Riffin' on Music & Language
Program #BARA005. Recorded in Boulder, CO on July 07, 2000.
The origins of key elements of African American culture, such as the blues and jazz, can be traced to traditional West African griot and djali musicians and performers. They were not just entertainers and storytellers but custodians of memory. They are the link in the trans-Atlantic chain leading to Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith. Miles Davis, Gil Scott-Heron and modern-day rappers. A "riff" is a jazz term. It means to improvise on a theme.
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