The Music of Harlem: Tracing back to History

The Music of Harlem: Tracing back to History
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The Music of Harlem: Tracing back to History

The Music of Harlem: Tracing back to History

The mention of Harlem takes us back to history reminding us of the chronicled Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance was one of the most influential movements in African American history that marked the development of African American culture, specifically in the creative arts field. This period witnessed advancements in African American literature, theatre, music and visual arts. And through this revolution, African Americans came to become prominent and significant figures in American society. The music of Harlem, specifically, saw the momentum and created a stir in World Music. The shadows of those musical evenings and the influence of those eminent singers still mingle on the streets through Live Jazz in Harlem. People from across the globe visit Harlem for their musical inspirations and to experience some euphonious evenings. 

The popularity and acceptance of Harlem Music are such that even in the fast-paced 21st Century, people take pleasure in booking Harlem Gospel Choir Tickets to experience the soulful rendition of Gospel music. Most travel plans across Newyork have the itinerary for at least a day’s visit to Harlem. The rhythms and improvisation of the Blues, and the introduction of Jazz during the Harlem renaissance took the world by storm with the musical epiphany. 

The Beginning

Between the 1920s and the 1930s, American history saw the utterly famous Harlem renaissance, a revolution for African Americans’ cultural and intellectual revival. The community of Harlem was historically and culturally rich and throughout its development experienced utter poverty to urban growth. From the beginning of the 1880s, a massive population of African Americans migrated to Harlem and bought their heritage, traditions, and culture. And one of the most significant traditions they brought was that of music. The music of Harlem has since then evolved with rich and meaningful lyrics and rhythms created from typical African musical instruments. 

Harlem, originally a village set up by the Dutch, had grown to be a prominent musical centre in the influential neighbourhood of Newyork. In the mid-1920s, many African Americans flocked to Harlem to seek their musical career in the big apple. With time Harlem become the melting pot for the spiritual southern blacks with the intellectual northern blacks to create a community of intellectually and artistically superior African Americans, who eventually played an important role in American History. Interestingly enough, Harlem became the cultural capital of the black Americans and evolved to be the major centre of nightlife in Newyork. But, ironically, that was also the time when the term “Newyorker” didn’t include anyone of colour. 

The Rise

With the Harlem renaissance at its peak, some significant musical figures and incidents worked towards paving the way for an introduction of the African Americans as an essential part of American history and culture. In the 1920s, America was undergoing some major changes as it was growing as an industrial and economical giant and saw the transformation of the core workers from agricultural workers to urban dwellers. Music too found its space in the urban setting and many job opportunities were created. And amidst these major evolutions, black Americans emerged with power and a voice for equality. The emergence of the Blacks as professionals and artists saw the migration of the black population to Harlem, where they were defended and promoted to present their talent and grow intellectually and artistically. 

Writers like W.E.B. DuBois, Zora Hurston, Langston Hughes, etc., contributed largely to the literature of this era. And philosophers like Alain Locke and leaders such as A. Phillip Randolph were the major contributors to the movement. However, when music is concerned, some surprisingly big names played an important role in popularising Jazz music. Billi Holiday, Chick Webb, Louis Armstrong, etc., were the biggest names of musicians from the Harlem renaissance. 

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It was a time when the prominent clubs in Newyork did not permit the entrance and performance of black people. Amidst this injustice and social differences between the black and the white, the Apollo theatre of Newyork first opened its doors for black musicians and played a significant role in promoting their music.

The Influence

The style created by the Harlem musicians has left a strong impact on American music, which later on stormed to other parts of the world. Jazz, which was confined to the African American culture and music, experienced the exposure that took American society and the world by storm. Jazz saw immense popularity and was accepted by musicians worldwide. Who knew the performances of Live Jazz Harlem would grow to become a major musical genre and will receive applause and appreciation from a wider audience? The genre that was developed by an ethnic western African population, was an amalgamation of traditional African folk music, work songs, and spirituals with European art music, which has laid influence for most modern genres of music. 

Final word

As much as Harlem music is concerned, it is melodious, harmonical, and soulful. Being in Newyork, one should not miss the chance to experience the impactful and powerful performances of Jazz and Blues. Or, experience the choirs in the churches of Harlem by booking Harlem Gospel Choir Tickets and spending an eventful night. 

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