Saturday, November 19, 2016

Lost 17th Century Music Lives Again With Musician & Historian Team

This is so cool!

Musical Passages is a collaborative endeavor by Laurent Dubois, David Garner, and Mary Caton Lingold to document, explain, and recreate examples of Jamaican music as it was played in the 1600s. As they explain:
Enslaved Africans and their descendants revolutionized global music, but historical records tell us far too little about their earliest practices. In this site we offer a careful interpretation of a single rare artifact, from Hans Sloane’s 1707 Voyage to the Islands of Madera, Barbados, Nieves, S. Christophers and Jamaica. Tucked away in this centuries-old book, are several pieces of music that make it possible to hear echoes of performances long past.

The website functions as a minature interactive exhibit where you are invited to listen in on a musical gathering that took place in Jamaica in 1688. These three songs, 'Angola', 'Papa' and 'Koromanti', performed at a festival by enslaved African musicians and copied in musical notation by a Mr Baptiste, are the first transcription of African music in the Caribbean. Thanks to the preservation of this amazing work, the entire world can now listen to traces of music performed long ago and maybe even begin to imagine what it meant for the people who created it.

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