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Next is now, world music as the single most potent force in the culture of fusion ... World music-makers are like shamans, carrying us on magic carpets of riffs and melodies through states of consciousness that spin us out of time to lands not yet invented but glimpsed on the aural horizon ... And so we see that music brings us, in the jumping of our cells, from what is past to what is trying to become the future. lt expresses and fulfills our need to hear the spirit in the dark.
(Jean Houston in Jump Time, Sentient Publ. 2004)
Tribal Music Rocks the Millennium
It seems that, over the past 20 or 30 years, we’ve progressed from a single music style dominating each new decade – the 60’s and 70’s was rock, 80’s pop – to gradually seeing (or hearing, as the case may be) much more diversity in popular music.
The 90’s married pop with techno and R’n’B and, during the first 10 years of this bright new millennium, we’ve seen R’n’B, pop, rock and other mainstream styles blend with tribal dance music. Rhythms and sounds that we’ve historically left to the province of the ‘new age’ crowd are now making more obvious inroads into popular music by mixing with beats that we’re more familiar with – and doing so very successfully!
And why wouldn’t tribal dance music become more popular now that it’s more readily available to a larger audience?
Tribal drum music – as part of its very nature – has a beat and rhythm that’s visceral. African tribal drum music was used ceremonially as an expression of emotion, with the drum representing a heartbeat that would evoke a certain mood in the dancers. Emotion transcends race, ethnicity and religion and speaks to us the same way now as it did to tribal people dancing on the African savannah hundreds of years ago.
Side effect of the slave trade
In truth, tribal dance music has played a (quiet and not very well recognised) part in the development of many European and Western music genres. This shouldn’t really come as a surprise when we consider that the slave trade brought together hundreds of different styles of tribal dance music that quickly began to exert its influence on European music styles. Tribal drum music became an integral part of the evolution of modern music genres, from rock’n’roll and jazz to techno and dance.
The Jitterbug and The Twist
Tribal beats combined with popular music to produce dances such as The Jitterbug and The Twist that travelled from our ears straight down to our feet without bothering to ask for permission – the only way you can stand still when they take hold of your spinal column is by nailing your feet to the floor. Even the more stolid folks decided that was too messy and too painful, so they threw away the hammer and boogied their way into miniskirts and blue-suede shoes.
Contemporary tribal trance dance music
Now, half a century later, tribal dance music is no longer merely a background sound. Recording artists like Professor Trance, Adesa and Ariel Kalma have combined tribal dance music from far-flung places such as Australia, India, Egypt, Pakistan, Africa, Central Europe and North America with beats reminiscent of rock, pop and R’n’B. African voices, didgeridoos and Tibetan chants meld with smooth saxophone notes and guitar riffs to create a scintillating sound full of energy and movement.
Music is a living thing and we can only hope that, as it continues to evolve, people and nations will evolve in kind.
A roadmap for the future?
The first 10 years of this new millennium have been rife with both triumph and tragedy. As people around the world celebrate and grieve together, as we become more accepting of diverse beliefs and ways of life, hopefully we’ll follow in the direction that music leads – a harmonisation of mankind’s many voices into one melodic sound. The tribal music that played such an integral part of our history is now showing us a road map for the future.
And if you simply want to dance to great tribal music check out Music Mosaic's tribal music compilation:
Did you know the large variety of drums? - And yes, they are played in our drum compilations. Percussion, pony drum, jun-jun drum, balafon, korlegonor, djembe, bunte, gome, blekete, dumbek, frame drums, khamak, dubki, dhol, khol, darbuka, kanjira tambourine, dun-dun, bendir, dhollo, def, tablas, davul, ia, itotele, udu-drum, ocarina-udu, zilla-drum, congas, talking drum, hoshso, bougarabou, bakdav drum, hi-hat, toms, mbira, oprente, kpanlogo, percussion, drum kit, ngoma, cajon percussion, drum machine, drum loops, balafon, tar, bells.
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