The Journey

Click the audio below in order to explore the evolution of African music in America. Be sure to turn your speakers ON.

Rock and Roll | Gullah Music
Rock and Roll | Gullah Music

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Blues and country music contributed to a style called rhythm and blues. This was an early form of what we now call rock and roll. It appealed to a younger audience that liked to dance to the sounds of...
Work Song | Gullah Music
Work Song | Gullah Music

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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...
Hip Hop/Rap | Gullah Music
Hip Hop/Rap | Gullah Music

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African call-and-response patterns and improvisation survived the Middle Passage and became two of the basic elements of one of today’s most popular forms of music. In the 1970s, rap music began in...
Middle Passage | Gullah Music
Middle Passage | Gullah Music

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European slave traders brought Africans to the New World on ships as early as the 1400s. These voyages across the Atlantic Ocean are called the Middle Passage. It was a terrible experience for the...
Reggae | Gullah Music
Reggae | Gullah Music

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Reggae music is a Jamaican style of music that has roots in African music and rhythm and blues, or early rock and roll. Reggae songs are usually about social issues, politics and the Rastafarian...
Blues | Gullah Music
Blues | Gullah Music

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After the Civil War and emancipation, freed men and women struggled to find work and make a new life for their families. The songs about these difficult times were called the blues, a musical style...
Country | Gullah Music
Country | Gullah Music

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Country music as we know it today grew out of blues and folk music. In country music’s earliest form, southern musicians both white and black, created music for the working class that told stories...
Jazz | Gullah Music
Jazz | Gullah Music

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Jazz music was born out of the blues. The key element was syncopation (syn-co-pa-tion) that stressed the off beats of the rhythm. In the same way that Gullah language is a mixture of African and...
Spirituals | Gullah Music
Spirituals | Gullah Music

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Spirituals developed at the same time as work songs on the plantations. Although they were religious songs with a Christian message, spirituals were also heartfelt expressions of the slave experience...
Gospel | Gullah Music
Gospel | Gullah Music

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After slavery ended, some African American churches shifted from traditional spirituals to a new kind of religious music called gospel. This style of music brought together the elements of the “shout”...