Enslaved Africans sang songs as they worked to help keep the pace of the task they were doing. A leader called out a verse or yell and others responded. This is the call-and-response singing tradition from Africa that became a part of life on the plantation. In Africa they always used drums for communicating, but European masters didn't allow drums on the plantation. They knew the people could use them to send messages to each other. What they didn’t know was that some of the work songs were not about work or religion, but they had a hidden meaning. These secret code songs were often about escaping to freedom.