A highlight from 168-Soul to Soul at 50 A Homecoming Festival in Ghana for African American Artists, 1971


But this was not the first exchange of this kind. It was actually louis armstrong who first visited the country in one thousand nine hundred eighty six. During the filming of satchmo the great film produced by edward r murrow documenting the great jazz musicians global travels and while in the gold coast. Armstrong's first concert was widely popular. It was written that after the show crowds. I ended up the streets of accra and admire long procession followed armstrong back to his town armstrong and his all stars played to an audience of one hundred thousand people. The police said it was a record for the goal and it may well have set the world record in the entire history of music. He was seats. The judge author off africa in stereo modernism music and pan-african solidarity louis armstrong went to ghana when it was still the gold closed in one thousand nine fifty six and for me. That is the beginning of the concert. Planning process forest ulta and nineteen seventy-one been armstrong was completely convinced. He was gone ghanaian because he met a woman in a market. Who was so much like. His grandmother was convinced that this is we came from. That was musicologist john. Ins- resident ghanaian music expert at afropop. There these incredible images of armstrong. Getting off the plane with his trumpet in hand of brass band of highlife musicians there to welcome him playing what he knows the tune simon coups and they are singing all for you and they jam right away because this is a song a repertoire and a way of relating to music that makes sense that they have engaged in on both sides of the atlantic guy claimed the song as a highlight in fact is one of the oldest islands ghana but he recognized the melody. He said that he record his grandmother singing with june later on. Some other research showed that the melody of all few was an actor. Song called sly mongoose. The jamaican calypso or mental song which was recorded in the thirties and forties and there were various renditions of it. So i think louis had forgotten heard the melody just record it. So there was a controversy about whether it's an american music come to africa or an african music to america but was sort of proving the point that the to and through between the two sides of the atlantic been going on for a long time on light brown bag. I'm not flying american bound. Eighteen hundred when jamaicans game to sierra leone freetown. The first time that they brought caribbean is to africa. Most people think african music goes to america during the days of slavery but there was a trickle. Back of africa from the americas. Were african american caribbean music. With treat slaves resilient jamaican maroons. Black soldiers fighting in the regimental of the british. And so on. So the two sides of the atlantic connected even though that may have been the purpose of the whites that in fact there was a constant to and fro and there was also black nationalist boys and padmore. There was constant going to and fro behind the backs of the colonialists. A music was actually one of the earliest reconnections people. Give it different names they call it the boomerang effect. They call it the homecoming of african music from the americas to africa or feedback mechanism with has been going on for a long time. The following year in nineteen fifty seven diplomats from around the world travel to across to join the celebration marking gun as new independence. Ghana's first president women kuma who himself studied in the united states became a leader in the new pan-african movement kwami and kuma was one of a number of political organizers who led a movement in the gold coast towards independent and. He's a really interesting figure because not only does he become the first president of ghana. He's seen as a kind of leader of africa. More broadly in part because ghana was just ahead of the curve in terms of gaining independence in nineteen fifty seven for many africans across the continent and black people throughout the world to see an african country become independent and where it's cultural pride so freely was very inspiring in terms of his political leanings. He was very interested in the work of wbz boys and in solidarity with people like george padmore and left leaning in terms of his politics within a black tradition so he issued this call to black people to regard ghana as home and specifically to invite african americans who had expertise to come. Help build the nation you'd have dentists and doctors etcetera moved there and became important longstanding members of both expatriate community. There maya angelou's spent a year. They're in the sixties writes about it in a wonderful

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