A number of Black and ethnically Arab scholars and ethnomusicologists have looked at the connection between Blues, Islam, and African American fiddling traditions and a handful of European musicians and researchers in the Blues have commented on the similarity of Blues as a modal system and how that might connect with Arabic Maqam and Indian Raga. This says a lot about the tools and background knowledge that researchers bring with them and why most [White] scholars and educators in American Music programs take a decidedly Anglo and/or Eurocentric [and Essentialist] approach to the Blues and those connections.
Many of the issues of this type of exclusion are echoed in my commentary and analysis about <Perpetually Foreign Music> and especially in my Early Black Musicians, Composers, and Music Scholars (505-1505 CE) piece, Slave Orchestras, Choirs, Bands, and Ensembles bibliography, and Arabic Music Theory (650-1650) Bibliography project.
This page is an extension of a MyBib page resource, Islam, African American Fiddling, and the Blues, which I’m no longer updating and which has limited functionality for annotations and endnotes. As with many of my other online bibliography projects this is an ongoing work and will be updated and annotated as I have the time.
Image: Mobile Strugglers, a Black String Band from Alabama active in the 1940s-50s.
PUBLISHED 7/1/2021; LAST UPDATED 5/21/2022
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Curiel, J. (2006). Saudi Aramco World : Muslim Roots, U.S. Blues. Aramco World. https://archive.aramcoworld.com/issue/200604/muslim.roots.u.s.blues.htm
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Diouf, S. A. (2019). What Islam Gave the Blues. Renovatio. https://renovatio.zaytuna.edu/article/what-islam-gave-the-blues
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Einboden, J. (2012). Arabic Slave Writings and the American Canon. Northern Illinois University: Department of English. https://www.niu.edu/arabic-slave-writings/index.shtml
Eyre, B. (2007, April 19). Afropop Worldwide | Africa and The Blues: An Interview with Gerhard Kubik. Afropop Worldwide. https://afropop.org/articles/africa-and-the-blues-an-interview-with-gerhard-kubik
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Foster, Dan. (2020, April 28). Teodar Jackson – Texas Fiddler. The Field Recorders’ Collective. https://fieldrecorder.org/teodar-jackson-texas-fiddler/
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Montes-Bradley, E. (forthcoming documentary). Black Fiddlers: String Band Music in Black America, from colonial Williamsburg to the Carolina Chocolate Drops. [documentary film]. Kickstarter page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/borges/black-fiddlers
Morrison, M. D. (2020, December 28). “And then to consider the ‘run’ in relation to Muslim vocal practices that many of our ancestors descend from (as I was reminded and talking with @AsiaLeeds about the other night).” Twitter.com. https://twitter.com/DrMaDMo/status/1343743441726038018
Nawaz, A., & Nagy, L. (2019, April 23). How the Autobiography of a Muslim Slave Is Challenging an American Narrative. PBS News Hour. https://www.pbs.org/newshour/amp/show/how-the-autobiography-of-a-muslim-slave-is-challenging-an-american-narrative
Rashid, H. (n.d.). Muslim Voices in America: The Making of a Modern Music Scene. Asia Society. Retrieved September 11, 2020, from https://asiasociety.org/muslim-voices-america-making-modern-music-scene
Salah, M. (2020a, May 18). Blues and Jazz .. An international music story with Arab and Islamic roots | tellerreport.com. Www.tellerreport.com. https://www.tellerreport.com/news/2020-05-18-blues-and-jazz—-an-international-music-story-with-arab-and-islamic-roots.HJgnt24eoI.html
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Silpayamanant, J. (2020b, October 31). This paragraph in Dr. DjeDje’s interview says so much, and am really looking forward to her book African American fiddling!…[thread]. Threadreaderapp.com. https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1322359299230846976.html
Silpayamanant, J. (2020c, November 10). Re-reading this and thinking about it in light of Dr. Jacqueline C. DjeDje’s work researching the little known African American Fiddling traditions and all the early Blues violinist recordings that we have…[thread]. Threadreaderapp.com. https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1326130875877224448.html
Silpayamanant, J. (2020d, November 10). Islam, African American Fiddling, and the Blues, MyBib. https://www.mybib.com/b/w8WADB
Silpayamanant, J. (2021a, February 7). One of the things I’m learning while working on this Arabic #MusicTheory Bibliography (650-1650) project is how Anti-Blackness is a feature of Western Music Theory [thread]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/Silpayamanant/status/1358553291962089477
Silpayamanant, J. (2021b, March 8). …a number of ethnomusicologists & historians have made the connection between Islamic music/vocalization/string playing & the Blues [thread]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/Silpayamanant/status/1369045688022106113
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