Monday, November 21, 2011

African Heartbeats

Here's some interesting jazz information from Point of Departure - an online music journal

African Heartbeats
Eero Koivistoinen

When African rhythms and sound aesthetics met with European influences, a great many fascinating new forms of music were born. This is how North and South America and the Caribbean Islands got their distinctive musical characteristics. The development of new music forms is linked with the gloomy days when Western and Arab nations were engaged in the slave trade. These new forms of music slowly traveled to Europe, eventually reaching Finland. Some of these forms of music made their way back to Africa, and have become fairly popular there, too.

Like any other jazz musician, I was familiar with the fact that the rhythmics of jazz music is based on the African tradition. While studying classical music in the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, the capital of Finland, I had my first encounter with various African traditions through records: North African music with Arab influences, to the music of the Pygmies, Nigerian Juju and the traditions of Gabon and Niger, and others. When studying the grammar of jazz, I got interested in many other African influenced music styles, such as rhythm & blues, soul, funk, and the rhythms of the Caribbean and South America. Eventually, my meeting with the genuine African tradition closed the circle, and I felt I was at home on the rhythmical soil


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