollo also signifies things bred at home but born in foreign lands, and thus it came about that the Spaniard called his children born in foreign lands criollos; and as these foreign lands were chiefly the American colonies, the term came to be applied first to the white inhabitants of the French and Spanish colonies in America and only secondarily to the offspring of mixed marriages, regardless of their comparative whiteness or blackness.
When Lafcadio Hearn was looking up Creole music for me in New Orleans in the early 8o's of the last century, he wrote in one of his letters: "The Creole songs which I have heard sung in the city are Frenchy in construction, but possess a few African characteristics of method. The darker the singer the more marked the oddities of into­nation. Unfortunately, most of those I have heard were quadroons or mulattoes." In another letter he wrote: "There could neither have been Creole patois nor Creole melodies but for the French and Spanish blooded slaves of Louisiana and the Antilles. The melancholy, quavering beauty and weirdness of the negro chant are lightened by the French influence, or subdued and deepened by the Spanish." Hearn was musically illiterate, but his powers
[ 134]
Previous Contents Next







E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III