Flash of the Spirit: African & Afro-American Art & Philosophy – Robert Farris Thompson

1960s: Days of Rage


“… Introduction: The Rise of the Black Atlantic Visual Tradition by Robert Farris Thompson. Listening to rock, jazz, blues, reggae, salsa, samba, bossa nova, juju, highlife, and mambo, one might conclude that much of the popular music of the world is informed by the flash of the spirit of a certain people specially armed with improvisatory drive and brilliance. Since the Atlantic slave trade, ancient African organizing principles of song and dance have crossed the seas from the Old World to the New. There they took on new momentum, intermingling with each other and with New World or European styles of singing and dance. Among those principles are the dominance of a percussive performance style (attack and vital aliveness in sound and motion); a propensity of multiple meter (competing meters sounding all at once): overlapping call and response in singing (solo/chorus, voice/instrument – interlock systems of performance); inner pulse…

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