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"Rhythms of the Soul: African Instruments in the Diaspora"
1999-10-16 until 2000-06-11
California African American Museum
Los Angeles, CA, USA United States of America

The California African American Museum (CAAM) presents Rhythms of the Soul: African Instruments in the Diaspora a sight and sound odyssey that explores musical instruments from Africa, the United States and the Caribbean. The exhibition, opened Oct. 16, 1999 and continuing through June 11, 2000, features more than 150 instruments. Visitors will discover how African music has given birth to American blues, jazz, hip hop and rock and roll. The exhibit, filled with sound domes, videos, dioramas, and hands-on activities, is housed in settings that include a simulated African village and a recreation of a 1960s Motown recording studio. Rhythms of the Soul: African Instruments in the Diaspora is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Target and FRIENDS, the Foundation of the California African American Museum. Rhythms of the Soul: African Instruments in the Diaspora is part of an artistic collaboration between the UCLA Fowler Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the California African American Museum, entitled The Heritage of African Music. Rick Moss, California African American Museum History Curator of the exhibit notes, The Heritage of African Music is intended as a national model for museum partnerships and represents an unparalleled commitment to cooperation and education in an urban environment. This collaboration is an unprecedented initiative in Black art, culture, and history and the museum community.

The three Los Angeles venues will launch simultaneous exhibitions canvassing more than 32 musical traditions in Africa, North and South America, serving as focal points for a citywide celebration honoring the monumental contributions that African and African American music have made to the world musical landscape. The Heritage of African Music is expected to draw a combined total of approximately 1 million visitors.

Rhythms of the Soul: African Instruments in the Diaspora traces the lineage of a distinctly African based musical heritage in North America and the Diaspora as created by people of African descent from the 17th century to the present. The exhibition showcases four interactive environments evoking different facets of African American musical heritage in the New World including jazz, rock & roll, hip hop and gospel.

The four sections feature The African Heritage, Developments in the Diaspora, Post Emancipation in the United States, and Urban Traditions 1920s to the Present.


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