Course Details

MUSC 144: Music and Migration

Throughout history, people have relocated for a variety of reasons, both voluntarily and forcibly. What sorts of consequences do mass movements of people have on cultural practices? This course will examine the legacy of the slave trade with relation to African-influenced music developments throughout the Americas and the Caribbean. We will first consider the nuances of West African music practices and beliefs before and during the slave trade. Then, we will explore a variety of sacred and secular traditions that developed in the New World as a result of the African Diaspora, including spirituals, the blues, jazz, rock and roll, and hip hop in North America; tango, blocos afro, cumbia, and candombe in South America; and Santería, reggae, timba, rara, and steel pan in the Caribbean. As part of this exploration, we will consider difficult questions, such as what is “black music”?; What ethical considerations must we think about in relation to who can/should play black music?; and What sorts of similarities and differences exist between African-influenced music styles in the Americas, and why? Lastly, we will consider how music in Africa has changed in more recent times due to a return of African-Americans back to their ancestral roots as well as other points of contact between the Americas and Africa, especially in relation to genres like Afrobeat, highlife, and gumbe. No previous musical experience required.
6 credits; LA, WR2, IDS; Offered Fall 2021; S. Lahasky