Negro Folk Rhymes Wise & Otherwise - online book

A detailed study of Negro folk music, includes lyrics & sheet music samples.

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William H. Sheppard's "Presbyterian Pioneers in Congo" and read on page 136 the author's descrip­tion of the behavior of the Africans in Lukenga's Land on the day following the death of one of their fellow tribesmen. It reads in part as follows: "The next day friends from neighboring villages joined with these and in their best clothes danced all day. These dances are to cheer up the bereaved family and to run awTay evil spirits." Dr. Sheppard also tells us that in one of the tribes in Africa where he labored, a kind of funnel was pushed down into the grave and down this funnel food was dropped for the deceased to feed upon. I have heard from other missionaries to other parts of Africa similar accounts. The minute you suppose the Rhyme "When My Wife Dies" to have had its origin in Africa, the whole thought content is explained. Of course the stanza concerning the pickling of the bones in alcohol is probably of American origin but I doubt not that the thought of the "key verses" came from Africa.
These Rhymes whose thought content I have just discussed I consider only illustrative of the many Rhymes wThose thought drift came from Africa.
Many of the Folk Rhymes fall under the heading commonly denominated "Nature Rhymes." By ac-