West African Roots of African American Fiddling from the Coastal Plain to Monticello the Frontier during the American Revolution

Cece Conway (Appalachian State University)

Music crosses borders easily and has contributed to cultural exchange among diverse Southern communities. Proficient on the West African one-string fiddle, black musicians developed complex rhythmic and bowing skills. In 1690 a black fiddler played for whites to dance in Accomac, VA. During the 17th C, blacks became the primary dance fiddlers—from the coastal plain plantations to Monticello. Fiddler Alan Jabbour observed that the earliest black and white instrumental exchange took place in the "dance music played primarily on the fiddle." This radical shift resulted from the collision of European dance masters, African Americans and the Scots Irish fiddlers.

Part of 06-13 Re-Centering the Periphery in the South: A Japanese Violinist, Black Fiddlers, and Frontier Poets Enlivening an International Festival, Friday, October 14, 2:30 pm–4:30 pm