Sunday, December 21, 2008

There is Black British Music. But what about the rest of black Europe?

Music of the black community in the UK is called 'Black British Music'. But what about music of the other black communities in Europe?

According to UK African-American singer Carleen Anderson British black music has a distinct flavour. "The thing that I like about British music that is different from American music. You have this element of West African and Island (Caribbean) music, reggae music and so forth, that you wouldn’t have in American music. That is not part of their primary culture as such, and that extra bit in here is the thing that makes it British."

Anderson’s remarks about black British music can also be also be made about the music of other black communities in Europe. The music of the black community in France, the Netherlands and to some extend Germany is also influenced by West Africa and the Caribbean. But the big difference is that their music is not labelled as Black French, Black Dutch or Black German music.

The French are showing their colours. Music from the black French Community is mainly 'Zouk'. Zouk music began in the French Caribbean but it has unleashed itself to French speaking Africa, Brazil and Cape Verde. But maybe because France doesn't acknowledge the ethnic differences, French music can't be 'black'. But things are changing in France. With the annual award ceremony 'Les Trophées des Arts Afro-Caribéens' the French black community is pushing for change.

Dutch black music is isolated. Black music in the Netherlands is Surinam 'Kaseko' and Dutch Antillean music. But Kaseko and Dutch Antillean music are mainly confined to the Surinam and Dutch Antillean community. Kaseko has a West-African beat and Antillean music has a more Salsa rhythm. Although there was something as Neder-R&B, Dutch black music is cornered as 'World Music'. And it's bound to die there if no one screams.

Black German music hasn't made a footprint. Black German music has a no distinct music style. Although the black German community is rooted in Africa and Germany, the music connects more with Reggae, R&B and Hip Hop. Maybe it's because the black German community is relatively small and too divers, that it has not yet been able to elevate it's music to 'Black German Music'. The two million Turkish community haven't also been able to make a musical footprint in Germany. So who's to blame

But although black music will always rule the planet, black people in Europe aren’t getting any shine nowadays. Not only in music, but also in fashion and in politics. White artists are dominating the black soul charts, Eastern European models are pushing black models off the catwalks, and black European politicians have to compete with the more relevant muslin politicians.

Maybe the issue of black European music is not important at all. Black people in Europe are making Reggae, Hip Hop, Jazz, R&B and even Folk music. And that’s black enough.



5 comments:

  1. If anything we are catering to whites. I can see why both Zouk and various african flavoured music are watered down version of the originals. French zouk in the west indies is raw and sung in the local patois. This will never sell in europe, coversely raw african pop as opposed to actual african folklore will never sell either.

    What black americans will never admit is that hip hop and soul a product of white cultured with a blend of black heritage and the current stars are all catering to the white audience. Read Beyonce etc...

    I am not sure we black europeans we will have a clear cut ethnic tagged music that caters to everyone because unlike our american counterparts the laws in europe do not allow us to create separate entities like in the US. they have countless of historical black outlets and it is legal there. Over anything tagged with black is controversial .

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  2. Blacks in Europe should stop hating African americans...Read Franz Fanon.

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  3. "What black americans will never admit is that hip hop and soul a product of white cultured with a blend of black heritage and the current stars are all catering to the white audience. Read Beyonce etc... "

    Uhm, African-American history 101 or common knowledge among AFrican Americans is "African American culture" is indeed American culture. Thre wasn't any American culture before the arrival and emancipation of slaves. Before then it was european music to which the old gray Americans still try to hold fast to in regards to great music. Sad, since the first great American music was Jazz. Too bad they can't see past their well past.

    Our music and culture is an African adaptation to puritan English economic culture and instruments. It is not simply sprinkled with black heritage nor is it a product of white culture.

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  4. As an African American I'd have to say that a lot of the crap that passes for hip hop today is created with the sole purpose of reaching the largest market possible. As such, it is necessesarily made for white tastes. While the genre may be the fruit of African American culture, the flavor it's being presented in today, is often at cross purposes with the intentions of the originators.
    That said, chatnoir, when soul was created and was our music of choice, only the most adventurous of whites would openly listen to it. The same goes for hip hop before white corporations got involved. I shouldn't have to tell this to anyone. Everything African was discovered and re-invented by the white man.
    This includes the Judeo-Christian religion, modern medecine and the list goes on. This happened before they kidnapped the Africans and brought us to the new world in the 15th and 16th centuries. It was essentially our labor and in many cases the skills we brought with us that gave them the wealth they hold today. Our music was one of the few things they left us with, even then they originally put restrictions on the language and instruments we used. They couldn't however take away the rythm nor could they curtail our creativity.

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    1. ps. while we're on the topic of world African Music check out the following link.
      http://blackmediamine.blogspot.ca/2012/05/26th-edition-of-festival-international.html

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