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Pete Seeger Supports Samite’s African Music

Traditional African music is as old as the human race, 150,000 years old. As such, it is not a kind of music with a written history. The intonations and melodies are difficult to note with the western staff.

One of the true legends in American folk music, Pete Seeger, supports Samite’s African Music and wants you to do so also. Here is Mr. Seeger talking about “My Music World” and the revolutionary aspect of the way Samite brings his music direct to you.

The closest western patterns that mimic African music are pentatonic, teratonic, hexatonic and heptatonic arrangements. Drums are the most popular musical instruments in Africa and these drums include almost anything such as hand clappers, sticks, bells, pots and friction sticks. Musicians in Africa also use wind instruments and like the percussion devices these instruments are made of gourds, wood, conch shells, horns and tusks.

The purpose of African music can be recreational, but it can also be ceremonial and ritualistic too. Closely intertwined with music is dance which amplifies the tonal quality of the sounds. Like the Asian languages, African dialects often hold different meaning when a particular word is “sung” with different tones. Dance is integral to the music as a way of enhancing its meaning.

Like music in the west, sub-Saharan African music is used for religion, battle, lullabies and work. Both cultures share instruments like wind instruments, strings and percussion.

The purpose of African music is to express the full extent of life through the sound. It’s an integral part of African culture and society. Children are taught the value of music and musical instruments at a very early age. By the age of three or four, African children are taught how to make their own instruments.

In this way art and Africa are intimately enmeshed, so much so, that some dialects lack a specific word for “music”. Music is so integral; there needn’t be a word for it, showing just how important African music is to its people.

You will help Samite immensely by ordering his new CD, “My Music World” and we thank Pete Seeger for his support.

Migration of the African Music Instrument

The African music instrument, like the human race, originated in the cradle of humanity; Africa.  It is from here that all the musical instruments we use around the world today originated.

This is especially true of the instruments of Northern Africa which have a decidedly Islamic flair.  Nearly all the Western instruments used in Europe and the Americas started here from wind instruments to the strings like guitar and violin.

Drums are quite unique to the sub-Saharan.  They are not used much in Islamic music, but they are an integral part of musical expression in all other African cultures and societies.

To understand African music today we must first explore its roots.  The first Africans to leave the continent settled in the Caribbean in the 16th century.  By the early 17th century they arrived in the Colony of Virginia.

Unfortunately the African experience was not welcomed in the New World.  Artistic expression was tightly controlled or suppressed altogether.  Fortunately, African influences endured and today they are a driving presence in the American music scene.

African music especially that of the sub-Sahara, has strong rhythmic components.  Percussive instruments like drums, horns, rattles and even bells create an experience of many layers.  In addition, dance is an integral part of music and the body forms an instrument of its own with handclapping and bells jingling on costume to add to the musical texture.

The earliest music was intended as a communication form that was not intended to be pleasant or lyrical.  A particular drumbeat could signal the approach of an enemy tribe or even the King.  This is why ante-bellum plantation owners in America sought to thwart African slave expression.

The plantation owners feared there was a revolt underway that would catch the “owners” by surprise.  The slaves adapted their sounds to more Western sensibilities, one of many ways the African music instrument survives today.

To hear absolutley pure African music you will want to order Samite’s latest CD: “My Music World“.

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