Diving into Folk Music- Amber Jones & Alyssia Santiago

Folk music is a traditional form of rural music in America and Europe. Folk music is passed through generations of families and friends. Furthermore, folk music is learned through hearing and not through reading music. An important component of traditional folk music is its acceptance among community members and families. Often times, performances of folk music are unique and vary from one another because they are passed orally. Folk music is composed by one composer creating a song and then being recreated constantly.

The folk music of African-American communities has embodied the struggle of marginalized people in America. A prominent and influential folk-blues musician is Huddie Ledbetter (Leadbelly). He integrated old gospel tunes, blues, folk, and country music into his own sound. The influence of African-American musicians on the evolution of folk music is innumerable.

Folk music can be argued of being the foundation of music today. It’s everlasting influence on music continues to show its importance in every generation of music. In my opinion, the strength and creativity it took for African Americans to turn their hurt and sorrows into a form of art and ultimately make their struggles something beautiful and relatable is unmatched. It is a skill or characteristic that has been a part in the African American culture since the arrival of our people to America. When one hears the words “Folk Music” they may not immediately picture the black community but one look into the history of music and the influence that african american folk music had on blues, rock and roll, even R&B shows how us in the black community can make something our own and ultimately bring us closer as a community through similar struggles. Folk music brought the black community together and continues to hold us together today.


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