According to the article African American music has always been hard to understand. From my interpretation of the article, Black folk music originated from “work songs” which were sung while slaves were working on the field. “Work songs” are also known as call-and-action songs, which was a slaves way of communicating information to one another.
An instrument that is common in Black folk music and “work songs” is the banjo. The banjo is an African American instrument that looks like a guitar. Another “instrument” Black folk music contained is the pattin’ juba. Your body is the instrument for the pattin’ juba. You use your hands, knees, thighs, and shoulders to create the beat.
Around the 1970’s hip-hop (a branch of folk music) was developed. Hip-hop gave an upbeat flow to folk music. In the article it states how the melody of hip-hop music came from African drum calls from the past to contemporary dance music. The lyrics of hip-hop music let artists express how they felt.
Some famous Black folk artists are: Harry Belafonte who was known for his “The Banana Boat Song.” Belafonte was also known for expressing social equity, Civil Rights, and other racial topics. Richard Pierce, also known as “Richie” was known for his lyrics and guitar playing in folk music and other genres. Lastly, Elizabeth Cotten was known for “Cargo Train” melody. Unfortunately, Cotten didn’t get much recognition until her elderly years.
Black folk music artist used topics such as governmental issues, social equality, and education, to connect music with their audience.