Traditions That Define Afria Traditions of the African people are alive in…
Traditions That Define Afria Traditions of the African people are alive in many different forms, including music and dance, beadwork, sculpture, and all the rest. Such traditions lie at the deepest roots of African culture. Several African languages are “tone languages,” or those whose meaning is determined by pitch level. Singing is naturally important to African communities, with melody and rhythm following the intonation of the lyrics of the song. Such songs are usually sung call-and-respond style. In West Africa, a praise singer or poet known as a griot keeps a set of oral traditions that are passed on generation after generation. Griots must have good knowledge of traditional songs and have the ability to change them to suit the present times. Africans place high importance on oral traditions because it insures that cultural practices will be inherited by generations after generations. Perfected by traditional oral practices, listening is also given high importance. Several songs and dances have been transmitted just by word of mouth. Also playing a big role in African society is music as another form of communication. Big events like birth, marriage and even political rallies happen accompanied by songs.
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Music may as well be used in African cultures to keep bad spirits at bay, honor good ones, and pay respects to the dead. While each region has its own musical styles and instruments, there are many commonalities among their various forms of musical expression. For example, anyone can use an African drum to create original African music. The instrument is a good way to express the people’s mood and to rouse feelings and emotions. The African drum’s beat is considered as the “heartbeat of the community,” and its rhythm is responsible for holding the dancers together.
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Dance is another essential part of the culture of Africans. In delivering or communicating a message, dancers count on symbolic actions, body painting, masks, props and gestures. The action can range from simple to complicated, including such complex moves as body rippling, muscle contraction and release, and swift rotations, among so many others. The African masks that used during dances have functional, ceremonial and religious origins. These masks are also used to represent a spirit, and it is believed that a dancer who wears a mask is being possessed by the spirit represented. Part of African tradition is the practice of a young girl giving a young boy a beaded bracelet that comes in different colors. There will be courtship and when the time is right, the boy will ask her what the beads mean. Lastly, art and sculpture are also common in African culture, the most common themes being a woman and her child, a male carrying a weapon or animal, and a “stranger.” Mother and child may symbolize Mother Earth and the human race, male figure represents respect and honor for ancestors, and stranger refers to any foreign tribe or country which is unwelcome in Africa.