Fife and drum blues


Fife and drum blues

Fife and drum blues is a rural derivation of traditional country blues. It is performed typically with one lead fife player often also the band leader and vocalist, and a troop of drummers. Unlike a drum corps, the drum troop is loosely structured. As such, a fife and drum band may have any number of snare, tom, and bass drum players. Fife and drum performances were family affairs often held at reunions and big picnics. It is suggested by most texts that it has roots not in the American Revolutionary War, but actually in Africa; the use of fife is merely a replacement for instruments the slaves had used in Africa.

Fifes were carved from cane that grew locally. Drums were often hand-made, and equally often just percussive objects. The vocals seem to derive from two main styles:
# Traditional call and response of Black Spirituals
# Short, repetitive lyrics

The genre originates in very rural areas of the farming South and today persists in a stretch of sparsely populated Southern states stretching from northwest Georgia to an area south of Memphis. Notable performers are Napoleon Strickland, Dan Emmett, Othar Turner, and Jessie Mae Hemphill. Performers play blues songs as well as religious songs such as "When the Saints Go Marching In" and "When I Lay My Burden Down."

ee also

*Othar Turner
*Ancient Fife and Drum Corps
*Joe Hicks
*Excelsior Brigade Fife and Drum Corps
*Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps
*Napoleon Strickland

Further viewing

*"American Patchwork: Songs and Stories of America", part 3: "The Land Where the Blues Began" (1990). Written, directed, and produced by Alan Lomax; developed by the Association for Cultural Equity at Columbia University and Hunter College. North Carolina Public TV; A Dibb Direction production for Channel Four. (Watch film: [http://www.folkstreams.net/film,109 The Land Where the Blues Began] )
*"Deep Blues" (1991). Directed by Robert Mugge.
*"Gravel Springs Fife and Drum" (1971). Filmed by Bill Ferris, recorded by David Evans, and edited by Judy Peiser. (Watch film: [http://www.folkstreams.net/film,59 Gravel Springs Fife and Drum]

Further reading

# David Evans, "Black Fife and Drum Music in Mississippi"
# Howard W. Odum, "Religious Folk-Songs of the Southern Negro"
# Eileen Southern "The Music of Black Americans: A History"
# [http://www.folkstreams.net/context,86 http://www.folkstreams.net/context,86]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps — The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps performs at a celebration commemorating the 225th anniversary of the American victory at the Siege of Yorktown, during the American Revolutionary War. The United States Army Old Guard Fife and… …   Wikipedia

  • Ancient Fife and Drum Corps — An Ancient Fife and Drum Corps is a traditional, typically American drum corps that plays fifes and wooden rope tension snare and bass drums.HistoryFifes are an ancient instrument, referred to in Europe as the Schweize Pfeife , or Swiss flute.… …   Wikipedia

  • Excelsior Brigade Fife and Drum Corps — The Excelsior Brigade Fife and Drum Corps (aka Excelsior Brigade of Fifes and Drums, Excelsior Brigade, or Western New York Field Music) was founded in 2000 as a combination Ancient Fife and Drum Corps and living history unit dedicated to… …   Wikipedia

  • Blues — This article is about the music genre. For other uses, see Blues (disambiguation). Blues Stylistic origins African American folk music Work song Spirituals Cultural origins Late 19th century, southern United States Typical instruments …   Wikipedia

  • Fife (musical instrument) — A fife is a small, high pitched, transverse flute that is similar to the piccolo, but louder and shriller due to its narrower bore. The fife originated in medieval Europe and is often used in military and marching bands. Someone who plays the… …   Wikipedia

  • Blues Explosion — Datos generales Origen Nueva York (EEUU) Información …   Wikipedia Español

  • Blues Explosion — Infobox musical artist Name = Blues Explosion Img capt = From left to right: Judah, Jon and Russell Img size = Landscape = Background = group or band Alias = Origin = New York City, NY, USA Years active = 1990–present Label = Matador Associated… …   Wikipedia

  • Delta blues — For the racehorse, see Delta Blues (horse). Delta blues Stylistic origins Blues Typical instruments Guitar, Harmonica Derivative forms Chicago blues, Detroit blues, Electric blues …   Wikipedia

  • Origins of the blues — Little is known about the exact origin of the music now known as the blues.[1] No specific year can be cited as the origin of the blues, largely because the style evolved over a long period of time and existed in approaching its modern form… …   Wikipedia

  • Chicago blues — Stylistic origins Delta blues, instrumentation Cultural origins Early twentieth century: Chicago, Illinois, United States Typical instruments Electric guitar, Harmonica, drums, Piano, Bass guit …   Wikipedia