African Music and Religion

Essay by zigCollege, UndergraduateA-, May 2004

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African Music, Religion, and Narrative,

Jamual A. Floyd Jr., In the Power of Black Music.

Interpreting its history from Africa to the U.S.

N.Y. Oxford University Press, 1995, pps, 14-34.

African religion is similar to that of the Native American. There are many different African cultures, and there are more than three thousand types of religion amongst them.

In African religion, the idea of god is a being in the sky that reigns over them.

When a person died in an African community the process of death would last until the person was forgotten. The person was part of the divine realm, which was not separated from the physical world. They also believe there is no separation between heaven and earth. In fact, at one time it is believed that a bridge or a rope connected the two.

Rituals and sacrifice were a way of keeping in touch and pleasing God and the spirits.

By taking from the gods, they were obliged to return them in a way. Each god had a particular dance, to which the believer dances. By doing a dance, they take on their god's powers. Sometimes hallucinogens were used to achieve this mental state even though the drumming was the main influence. The drummers would generally be surrounded by a ring of dancers or bystanders. The ring usually responds to the drumming by body movements, stamping, clapping, and shouting which all attributes to the performance. These rings were always controlled in order to ensure a suitable environment for presence of gods. The music of African ceremony and ritual is inspired by myths and legends but was not always for ritual or ceremonial purposes. It was incorporated into everyday life activity such as work or play and

African stories have a variety of purpose. Some...