African-American Fife & Drum Music: Mississippi & Jamaica





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Published on Feb 1, 2009

This is archival (?which) footage of a fife and drum group of Ed and Lonnie Young of Mississippi. I believe it was recorded by Alan Lomax, sometime between 1959 and the early 60s. They use a fife made of cane, and drums adapted from military bands.

It is interesting how similar it is, not just in form but also in actual content, to the fife and drum playing of "John Canoe" processional music of Jamaica. I have put just a quick sample of that from a 1954 recording, at the end.

[My purpose for posting is to draw out this comparison, which would probably not be noticed otherwise (the clip being buried in Martin Scorcese's documentary on Blues), but if it appears to infringe someone's copyright, please contact me.]

EDIT: "This footage was shot during the 1966 Newport Folk Festival, indeed by Alan Lomax. Ed Young plays the fife; Lonnie Young, Sr., the snare; and G.D. Young, the bass drum. Lomax's audio recordings from Newport '66, including those of the Youngs, are available through the online archive of the Association for Cultural Equity (Alan Lomax Archive)." - AlanLomaxArchive

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