The Reshaping of a Musical Culture

Joseph Holloway writes in Africanisms in American Culture that the slaves brought with them their musical culture. That resulted in them reshaping the European American musical idiom to conform to African aesthetic standards.
That makes so much sense. Aside from the on-going separation of Blacks from mainstream society so that their speech has remained distinct, one still has to wonder how Black musicians, both folk and professional, bring to whatever genre a sensibility that is immediately apperceived as distinct despite being couched in familiar European devices like chords and harmonies not found in traditional African music. How have African-Americans retained the essence of their musical culture over the past 400 years when fresh involuntary migrants stopped arriving well over 200 years ago.
Why, for instance, did hip-hop show us, in the form of break dancing, poppin’ and lockin’, and other street dance forms found in traditional African dance. Note the origin of these forms of dance in the 70s, before wide-spread availability of videos of dance found in Africa. So it seems African-American culture has deep wells to pull from and uses those sources to impose an African style and sensibility on what the slaves found here.

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