Culture and Music of the American South
In the 1800's the Indians were forced to leave their homes, today, Indians still celebrate their ancestor's traditions.
Meet Margaret, she is a Choctaw Indian.
At this festival, she and her family dressed in native costumes to keep their traditions alive. Her ancestors lived in the South East, along with the Cherokee, Seminal, Creek and other tribes, long before other people came to the region.
In the 1800’s, most of the Indians of the South East were forced to leave their homes, driven West by white settlers.
Europeans had begun coming to America in the 1400’s. Some came from Spain, and name the place where they landed for a feastadis celebrated in their homeland, the feast of the flowers. In Spanish, the feast is called Pascua Florida, Florida.
French Explorers canoe down a Mississippi River and claim territory that they named for their King, Louis the 14th. Louisiana.
Meanwhile, people from England landed here and name the settlement for their King, James the 1st. It was called James Town, and it is in Virginia.
The English and Spanish brought yet another people to the South East, Africans, who were brought to work as slaves in the settlers plantations.
Today, you can see the descendants of all these people in the South East. You can hear their different languages, their many accents, and different types of music.
Juan’s parents were born in Cuba, an island very close to Florida. Recently, many Cubans have come to live in the United States. Like Florida, Cuba was visited by Spanish Explorers 100 of years ago. The people who lived there still speak and sing in the Spanish language.
This type of music is called Salsa.
Another kind of music heard in the South East is Gospel. It is based on songs that African slaves would sing as they work in the cotton fields.
Gospel evolved into Blues and Jazz, which is both originate near the mouth of the Mississippi River.
White settlers also brought their music to the South East, Ballads and Sea Shanties from England, Scotland and Ireland are still sung today by traditional folk singers in the Appalachians.
Those traditional songs influence the formation of another type of American music, Country Music.
Nashville, Tennessee is the Country Music Capital of the World. They call it Music City U.S.A. One big reason is this theater, where every Saturday night, the sounds of country music come alive. This is the Grand Old Opry.
As well as being a concert, the Opry is a radio show and a Television show. For years, it is been broadcasting a music of this region to all corners of the United States. Today, country is one of the most popular forms of music in America.
About 15 miles South East of Nashville, you can hear another kind of music and another language.
These children are from Japan. During the week, they go to school with their American friends. But, on Saturday, they come to school to keep alive their own traditions and language. Their families came to the United States, not to explore or farm, but because it was good for business.
This factory is owned by Nissan, the first Japanese automaker to build a plant in the United States.
As Japanese products have become more popular in the United States, many Japanese companies now set up factories in Tennessee.
The state officials want to bring them here, so American workers could have the jobs of making these products.
Culture and Music of the American South
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