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2012 Master's Level Graduate Research Conference

Session I - Session II - Session III - Session IV

Cultural Collision: The Evolution of African Hand Drum Patterns to Percussive Dance

Music has traditionally been essential to life in Africa; the heartbeat of African culture, drum rhythms communicate, celebrate, and heal. Commemorating life milestones, changes of season, and even everyday work, rhythms serves a social function by inviting all people to participate through singing, clapping and dancing. While master musicians still play traditional rhythms in and outside of Africa, the rhythms have also evolved, and in some cases the instrumentation has changed as well. At times, this transformation happened out of necessity, as on slave ships or in mines when drums were banned. At other times, traditional rhythms developed out of artistic intent when musicians found themselves in new places surrounded by interesting collaborative possibilities. While the evolution of African drumming has followed many paths, this investigation will focus on the transposition of polyrhythmic African hand drum patterns to various percussive dance forms including the West African gumboot dance, isicathulo, and American hamboning, with a particular emphasis on the transformation as a result of cultural collision.

Presenter: Janet Schroeder (The College at Brockport) -- jschr1@brockport.edu
Topic: Dance - Panel
Location: Strasser Studio Dance - Hartwell
Time: 3:30 pm (Session IV)