Ole Folk Music: African-American Edition

Ole Folk Music:
African-American Edition


Origin and Influence

In the early 16th century Africans were subbjected to a European way of living. They were forced into a Westernized Society which viewed them as less of what they were. Because of this, African's were forced into slavery where they were further described as the "White Man's" property. Being transported from their home, Africans were spread around North and South America experiencing forced labor, and poor and hostile living conditions. Enslavement lasted for centuries and African's had to find a way to retain and keep their culture. In doing so, in the 18th century, African's created one of their most famous forms of escapism; Folk Music. This marked one of the most essential era's in the history of African American Music.


Many think that Folk music is not derivitive of the African Culture. However, folk music was the most eccentric ways Africans communicated with eachother and their surroundings.
-Call-Response was the first invented element of Folk Music. It is a song structure or performance in which a singer or instrumentalist makes a musical statement that is answered by another soloist, instrumentalist, or group.
-Polyrhythm and Banjo were the second and third elements created in folk music. Polyrhythm is several contrasting rhythms played or sung simultaneously. Banjo was created in relation to this, an instrument with strings producing eccentric sounds to follow polyrhythm.
-Pattin Juba and Ring shout were forms of Dancing that coincided with African American Folk music. Both of these forms of dancing were ways that africans followed the music in which they created.
-The most important elements in Folk music are work and protest songs. These elements were soulful pieces of Folk music that embodied the exact deepness within African American's escapism. They sang work and protest songs to continue their daily work and to express.

Composers and Artists of African American Folk Music

Odetta Holmes was an African American Folk singer from Birmingham, Alabama. She is known as "The voice of the civil rights movement." Some of her famous songs are "Gonna Let it Shine, It's a Might World, and A Grain of Sand. "

Lead Belly was an African American Folk and Blues singer from Mooringsport, California. He is known for making covers of music an adding his twist. He composed songs like "Gallis Pole, The Children, and Rock Island Line."

Influence on Other Genres

African-American Folk music has influenced many other genres within the culture. Hip Hop, R&B are two forms of genres that have been creative with Folk music as an influence. Hip Hop and R&B have the upbeat, and dances that resemble pattin Juba and Ring Shot.


In it's entirety, African American Folk music is an important factor within the foundation of African American culture.

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