Lifting the Cone of Silence From Black Composers
Listen to how artists have explored what it means — and could mean — to be American.
A cone of silence hangs over the work of Black composers from Africa and its diaspora. It is not that Black men and women have not written music, but too often it has been ignored — and thus assumed not to exist at all.
The work of Black composers is more often heard if they are working in forms thought to exemplify “the Black experience”: jazz, blues, rap. However, as the composer and pianist Muhal Richard Abrams once said, “We know that there are different types of Black life, and therefore we know that there are different kinds of Black music. Because Black music comes forth from Black life.”