Ya Like Jazz?

Let’s Get Jazzy! Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Jazz has been recognized as a major form of musical expression in traditional and popular music. Jazz is characterized by swing and blue notes, complex chords, call and response vocals, […]

Gospel Music

Gospel Music Gospel music is a genre of Christian music and it can be traced back to the early 17th century. Gospel music is composed and performed for purposes such as, religious and ceremonial. Hymns and sacred songs were often repeated in a call and response fashion. Most churches relied on hand clapping and foot […]

Let’s Move To Some Blues!

Let’s Talk Some Blues! Blues, secular folk music, was created by African Americans in the early 20th century. The simple but expressive forms of the blues emerged in the 1960s and was one of the most important influences on the development of popular music throughout the United States. Blues songs are lyrical rather than narrative […]

The Age of Ragtime

The Age of Ragtime Ragtime is a propulsively syncopated musical style that was the predominant style of American popular music from about 1899-1920. It was influenced by minstrel-show songs, African American banjo styles, and syncopated (off-beat) dance rhythms of the cakewalk. Scott Joplin, called the “King of Ragtime,” published the most successful of rags, “The […]

Jubilee Quartets

Jubilee Quartets Jubilee is are fast and rhythmic songs that tell a story, sometimes with syncopation. The jubilee period occurred from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century as a way for black colleges to gain support for their financial difficulties. Quartet is a sacred a cappella group of 4 voices or instruments (sometimes with […]

Negro Spirituals

Negro Spirituals Spirituals are religious music of African Americans during the time of slavery. Spirituals were originally an oral tradition that imparted Christian values while also describing the hardships of slavery. They were often embellished and they were also called either “church songs” or “jubilees” or “holy roller songs.” There are different types of Negro […]

Djembe: The West African Drum

Djembe: The West African Drum Background The djembe is a rope-tuned skin covered goblet drum played with hands, originally from West Africa. Traditional djembes are carved from a piece of hardwood and the drumhead covered by rawhide. Most highly valued ones are carved from the lenke tree and covered with goatskin. The name of the […]