A Review of "That's all Folk...music"

By: Kamiya Watkins 

The article that I will be critiquing is called That’s all Folk… music by Justice Randle. This article was published to the black music scholar website on March 7, 2019. Since this piece was written recently,  it holds accuracy because of how relevant the information was throughout the article. The main purpose of this article was to determine the origin, characteristics, aftermath, and artists of this ageless drama. I believe this information is relevant because it provides information that we need to know to know to understand such a genre as folk. Folk music is an often forgotten genre in today’s society because many people listen to rap, R & B, hip-hop, or trap music. People tend to forget about folk music unless they are a music fanatic.

            The authors starts the article off by explaining the impact that African American artists have on music. Folk is a genre that incorporates human right movements, battles and slave periods  for those of African descent. This genre is not just music, but it is a way of explaining stories of strengthen and what happened during the times of slavery. The author could have explained more as to what particular time zone that this genre was created because slavery lasted for a long time period and to be precise is key to a successful.

            In the characteristics section of this article, the author did a great job with explaining what folk music is and the different instruments or types of folk music. The author also explains in depth, what pattin’ juba was and how the banjo was a part of plantation melodies. In the second paragraph of this section, the author explains how slaves moved to northern states such as Chicago and Detroit after the Civil War but she just places that sentence in the beginning without further explanation. Who stated in their home states? Slaves or musicians during that time?

Lastly, under the section Who’s who? the author gave three examples of  folk music artists. Upon the artists provide was Harry Belafonte who was known for his tune “The Banana Boat Song”. The author does a great job with explaining Belafonte musical life and provides a picture of the musician. However, Randle, the author, proceeds to talk about another folk musician without a smooth transition, she just places the name Richard “Richie” Pierce Havens in the article right after talking about Belafonte. Randle does the same exact thing with Elizabeth Cotton and her musical career without entering another smooth transition. It was like the author just names an artist, talked about their success for a little then named another artist and talked about their success.

            Overall, this article was a great article to read and look at. It helped to have Folk music examples at the end of the article from different artists just so that you can hear what different types of Folk music is out there in the world. Better transitions and a little more explanations will be best for this article because you are trying to inform the readers about a genre that they are not aware of.

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