Folk Song Of The American Negro - Online Book

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CHAPTER I.
African Song.
"Woman singt, da lass dicfo ruhig nieder Bose mensclien haben keine Meder.'
T HIETY centuries ago, amidst the dawning civilization of the Mediterranean shores, science taught that the earth was a cir�cular disc surrounded by the ocean. Contemporaneous legends told of the swarthy Ethiopians living in two divisions; one in the extreme East, the land of the rising sun, and the other in the extreme West, the land of the setting sun. Consequently the Ethiopians dwelt in perpetual light.
This light was symbolic of their own souls; pure, bright, and happy. So worthy were they that the Gods from Olympus honored them with regular visits. Homer in narrating these events calls them the "blameless Ethiopians," and Vergil speaks of the black Memnono, the King of the Ethiopians, � as the son of Aurora, the Goddess of the Morning and of Light.
Euthless centuries have not overcast that brightness, not have they destroyed the soul happiness of the Son of Light. His soul is a song. He expresses his every experience, his whole life, in terms of melody and he passes through the Valley of the Shadow of Death with a song upon his lips. Studied through his music, the African, living in cruel savagery and black heathenism, becomes less a savage, less a heathen, for he sings a song intensely human which strangely touches human hearts. This savage, this heathen, sings of the har�vest, of love, of life, of death, and of the god whom he elects to serve.
The songs of the tribes differ as tribal life differs. This difference however, is not important, for in the essentials all the songs are won�derfully the same. Mountains, rivers, forests, valleys, lakes, plains, �in fact, all natural surroundings and manifestations,�make their distinct impressions upon the tribes and in some marked respects render them different. But in the deep life forces there is oneness. This difference and this oneness are both clearly portrayed in the music of the African,,
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III