From Work songs on plantations to Rap music today, this research takes a behind-the-scenes look at black American history.
The African slave and the Work songs
In August 1619, a Dutch ship landed around twenty negroes in Jamestown, Virginia. They came from western Africa and were employed on the plantations as indentured servants: black American history had begun.
The Europeans, satisfied with that cheap workforce, enslaved them very early. By 1640, most Africans in Virginia were slaves.
Singing while working has always been part of African traditions. The work songs, sung by the slaves, were born from the transformation of African chants and litanies on American fields. They dated from the second generation of slaves and were used as the link between original African music and the one developed when the slaves got in touch with the Euro-American society.
These songs, essentially sung a capella, used to put rhythm into the slaves’ work. They were, for the most part, improvised and characterized by the call and response pattern.
The work songs reflected the situation of the Blacks as slaves. They died out after the breaking of the plantation system, but are said to have persisted in southern penitentiaries until the 1960s.
Archimède is the Author of “Musique en formation linguistique” and “Music in professional language training” which present and describe a language teaching method with Music as the main educational tool.
For further details, you can check out his website www.yourenglishproject.com (Your English Project).