Re: (amb) African American Art

From Ben Jefferys
Sent Wed, May 12th 1999, 17:00

Kelley Hackett wrote:
> Regarding Techno........."The mainstream will never get a hold of this
> music, because it's above their heads in some way. It's only above their
> heads because they let it be above them. They try and relate it more to
> European music and don't realise that it comes from the street and has
> the same origins as hip-hop, soul, the blues and jazz."

> In some intellectual circles, and others, African American culture is
> viewed quite often in a negative way----(some of it is true----in a
> general way)----but never, or very rarely, in a positive way!  From the
> quote above, the positivity and contributions of African American
> culture and its influence on world culture is clearly displayed!

Where did you get the quote from?

> Why do many seek to down play the role of African American culture and
> its influence on the world?(looks like I didnt need an intro for that!)

It isn't really - not here (UK) anyway. If you hear anybody trying to
play down the influence, it is probably because it is usually overblown.
The idea of "influences" is pretty complicated, I reckon Stephen
Fruitman is probably the best person to comment, but if you ever hear
someone say "well, all fashion these days is mainly due to Afro-American
culture", then they are simply wrong - this is an overgenalisation.

I think even evaluating the relative importance of influences is
extremely error-prone. The quote above says "same origins as hip-hop,
soul, the blues and jazz", but all of those things have their own
disparate and ununifiable origins. And if all that is being said is "all
techno has its origin in the music of ancient Africa" Think of it as an
entangled web of influences rather than a hierarchy where many "things"
share one common ancestor. Techno music as it is known in the US is
influenced by many, possibly ALL other types of music. As are all other
types of music. There is also the problem of specificity and
generalisation... Every single subgenre, musician and piece of music has
different influences, and those influences are not merely other forms of
music - without external input (environment, events and so on) we would
have an interbred homogenous quagmire of mediocre musical forms.

Erm, excuse me, I seem to have a chronic case of post-exam verbal

To conclude, I think the idea of tracing roots is largely fruitless
anyway, and only serves