Download Africa and the Blues by Gerhard Kubik PDF

By Gerhard Kubik

In 1969 Gerhard Kubik chanced to come across a Mozambican exertions migrant, a miner in Transvaal, South Africa, tapping a cipendani, a mouth-resonated musical bow. A related tool used to be noticeable within the fingers of a white Appalachian musician who claimed it as a part of his personal cultural background. via connections like those Kubik learned that the hyperlink among those far-flung musicians is African-American tune, the sound that grew to become the blues.

Such discoveries show a story of song evolution for Kubik, a cultural anthropologist and ethnomusicologist. touring in Africa, Brazil, Venezuela, and the USA, he spent 40 years within the box collecting the fabric for Africa and the Blues. during this e-book, Kubik relentlessly lines the distant genealogies of African cultural tune via eighteen African countries, in particular within the Western and valuable Sudanic Belt.

Included is a entire map of this cradle of the blues, in addition to 31 photos amassed in his fieldwork. the writer additionally provides transparent musical notations and outlines of either African and African American traditions and practices and calls into query the numerous assumptions approximately which parts of the blues have been "European" in starting place and approximately which got here from Africa. targeted to this publication is Kubik's perception into the methods present-day African musicians have followed and enlivened the blues with their very own traditions.

With scholarly care yet with an ease for the overall reader, Kubik proposes a wholly new idea on blue notes and their origins. Tracing what musical characteristics got here from Africa and what mutations and mergers happened within the Americas, he indicates that the African American culture we name the blues is actually a musical phenomenon belonging to the African cultural world.

Gerhard Kubik is a professor within the division of ethnology and African reports on the college of Mainz, Germany. because 1983 he has been affiliated with the guts for Social study of Malawi, Zomba. he's an everlasting member of the heart for Black song study in Chicago and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute of significant Britain and eire, London.

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And the man who makes records may have a similar motive. Fred Gaisberg, the first great record producer, was particularly proud of recordings he made during and just before each of the World Wars - the recording of Dvorak's Cello Concerto made by Casals and Szell in Prague in April 1937; or the 'swan song of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra under their old conductor Bruno Walter', a Mahler Ninth recorded in January 1938. Each was 'something precious and rare snatched from that seething cauldron of Europe before the storm broke'.

Instead, each playing of a given record is an instance of something timeless. The original musical event never occurred; it exists, if it exists anywhere, outside history. In short, it is myth, just like the myths 're-enacted' in primitive ritual. Repetition is essential to ritual, and exact repetition is what it has always striven to attain. According to Hindu scripture, the inaccurate singing of a sacred raga could be fatal to the singer. The same held for off-key Apache shamans. In Polynesia the careless performer might be executed; on the island of Gaua in the New Hebrides (the musicologist Curt Sachs tells us) 'old men used to stand by with bows and arrows and shoot at every dancer who made a mistake'.

Two points in his defence. First, shaving to music (especially a scherzo) is actually dysfunctional to Ceremonies of a solitary 39 the point of mortal peril, as Chaplin shows in The Great Dictator when he shaves a client in time to a Brahms Hungarian Dance. Second, even as Mackenzie lay in bed with Brahms and Schubert, younger Germans such as Weill, Brecht and Hindemith were repudiating I'art pour Van as a bourgeois evasion and developing instead a theory of Gebrauchsmusik. As the critic Paul Rosenfeld noted some years later, Gebrauch can mean not only 'use5, but also 'custom' or even 'ritual'.

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