Africans were stripped of their culture when transported to America, using their secular music and dance.
Music was a part of the daily life of Africans. It accompanied their daily activities. African music included instruments such as the banjo and drums, and rhythmic elements such as scales, call-response and other polyrhythmic elements, repetitive choruses, and body percussion.
The banjo was invented by Joel Walker Sweeney in the 1830s. It is an instrument of African origin, and was originally made with one to six strings and a neck parallel to a gourd body. It was also called a banza, banjah, and a banjar.
Drums are also of African descent. The beating of drums became banned by law in the West Indies and South Carolina. As a substitution, Africans made drums from hollow trees in private. They also did handing clapping, stomping, and patting juba, which was rhythmic body percussion.
La calinda was an African dance of the 18th century, usually performed in the West Indies and Louisiana. The dance was associated with the banjo and two drums.
Call-response was also called antiphony. Its structure included a soloist that makes a musical statement that is responded to by another soloist or the rest of the group.
A field holler, or field cry, was a short, improvised song sung by individuals working in the fields to communicate emotional expressions.