West African-American Slavery

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Blues could not exist if the African captives had not become American slaves.
Without African slaves from West Africa, there would be no blues music. The immediate predecessors of blues were the Afro-American/American Negro work songs, which had their musical origins in West Africa. It is impossible to say how old the blues are but it is certainly no older than the presence of Negros in the United States. The African slaves brought their music with them to the New World. This is the starting point of this essay, the African slave trade. This essay will also discuss the origins of the blues, African-particularly West African influences in the blues, religious aspects of the blues and the “Delta” musicians and singers of the 1920s-1930s.
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The first British settlement in North America was Jamestown, established in 1607. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the British slave trade brought ever increasing numbers of West Africans to Jamestown and other Atlantic coastal towns. Sources testify that during this period the African population was particularly concentrated in rural areas of Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. On board the slave ships, the slave traders encouraged music and dance, to prevent the slaves falling into depression. Music was a form of therapy and freedom for the captives. African musical instruments purchased on the Guinea coast were played on board the ships. Due to this the knowledge of several African instruments reached America, in particular North America. These instruments include the one-string West African bowed lutes, two-stringed plucked lutes, flutes and drums. An eighteenth-century “African drum” from Virginia is held in the British Museum. This goblet-shaped single-headed drum is only known from the Guinea Coast. This poses a question whether these West African instruments arrived in the hands of the African slaves or in the hands of their captors. Or did these people make the instruments themselves using only local materials. However these instruments came into existence they became the early instruments of the blues, as did the guitar, fiddle, mandolin, mouth harmonica and…show more content…
Many blues texts might also be based on another well-known genre the slaves brought along from Africa: songs of mockery and denunciation by which unacceptable social behaviour is castigated in a symbolic manner. Songs of denunciation and songs of praise are both part of a larger class of songs of social
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