If you’re scared to be rejected, you will never be accepted.Ibrahim Aminou of Zoumountchi
Motherless child with Afro-Cuban salsa ensemble, two karimba accompaniments, and flute.
Mozambique rhythm played on Conga, Quinto, and Tumba and three flute accompaniments in F Lydian.
Afro-Cuban Son on Congas, Tumba, and Quinto and Karimba accompaniments.
Looking into the history of jazz movements from ragtime, to swing, to be-bop and post-pop uncovered the work of George Russell and his philosophy of music with the lydian scale. Russell’s Lydian Chromatic Concept simplifies improvising melodies and laid the foundation for a new sound, giving rise to the “cool jazz” epitomized in the classic Kind of Blue.
From experience in playing traditional West African Music as taught by Abou Sylla of Guinea, the Lydian scale appears almost naturally in Mande songs. And it appears Miles Davis’s wish of replacing C with F on the piano may have been done hundreds of years ago with the balafon.
In the above excerpt, Russell explains two different approaches to musical harmony and the intent to shape a new sound in jazz emphasizing more liberal approaches to music. — The Subject is Jazz, WNBC. 1958. New York, NY.
Extending Russell’s theories may lead back to the more complex tonalities found in the “blue notes” of blues and jazz, Arab, South Asian, and African music along with many bodies of music that predate classical European traditions.
As a web developer frequently working with one the world’s favorite technologies, the internet, Neil Postman’s study of modern culture struck me as a highly relevant critique on the quiet, relentless ways in which technologies shape our lives. Here’s a slightly adapted list of Postman’s questions to ask when presented with a need to create a new technology:
- What is the problem to which this technology is the solution?
- Whose problem is it?
- Which people and what institutions might be most seriously harmed by this technological solution?
- What problems might be created because we have solved this problem?
- What sort of people and institutions might acquire special economic and political power because of this technological change?
- What changes in language, the generally accepted meanings of words and phrases, are being enforced by this new technology and what is gained and lost by such changes?
- What new methods of communication may result from this technology?
For more information about these questions refer to Neil Postman’s Technopoly: the Surrender of Culture to Technology and Building a Bridge to the 18th Century.
The spirit of Sankofa has really embraced me lately. Is it not significant that the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), an institution founded in 1915 by prominent historian Carter G. Woodson is still active today? I’m certain it would mean a great deal for the communities who supported Woodson’s vision to know their work probably lead to the 2020 publication of a Black Woman’s History of the United States coauthored by Diana Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross.
I’ve been playing and learning from Abou Sylla for over five years now and I’m always impressed with the patience taken to distill West African music for Western students. Lots of West African music is approximated in European notation as being in 6/8 which divides beats into multiples of three. On the other hand, the common 4/4 time signature that divides beats into multiples of two encompasses most mainstream American music. So due to lack of exposure to rhythmically complex music, Western ears are slower to pick up the complexities of 6/8 rhythm. I’ve had many lessons taking hours to learn a passage that would come second nature to those who grew up hearing these “polyrhythms” all their lives.