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Beats Influence


Style of Music

Term used by Nigerian composer and musician, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, to describe his fusion of West African with black American music.    
Yoruba style of talking drum percussion from Nigeria.   
Yoruba word meaning “life force”, used to describe the Bahia style of Brazilian pop music popular in that country.   
Originating from the Luo people of from Western Kenya, this style is widely popular throughout the country.   
Popular style of music from the Shona people of Zimbabwe. Also called mbira-based music, one of the best examples of this sound is the music of Thomas Mapfumo   
Nigerian Yoruba voice and percussion style using original African percussion instruments popularized by Kollington Barrister and Adewale Ayuba.    
Moroccan music of people descended from the slaves brought from Mali in the 16th century. This music features the stringed instruments sintir or gimbri, singing in unison, and hand clapping. Most often played at healing ceremonies.   
Generic term for a West African oral historian-cum-minstrel; a storyteller.   
Dance music from Ghana and Eastern Nigeria, originating from the popular kpanlogo rhythm developed in Ghana in the 60′s.   
Traditional Zulu call-and-response a cappella choral music sung by men from South Africa. Ladysmith Black Mambazo is the premier example of this style of music.   
Mandingo word for a West African oral historian-cum-minstrel; a storyteller.   
Hard, fast percussive Zimbabwean dance music, influenced by mbira-based guitar styles.   
Generic South African term for popular music.   
This popular style from Nigeria relies on the traditional Yoruba rhythms, but instead of being played on all percussive instruments as tradition demands the instruments in Juju are more Western in origin. Drum kit, guitars, keyboards, often pedal steel guitar and some times accordion (squeeze box) are used along with the traditional dun-dun (talking drum, or squeeze drum). King Sunny Ade is the most well known of all Juju performers.  
Music genre that emerged in Johannesburg, South Africa during the early 1990s. It is a local evolution of house music combined with African sounds. Typically at a slower tempo, Kwaito often contains catchy melodic and percussive loop samples, deep basslines and vocals. Although bearing similarities to Hip Hop and Rap a distinctive feature of Kwaito is the manner in which the lyrics are often shouted, blabbered and chanted. DJ Diplo described Kwaito as “slowed-down garage music” most popular among the “poor [black] kids” of South Africa “  
Kwassa Kwassa
Shake-your-booty dance style begun in Zaire in the late 80′s popularized by Kanda Bongo Man.   
South African pennywhistle (tin flute) music.   
Cameroonian dance rhythm from the Douala region, also the name of the country’s most popular pop style typified by Manu Dibango.   
South African three-chord township music of the 1930s-1960s, which evolved into “African Jazz.”   
Mozambique’s popular roots-based urban rhythm, a distinctive dance sound.   
(pronounced M’balah) Senegalese (Wolof) percussion music modernized by Youssou N’Dour, characterized by a sweet, funky combination of Afro-Cuban rhythms, Wolof drumming, and American pop.   
Also sometimes called “Township Jive”, this South African township music was first popularized in the 60′s. Johnny Clegg and the Mahatolla Queens are good examples of this sound.   
from Cape Verde is a soulful genre often sung in Creole-Portuguese and played in a minor key emotional tone, mixing sentimental folk tunes filled with longing and sadness with the acoustic sounds of guitar, cavaquinho, violin, accordian, and clarinet.   
Palm Wine
This music originates in the tropical Sierra Leone located on the far West coast of Africa. Typical to the Palm Wine sound is the light and airy guitar riffs originally played on acoustic guitar accompanied by traditional percussion instruments. Palm Wine is the sweet milky sap extracted from the palm tree. It ferments quickly and is a popular drink at bars and dance halls, as well as at social occasions where the music originated.   
Youthful pop music from Algeria. Rai’s typical themes of love and drinking have brought Rai singers in conflict with Islamic militants .  
Originally from Jamaica, this internationally played sound dominated by bass, drums (or often drum machine), and guitar chops is associated with the Rastsafarian religion, liberation politics, and ganga.   
New York Puerto Rican adaption of Afro-Cuban music.   
The basic underlying rhythm that typifies most Brazilian music.   
Samba Reggae
(pronounced sam-ba heg-gay), grew out of the blocos afros (Black carnival associations) a tradition begun in 1974 in Bahia, Salvador. The Bahian Carnival Associations with their afoxe (pronounced ah-fo-shay) drum sections are similar to Rio’s samba schools, with many surdos (big bass drums of varying sizes) and repineques (smaller, high pitched drums) comprising the bulk of the rhythm section. Olodum is one of the first groups to popularize the sound.   
is a musical style that grew out of ’50s Cuban rhumba music mixing the kwassa kwassa dance rhythm with zouk and rhumba. Many African artists, originally from the Congo (or Zaire), relocated to Paris, which became a popular expatriate community for them, and where they are mostly still based.   
a musical style from Mali typified by a strong Arabic feel along with the sound of the scraping karinyang, women play the fle, a calabash strung with cowrie shells, which they spin and throw into the air in time to the music.   
A Muslim style of music performed most often as a wake-up call for early breakfast and prayers during Ramadan celebrations.   
Creole slang word for “party.” Modern hi-tech Antillean music produced mostly in Paris.   
African dance movements found in African-American dance forms
African Movement Vocabulary: African dance moves all parts of the body, in contrast to many European forms that rely mostly on arm and leg movement. Angular bending of arms, legs and torso; shoulder and hip movement; scuffing, stamping, and hopping steps; asymmetrical use of the body; and fluid movement are all part of African dance.
Circle and Line Formations: Many African dances are performed by lines or circles of dancers. Traditional European dance also incorporated lines and circles, and this commonality may have been important in dance exchange.
Competitive Dance: Competing through dance is a widespread custom in West and Central Africa. In America, this tradition continued in “cutting” contests, challenge dances, Cakewalk contests, Break Dance rivalries, Jitterbug competitions, Step Dance shows, and other events.
Importance of the Community: Africans danced mainly with and for the community. Solo performers were supported and affirmed by the group through singing, hand clapping, and shouted encouragement.

Improvisation: Within the patterns and traditions of age-old dance forms, an African felt free to be creative. A dancer could make an individual statement or give a new interpretation to a familiar gesture.
Orientation toward the Earth: The African dancer often bends slightly toward the earth and flattens the feet against it in a wide, solid stance. Compare this to traditional European ballet’s upright posture, with arms lifted upward and feet raised up onto the toes.
Pantomime: Many African dances reflect the motions of life. Dance movement may imitate animal behavior like the flight of the egret, enact human tasks like pounding rice, or express the power of spirits in whirling and strong forward steps.

Percussion: In much of Africa, percussion often dominates music and in many cases the drum is the leading instrument. In America, enslaved African created a broad range of percussive instruments. Hand clapping, foot tapping, and body patting were also important percussive sounds.
Polyrhythm’s: African music included several rhythms at the same time, and Africans often danced to more than one beat at once. Dancers could move their shoulders to one beat, hips to another, and knees to another. This rhythmic complexity, with basic ground beat and counter beats played against it, formed the basis for later music such as ragtime, jazz, and rock’n'roll.
Something in the Hand: African ritual dance makes use of special objects, including masks and costumes. In America, African Americans continued to use sticks or staffs, cloth, and other objects in dance. Handkerchiefs, canes, and top hats became part of the dance, as did other objects in stage routines.