Unfortunately Lomax chose to omit an immense body of music that didn't fit
his personal and somewhat primitive image of the African American. "The rest
of the story" has recently been uncovered at Fisk University in notes kept
by the music professors who served as his guides. Many slaves had been given
an excellent music education and their descendents and children became the
music teachers to the working class of the southeastern United States. Their
amazing fusion of West African, English, Irish, French and German folk and
Gospel music along with European classical music became the basis of
America's popular music.
There's an amazing story sitting there for somebody to flesh out.
Bob Olhsson Audio Mastery, Nashville TN
Mastering, Audio for Picture, Mix Evaluation and Quality Control
Over 40 years making people sound better than they ever imagined!
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of [log in to unmask]
Sent: Friday, April 27, 2007 11:03 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Sounds of Slavery
Start with the LOC:
Ann Arbor, MI
-------------- Original message ----------------------
From: Joel Bresler <[log in to unmask]>
> Dear friends:
> A recent book by Shane White and Graham White, "The Sounds of
> Slavery: Discovering African American History through Songs, Sermons,
> and Speech", attempts to analyze the sounds of American slave
> culture. The accompanying CD includes 18 cuts, mostly dating from the
> 1930s. The authors note that these selections are "about as close as
> we are ever going to get" to sounds from slaves themselves. (p. xxii)
> Given that recording technology had been around for decades by the
> 1930s, is this true? Are any lister's aware of earlier recordings
> that might shed light on the "field calls, work songs, sermons, and
> other sounds and utterances of slaves on American plantations"?
> Many thanks for your thoughts.
> From Booklist:
> >With no recordings of slave songs and narratives, the authors have
> >undertaken the difficult task of bringing to contemporary readers
> >(and listeners, via the CD that accompanies the book) the sounds of
> >American slave culture. The impressive work songs, spirituals, and
> >prayers were compiled from tracks recorded in the 1930s by the Works
> >Progress Administration. Drawing on WPA interviews with former
> >slaves, slave narratives, and other historical documents from the
> >1700s through the 1850s, the authors provide the context for the
> >field calls, work songs, sermons, and other sounds and utterances of
> >slaves on American plantations. The authors also focus on
> >recollections of the wails of slaves being whipped, the barking of
> >hounds hunting down runaways, and the keening of women losing their
> >children to the slave block.
> Joel Bresler
> Independent Researcher
> 250 E. Emerson Rd.
> Lexington, MA 02420
> 781-862-4104 (Telephone & FAX)
> [log in to unmask]
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