Folk & Traditional Music of the Western Continents

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AFRICAN MUSIC SOUTH OF THE SAHARA 119
Moreover, there is a large area of borderline cultures that are related to both the Negro and the North African societies. But the area north and immediately east of the Sahara and the Sahara itself are inhabited by peoples whose culture and music have been under the influence of Islamic culture for centuries. Their music sounds similar to Arabic music, and it is better discussed in the volume on Asian music in this series. The area South of the Sahara, on the other hand, strange as it may sound to those of us used to hearing only European music, seems to have some very general stylistic similarities with the latter. But the most obvious reason for including African Negro music in this volume is its close relationship to the music of Negro groups in the Americas.
The part of Africa discussed here—and, for the sake of brevity, we will call it simply "Africa" from now on—is composed of (or was, before parts of it became thoroughly Westernized) four cul­ture areas, each of which has a good deal of homogeneity, and each of which contrasts in some rather specific ways with its neighbors. The western part of the very tip of Southern Africa is called the Khoi-San area, and it is inhabited by the Bushmen and Hottentots. The Bushmen are a somewhat different group, racially, from Ne­groes, shorter and lighter skinned; the Hottentots are evidently the result of a racial mixture between Bushmen and Negroes. The► Khoi-San area has a simple culture dependent mainly on nomadic gather­ing of food.
The eastern part of our Africa, from Ethiopia southward, is called the Eastern Cattle Area. Its cultures are complex and revolve about cattle, which is the chief item of economic goods and the sym­bol of wealth. Some of the tribes are warlike; some, such as the Masai and Watusi, are very tall and rule over neighboring tribes of smaller stature.
The southern coast of the western extension of the continent, which includes Ghana, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, and Liberia, is known as the Guinea Coast. This area lacks cattle and is characterized by elaborate political organization which, before the imposition of European rule, gave rise to powerful kingdoms. Carved masks of great beauty are also typical here. The Congo area, north of the Khoi-San area and centered in the Congo republics, has to some ex­tent a combination of Eastern Cattle and Guinea Coast traits. It in­cludes a number of Pygmy and Negrito tribes who live in relative







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