The Influence of African Folk Music

The Roots of African Music & Culture

African Folk Music is a large component of the roots of African music and culture. African folk music includes numerous rhythms, styles of delivery, and musical rituals and traditions. It is important to highlight the importance of African Folk Music and how it has influenced multiple genres of music both in the past and currently. Jazz, blues, and even modern-day R&B and Hip-Hop have components that stemmed from the roots of African music.

Cultural Instruments & Their Importance

The roots of African music dates back to slavery. Instruments and music were used as a way for slaves to express their emotions, communicate with each other, celebratory purposes, and much more. Instruments such as the banjo, tambourine, and guitar all originated within African culture. With all three of these still being used in present-day music, one can clearly see the impact African music has had on society.

The Djembe is a diverse instrument that produces three sounds; tone, base, and slap. This instrument was commonly used by slaves for celebration, spiritual healing, sickness, and communication. Known for its wide range of pitches, the djembe is still used in songs and live performances.

The Rhythm Bones were first seen in Ancient Egypt, India, Ireland, and many more different cultures and locations. Originally called “clappers”, this instrument came to America in the mid-1800s. It was commonly seen in Blackface shows; a degrading and stereotypical form of white entertainment.

How African Folk Music has Evolved

These two videos represent how the djembe has evolved. The first video showcases a more traditional route and gives an idea of how the djembe was originally played by Africans and their ancestors. The second video, however, showcases how the djembe is being used in modern-day not only as an instrument but also as a source of education for African history and culture. More importantly, the comparison of the two videos is a reminder of the importance and impact African music has had on society, and highlights why it deserves recognition and praise.

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