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Celebrating Black History Month: African contributions to music

Posted at 7:53 PM, Feb 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-25 20:53:35-05

MILWAUKEE — We could not celebrate Black History without looking at music. Actually, we don’t celebrate much without music. Music is such a part of our everyday lives and many of the songs we currently hear have their roots in Africa.

I met with Sheri Williams Pannell, assistant professor at UW-Milwaukee Peck School of the Arts, to explore the notes of African music in the popular music of today. For example; Jazz, blues, gospel, rock and roll, reggae, country and hip hop music all grew from African roots.

Instruments were made from gourds, skins, wood and string, and embellished with beads, feathers, paint, and cloth; these instruments were used for communication as well as celebration.

So, the next time you find yourself bobbing your head to your favorite beat, give a nod to Africa.

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