Folk music is an origination from African people. Often accredited to whites, folk music was brought about from enslaved Africans in the Americas. While being forced to deal with the terrors of enslavement, enslaved Africans found ways to still keep their culture and heritage alive. Through rhythm, spoken word, and instrumentsAfricans could express their sorrows, joys, and culture without punishment.


One key element of folk music is the polyrhythms, which is the switching or overlapping of phrases and rhythms played or sung. This relates to the call response style of folk music, where a soloist makes a musical statement that is answered by another aspect of the music. Instruments also played an impactful part in folk music. The Djembe drum and the Banjo are just two of the instruments that brought about the various kinds of rhythms and tones that are characteristic to African American folk music.


Primary Performers

The Orginal performers of folk music draws back to Africa. While working in groups, Africans sung hymms to push forth their work and to make the best of the work day. 

Influences and Impact on Society

Folk music has its influences in many/all of today’s genres of music. Country and Hip-Hop stick out the most. Many people believe that folk music was brought about by whites, when in fact, it was stolen from Africans. It was through acculturation that whites even have a musical background. Another influence is in Hip-Hop. Along with folk music, Hip-Hop is used to get any anger and agression out through rhytum, beats, and repetition. Folk music also has impacted blackness and the importance of black bodies. A way of communication and expression for the enslaved, became a way to find oneness for today’s generation. Folk music connects blacks the spectrum to find and hold on to our roots.


Europeans took African folk music and made fun of it for white entertainment. Whites paid for the mocking of African culture, knowing that it was an important part of the African identity and the only thing that whites had not taken away during enslavement. 

Summary of MY Opinion

I am happy to have learned about my African American music history. I learned about African struggles as African people and the amazing meaning Africans gave to music. The influences that came with African music was so inspiring, it still has impact today. 

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