Curiosities of Music - online book

Rare facts about the music traditions of many nations & cultures

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260                  CURIOSITIES OF MUSIC.
of the performance, and beating time to every note by nodding their heads."
" There is a singular class of piofessional musicians who make their appearance decked out in the most fantastic way, with feathers, and covered with a promiscuous array of bits of wood and roots, and all the pretentious emblems of magical art, the feet of earth-pigs, the shell of tortoises, the beaks of eagles, the claws of birds, and teeth in every variety. Whenever one of this fraternity presents himself, he at once begins to recite all the details of his travels and experiences, in an emphatic recitative, and never forgets to conclude by an appeal to the liberality of his audience, and to remind them that he looks for a reward either of rings of copper, or of beads."*
"With some slight differences these men may be found throughout Africa; almost everywhere they are sought for and their talents enjoyed, but they themselves held in contempt. Among the Nyam-Nyams, their appellation in itself ("Nzan-gah") implies contempt, being similar to that which is applied to despised and outcast women.
Contrary to the custom of almost all other savages, the Nyam-Nyams delight most in gentle music; some of the minstrels sing so softly that it is impossible to hear them a few yards off. The light Mandolin accompaniment is in good accord with this pianissimo style of music.
Their dances, given by male and female per­formers, are wonderfully swift, intricate and pleasant.
* Schweinfurth, Heart of Africa, T. 2, p. 80.

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