What is Folk Music 

Folk music was the first raw expression of African, and African American musical enterprise that transcended the diaspora. Music around this period of the late 1700’s was used, according to our African American Music text, as a means of, “continuing African consciousness among New World slaves, even in the face of life-threatening adversity” (25). Folk music was used as a means of expression in a time where Africans and African Americans were tirelessly and aggressively stripped of their identity. Folk music was such an intrinsic aspect of African, and African American culture that when musical instruments at some points were banned, the human body, the voice, and hand clapping became focal points of the folk genre. Folk music is the starting point of every African American music genre to supersede this iconic movement; all genres stem from the steady rhythmic beats, vocal harmonies, and sense of community.

12 years a slave – Choir Song 

Our Personal Take 

In the examination of the genre immediately at the forefront of our attention was 12 Years a Slave when reading this chapter of the textbook. We thought of the integral role that music played in the way in which the stories of enslaved peoples are told. Music in a way served as a marker in time, a way of expression, and storytelling. It was interesting for me to make this connection then at the end of the chapter to see Solomon Northup’s name mentioned at the end as a key person to remember in regards to the folk genre. It was reassuring to have validation in our thought processes when it came to my personal association with what folk music was because it just goes to show the genre has lived on and maintained a lasting impression.