How Pop Was Born In West Africa

(Reprinted from Culture Sonar) by Ken Hymes

(Everything I am about to tell you is boiled down. Exceptions abound, I can’t tell the whole story in a few hundred words, and music is so big and complex that it wouldn’t be hard to find another angle on this. But I want to point out the way our ideas about music were deeply shaped by African culture, beyond rhythms and “blues scales.”)

If you love blues, classic rock, jazz, or modern pop, you owe a debt to West African stringed instruments. Here’s why…

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