Therefore to speak of Caribbean music and to a large extent Latin music (belonging to Latin America not Latin, the language) is to emphasize the role of African slaves in carrying the African rhythms and styles, adapting or transferring them to European musical styles (belonging to colonial masters) and in some cases, Indian immigrants.
Africans in the New World certainly brought their own traditions with them, although they were often prevented from overtly practicing those traditions.
According to Tod Shacklett, (African Influence on early American ‘white’ music) Africans in the New World certainly brought their own traditions with them, although they were often prevented from overtly practicing those traditions.
But far from being lost, these traditions surfaced nevertheless, often blended with elements acceptable to whites, such as religious ceremonies or seemingly patriotic fife and drum ensembles.
In North America, especially the United States, African musical influences began as jazz and the blues later evolving into rock and roll which became so mainstream to the extent that crossover acts which came to be known as rockabilly, a fusion of rock and country, by the likes of Elvis Presley, opened way for black artists like Bo Diddley in the mainstream American music industry.
Kim Ruehl of about.com writes that, from the blues to zydeco, and jazz to hip-hop; from the slave-era spirituals about struggle and personal empowerment to the forefathers of rock & roll, America’s roots music is absolutely replete with the influence of the African-American community.
The blues is an African American-derived music form that recognized the pain of lost love and injustice and gave expression to the victory of outlasting a broken heart and facing down adversity, according to the History of Jazz.
African Americans continued to keep the spirit alive through gospels and secular soul, invented funk, dominated pop and eventually until a time where black music was mainstream music.
The likes of Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie became household names in America for some sought of pod-dance soul and eventually grew with the industry to embrace and heavily dominate hip-hop.
In the 1990s hip hop, rap and rhythm and blues now called R&B rose to represent American music t the level at which the music industry could be positively regarded as taken over by African Americans. The most profound influence of African –Americans in America however, remains Jazz.
Thomas L. Morgan writes that as a musical language of communication, jazz is the first indigenous American style to affect music in the rest of the World.
‘’The term jazz does not recognize our ancestors,’’ said Mr. Randy Weston, a pianist and composer in the New York Times.
It is just a word people use loosely. It does not really describe the history of this music. ‘African rhythms’ has more historical depth, more recognition of those before us.’’
He continues that, ‘’Music started in Africa. If we experience Africa, we experience the very beginning of music. This music is past, present and future. You can’t improve on this music, only learn from it because it’s so deep in spirit, love, ancestors, all those things that are kind of missing today.’’