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Black Music and Spoken Word: A Nexus of Mysticism and Literal Meaning

Dawn Norfleet
Grinnell College
Hiphop Inclusive
Before 2005

This course will explore African American instrumental performance and its relation to vocal expression. We will examine the soloist as a mystical and spiritual figure in African American musical performance, as both sacred and secular figure among the community of listeners; discuss gender and music; and finally analyze the contemporary spoken word scene. This course will primarily focus on jazz, hip hop, and rhythm and blues, and spoken word and study the selected works of John Coltrane, Gil Scott Heron, the Last Poets, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Meshell Ndege-Ocello, Lauryn Hill and Sekou Sundiata.

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