West Culture Traditions
- Identify specific elements of traditional Central and West African cultural practices. This includes, but is not limited to, instruments, musical styles, and expressions.
West African people practiced magic and medicine, which often went hand in hand. They believed in spirits, ancestors, and divinity. The main instrument used is a drum along with koras, tambines, gankoguis, and balafos. Most already knew God before slavery, even Christianity before it was tampered with to fit America’s ideal. Two African religions that are most known in animism and polytheism.
2. Describe how traditional Central and West African music influenced the enslaved peoples brought to “The New World” in 1619.
When slavery started the slaves used different instruments as music to stay deeply rooted within their culture that the colonizers tried hard to erase from them, starting by changing their names(giving stereotypical caucasian names), dispersing families, and making them “convert” to Christianity under the impression that it wasn’t followed in africa. The main instruments being used, similar to African practice, were the drums and balafos, along with bows, quills, and panpipes. And when slave owners realized, to break their spirit they took said instruments, leaving slaves to use anything, especially their bodies, for music and sound, hence the origin of hand boning.
3. (BONUS) What trends can we identify in modern music that are similar to traditional African music? Think about musical terms (syncopation, rhythm, etc.) and how the traditional tunes influenced modern music.
The main trends that can be identified in modern music that are similar to traditional African music are the continuous use of drums, delivery, cadence, and sometimes instrumentals. Many African American artists have been known to take trips to the ‘mother lands’ to get back in touch, and reconnect with their roots. Often times after their trips back to Africa they make songs and/or albums that are heavily influenced by central and west African musical trends.