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Negro music in America. They grow music in America. An exploration of it and its impact on American culture. Here is your host for the series Tony look at the box. Last week we promised to bring to you the recorded sounds of a New Orleans brass band playing in a funeral procession. We know that treat in store for you but before we start the music we think that maybe you might appreciate and enjoy it a little more if you have a few more facts about funeral processions in New Orleans and you got from Jelly Roll Morton is conversation a couple of weeks ago. Previous to the Civil War most southern cities had bands which were often of great excellence. They were composed of Negro players who were primarily free men and possibly slaves from households. These men played for military parades performing marches in the
European traditions. As a former French colony Normans followed very closely the French fashions in bands and was famous for them. The father had been home a clarinetist was a member of the onward brass band in the 1890s. This band in 1891 competed in New York and won contests against many other bands. This was composed entirely of negroes from New Orleans bands were used in all kinds of occasions picnics dances funerals and were a sure fire attraction for almost any occasion. According to Rudy blush and shining trumpets 13 new girl organizations in New Orleans were represented by their own bands at the funeral ceremonies for President Garfield in 1871. The organizations of New Orleans gave many Bens employment and had unusual traditions that welcomed their presence on many occasions. The negroes had very rapidly developed a way of life that Sen around secret societies in fraternal orders. They paid burial expenses
sick benefits gave a chance for a parade. And certainly gave relief from the monotony of everyday life. They also gave many opportunities for personal ambitions to a Nigro that he could not realize in many other ways. In the book Gumbel Yahya Sr. Johnson explains as follows. A woman's got to belong to at least seven secret societies. If she expects to get buried in any style and the more lodges you belong to the more music you get when you go is to meet your maker. I belong to enough now to have shoes on my feet. I know right now what I'm going to have at my wake. I'm sure looking forward to my wake. They are going to wake me for four nights and I'm going to have the biggest room the church ever had and that's why everything I makes goes to the church and to them societies. For years I myself have listened to Norman's brass bands on record and seen them on the motion picture screen and read about them. And finally in a few weeks ago I had the privilege of marching alongside of a funeral parade in New Orleans. We'll play some of the numbers for you as it was recorded while we marched in the
streets alongside of them. Please bear in mind the difficulty of making this type of recording what the street noises were like with the wind blowing in the poor position for the mic. The band left the lads and played as it marched to meet the herders. It played in a very fast tempo apparently designed to attract a following. And here is one of the numbers it played.
After the rendezvous with the hearse the band led the funeral procession to the cemetery playing dirges and marching very slowly. Here's a fourth dirge they played. Listen especially for the baritone sax solo which is beautiful. Can you hear. Me. Or.
I don't know whether you know this but in New Orleans burials are not made in the ground. They're made above ground involves and done in such a fashion that the extreme dampness of the ground and sogginess doesn't affect the bodies. At this point the hearse drives into the cemetery and halts it can't drive too far to where they're going to make the burial. The casket was removed from the hearse and carried or marched into the cemetery and around the corner to where the vault was prepared for internment. At this time during the marching and at the vault the band played a closer walk with thee.
The thing. In the Hugh. Little. Hurdler who.
After the burial service the band regrouped outside of the cemetery and struck up when the Saints Go Marching In. And this was inane upswing. Jazz tempo and the people fell in line in front of the band danced and trucked down the street all the way to the lodge hall. Now as we play this for you perhaps you too can feel the joy a sense of relief that they express in this fashion.
Thank. You. Thank you. Thank. You. All during the time that we marched along with the band I couldn't help but think about the fact that this tradition this great tradition was beginning to die on and these things didn't happen as often anywhere near as often as they used to. The expression of joy after leaving the cemetery was part of their feeling in their tradition as told by the nadir the band who said that
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Negro music in America
Episode Number
Producing Organization
WSIU 8 (Television station : Carbondale, Ill.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program, the fifth of thirty nine parts, presents various examples of African-American folk and jazz music.
Series Description
This series focuses on music created and performed by African-Americans, including folk, and jazz styles. This series is hosted by Anton Luckenbach of Carbondale, Illinois, who also gathered interviews in New Orleans for this series.
Broadcast Date
Race and Ethnicity
Media type
Host: Luckenbach, Anton
Producing Organization: WSIU 8 (Television station : Carbondale, Ill.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 67-1-5 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:13:50
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Chicago: “Negro music in America; 5,” 1967-01-02, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed January 28, 2023,
MLA: “Negro music in America; 5.” 1967-01-02. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. January 28, 2023. <>.
APA: Negro music in America; 5. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from