Folk Music Review- Alana Edmond

The article titled, “The History of Folk Music” by A’Shiah N. explains the origins, elements, social implications and notable performers associated with the genre of Folk Music. This article effectively and concisely breaks down the history of Folk Music into an easy to understand article that is ideal for beginners in the Survey of African American Music. 

From this article, I learned that similar to folktales, folk music is passed down from generation to generation with typically unknown authorship. Folk music stems from the transatlantic voyage and the enslavement of African people. During slavery, Africans were stripped of their languages, cultures, and customs while also being brutalized on plantations. Music allowed them to use various elements from their culture to create an outlet that expressed the pain, suffering, and hope they experienced while enslaved. 

The part of the article that stuck out to me the most is the social implication section. A’Shiah explains that not only did folk music express pain, perseverance and hope, but the lyrics actually served as a form of protest. Often times folk songs would have codes that instruct other enslaved people on how to escape. This stuck out to me the most because the bias history we learn depicts enslaved Africans as hopeless and submissive, but truthfully they were the exact opposite. Enslaved people were so intelligent and creative in their ways of planning escape that they were able to put it in song and create a secret language out of it.