Folk & Traditional Music of the Western Continents

The folk & traditional music of Europe, Africa & the Americas explored.

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

Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
greater degree of African style than have those of the surrounding farms and plantations.
When discussing the amount of African residue in American Negro music we must not forget, however, that this material has itself influenced the white and Indian repertories throughout the continents to a considerable degree, and that the Negro communities in some areas of the New World—particularly the Caribbean—pro­vide the basic musical style on which the other groups base their musical traditions.
Negro music in Latin America
In Latin America, African musical elements are most strongly preserved in the music of various cults involving deities that have been transferred from the West African homeland and whose char­acter has changed in the process. West African religions, typically, involve a pantheon of major and lesser deities, each of which had a cult developed about itself, with characteristic ceremonies, songs, and drum rhythms. These cults were developed further in the Ameri­cas, sometimes taking on a semi-Christian character through the as­similation of a Roman Catholic saint into the personality of the African god. And since members of different tribes and nations from Africa were often thrown together on plantations and in the cities in South America and the Caribbean, these cults sometimes became the bases and expressions of national and tribal groupings. In Bahia (Brazil), these cult groups are called candomble. According to Mer-riam,2 the following are among the important Bahian cult groups: Ketu and Jesha (derived from the Yoruba of Nigeria); Congo An­gola (from the Congo area); Gege (from Dahomey); and Caboclo, Guarani, and Caboclo Guar am (derived from indigenous Indian re­ligious beliefs and practices combined with some of those from West Africa).
In Haiti, similar kinds of cults exist; among them are Vodoun (origin of the word "voodoo"), which is built around the religious practices of Nigerian and Dahomean tribes; Ibo, named after a Ni­gerian tribe; Salongo; Juba, essentially a social dance which once had
2 Alan P. Merriam, "Songs of the Ketu Cult of Bahia, Brazil," African Music I, no. 3 (1956), 54-55.

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