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Cultural Exchanges and Trans-Atlantic Bonds: African Music and the Evolution of Blues and Jazz by Toyin Falola and Raphael Chiji

October 21, 2020

The subject of Black music and its African cultural roots is arguably one of the most engaging topics in contemporary Africana studies, cultural anthropology, and ethnomusicology. It is compelling because the record of successes attained by Black music artists across the world is one of the best testaments of African genius. Music and dance in the African world constitute a unique cultural invention that racial prejudice and oppression cannot smother. Rather than destroying it, American plantation slavery and its culture of despoliation strengthened Black music. Under slavery, music was not just a coping mechanism amid coercion; it was also a repertoire of knowledge, an intellectual tradition, and an outlet for those suppressed thoughts and emotions that found alternative expressive outlets in the forms of blues and jazz.

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Deep Reading to Stay Alive by Harold Bloom

In what sense does deep reading augment life? Can it render death only another hoyden? Most literary representations of death do not portray her as being particularly boisterous. Why “her”? Is it the long cavalcade associating death and the mother? I have learned from Epicurus and Lucretius what Epicurus stated so pungently in his letter to Menoceus (late fourth century BCE):

“So death, the most terrifying of ills, is nothing to us, since so long as we exist, death is not with us; but when death comes, then we do not exist. It does not then concern either the living or the dead, since for the former it is not, and the latter are no more.”

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