Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Rollefson, J. Griffith. “‘He’s Calling His Flock Now’: Black Music and Postcoloniality from Buddy Bolden’s New Orleans to Sefyu’s Paris.” American Music 33 (Fall 2015): 375-97.

Senegalese-French rapper Sefyu’s 2006 track En noir et blanc is a case study in hip hop’s role as both a product of postcolonial contradictions and a form of cultural politics aimed at combatting postcolonial inequalities. While the track includes musical gestures to Africa, Europe, and America, the featured loop is sampled from Nina Simone’s 1962 recording of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s 1956 song Hey, Buddy Bolden. Sefyu’s sample recalls not only the past of Simone and Ellington, but also the past of New Orleans circa 1900 and Buddy Bolden, the “elusive father of jazz” (in Ted Gioia’s words). The origins of jazz recall further still centuries of syncretic music making since the first African slaves were brought to the Virginia Colony in 1619. Sefyu’s lyrics deal more directly with the complexity and contradictions of cultural and racial identity, with color used as a poetic motif throughout the song. Edward Said’s postcolonial theory stresses the entangled histories of colonizer and colonized, and, together with W. E. B. Du Bois’s concept of double consciousness, it helps listeners to hear the continuities in Black popular music and to escape from notions of American exceptionalism.

Works: Sefyu: En noir et blanc (378-80, 384); Nina Simone (performer): Hey, Buddy Bolden (379)

Sources: Nina Simone (performer): Hey, Buddy Bolden (378-80, 384); Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn: Hey, Buddy Bolden (379)

Index Classifications: 2000s, Popular

Contributed by: Matthew Van Vleet

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Musical Borrowing and Reworking - - 2024
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