To commemorate Black History Month the R&S musician will provide a lively and well-informed look into the origins of ‘Black Music,’ and how practically every current genre can trace its roots back to Africa. Afriqua will be presenting a series of essays and videos in the coming weeks examining the four principles of black music — Call and Response, The Blue Note, Polyrhythms, and Improvisation.
The American-born, Berlin-based musician is well-positioned to deliver this voyage through history, as his traditional origins blend seamlessly with the distinctly tilted electronic music. Appearing on labels like Soul Clap Records, Raresh’s Metereze imprint, and All Inn, he draws on a wide spectrum of inspirations to create his unique sonic palette.
“As a Black guy in a European city who had never seen the phrase written before, I must admit I was taken aback, even a little – dare I say – triggered when I saw “Black Music” on that banner.” Say Afriqua in the first part of the video.
“After all, funk, soul, and disco are distinct genres with distinct histories, admirers, and heroes. Sure, we all know where they come from and who they are. But using the word “Black,” which is a political term by definition in my own country, to describe such a broad range of music struck me as out of touch and reductive.”
The roots depth insights start with an honest look at Afriqua coming to Berlin and learning a new meaning for the label Black, as well as his relationship with his background. Much has been made about the appropriation of black heritage, as he argues, but Black History Month is a time for celebration, not restrained finger-pointing.
“Although the commercial had an impact, I must admit that despite inspiring hours of reading, pondering, an album, and now a series of articles, I didn’t attend the party. Still, as my mind became more open to the “Black Music” concept, I began to suspect that the event’s programming was insufficient. After all, on top of funk, soul, and disco, they might have pulled at the emotions with some jazz and blues, invigorated the crowd with a hint of gospel, rock, and perhaps a dash of reggae for good measure.”
As much as Black Music has progressed from its primitive African beginnings, many musical approaches have remained constant. This is where our investigation into the Principles of Black Music begins. With your attention attracted to musical elements that appear prominently across the Black musical tree.