Archive for the ‘Authors’ Category


Author: Jason Richards


This project examines how literary uses of blackface minstrelsy both stabilize and destabilize raced and national identities by investigating texts that involve figurative and literal representations of whites in blackface and blacks in whiteface. The narratives I analyze employ minstrelsy not only to create and sustain raced identities, but also to register slippages, overlaps, and inversions across the color line—paradoxically reinforcing and subverting racial hierarchies. I am ultimately concerned with how this paradox reveals the often contradictory nature of American selfhood. By drawing on postcolonial theory to explore how minstrelsy shaped national identity, I have sought to recontextualize blackface, which has remained largely outside discussions of postcoloniality in American studies.READ IT HERE



Author: John Chernoff

Source: The world of Music 39 (2) 1997: 19-25


“In West African research, the concept of “hearing” defines an interesting metaphmic complex that is, perhaps, more often bewildering than serviceable. There are certainly many ways in which I have had to consider the connotations of the verb “to hear” in my research. Early during my work in Ghana, I found the peculiaiities of Ghanaian English to be an avenue for me to get ideas about culture, in the same way that Ghanaian use of English is a vehicle for Ghanaians to transport local culture into another idiom (Sey 1973). There were quite a few words and phrases that were used in ways I never had heard before, and although I was not sophisticated about linguistics, I knew enough to figure that I could take these various usages as something like literal translations of words in indigenous languages, particularly when I was with people who were not totally fluent in English. Apart from idiomatic English that had become standard among those who had a secondary or university education, there was fertile ground in the Ghanaian type of Pidgin as well as in the English that were common among people who were either uneducated or who were educated up to middle school.”


Diye--Profile of Aka Divining SongAuthor: Victor Grauer



“I found this essay by Fred McCormick only recently, though it apparently dates back to the ’90s. I was impressed by his knowledge of so many aspects of Cantometrics as well as his many insightful criticisms. As I’m now undergoing my own personal reconsideration of this methodology, I decided it would be interesting to present a response, however belated. My interleaved comments are in boldface.”



Author: Valerie Wilmer
Source: Downbeat, 37 (Aug. 6, 1970), 15, 32.


ALTHOUGH THE UNIVERSAL APPEAL of jazz has never been in dispute, the vocal blues presents an obvious problem of communication. People have the blues the world over -from Watts to Johannesburg they’ve felt the jackboots of oppression and the heartache of lost love-but can they really share in the down-and-out feeling of rejection when it is recounted in a language both musically and literally alien? That a middle-aged Memphis-born blues man bas worked consistently in Europe since 1963 is incongruous enough when you consider the almost insurmountable language barriers, but the fact that he can also move the people to tears is little short of remarkable. Consider the facts:

Memphis Slim s Parisian Love Affair.pdf


Author: Portia K. Maultsby
Source: FROM HIP HOP TO JUBILEE: Readings in African American Music, 2010 (Sample Chapter, 23)


” During the twentieth century the complex relationships between black secular andsacred music were addressed by a wide variety of writers ranging from Peter Guralnick to Paul Oliver. These articles, record notes, and essays have noted that these relationships are more complicated than simply a divide between the devil (secular music, often theblues) and god (sacred music, often gospel). In this article, Portia Maultsby, a professor of ethnomusicology and folklore at Indiana University–Bloomington, focuses on an extremely interesting and important topic: the transformation of gospel music into popular styles during the years following the close of World War II. ”



Author: Portia K. Maultsby

Source: Journal of Popular Culture, 17:2 (1983:Fall)


“One of the most innovative and generative forms of music that evolved from the 1960s Black Power Movement served to elevate the consciousness of an African heritage among black Americans. This music, coined “soul,” established new trends and direction for the tradition of urban black popular music. Performers of soul music, in communicating the philosophyof the Black Power Movement, promoted the black pride or self-awareness concept. Their African-derived fashions and hair styles encouraged an identification with the mother country while their song lyrics advocated national black unity. Through their texts, soul singers not only discussed the depressing social and economic conditions of black communities but they also offered solutions for improvement and change. The overall awareness of an African heritage on the part of black performers influenced the conscious and unconscious revival and intensification of musical concepts that represented standards and aesthetics understood by the black community. The intense and emotional nature of songs performed by these musicians captured the new spirit, attitudes, values and convictions of blacks that later altered the social, political and economic structures of American society. Soul music, in the 1960s, served as a vehicle for self-awareness, protest and social change. In the 1970s, it provided musical resources for the evolution of new forms of American popular music. The sociological and political significance of soul music in American popular culture will be examined from three perspectives: 1) its use as an agent for advocating social and political change; 2) the path it paved for the acceptance of black music in an unadulterated form and 3) its impact on American popular culture. Since soul music is a by-product of the Black Power Movement, it will be discussed in this context. Soul and the Black Power Movement The foundation for the Black Power Movement was established by the Civil Rights Movement, which was an outgrowth of the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott of 1955-56. This boycott later proved to be the first of a series of organized efforts on the part of blacks to protest the “second-class” citizenship that defined their status.”



Author: Ross Russell

Source: Down Beat, August 6, 1970, Vol. 37, No. 15


“Huddie Ledbetter, king of 12-string guitar, was one of the archetypical blues men who sang and played through the southwest during the period between the two wars. A contemporary of Blind Lemon  Jefferson and of the generation before T-Bone Walker and Lightnin’ Hopkins, Leadbelly was the most versatile of all singers in the Afro-American tradition and was deep-rooted in its folkways. Besides the country blues, and the urban blues, his bag included many types of folksongs – the field holler, country dances and reels, cowboy songs, talking ‘blues, and ballads. He died in 1949 in New York City. He was one of the big figures.

Following his discovery in 1933 at a prison farm in Angola, La., by John and Alan Lomax, who were field recording men for the Library of Congress, Leadbelly was pardoned, publicized, and presented to awed listeners on a concert tour.”