in the early years of this century, is used only slightly modified, as a kind of "Hambone" routine in "My Ole Missus," which is well-known to all of us.

     Game songs, like other early Afro-American genres, are rapidly disappearing into archives. The Sea Islands off the coasts of South Carolina and Georgia were probably the last areas where one could hear this music performed as a part of everyday life. However, as these areas are turned into resort communities, they, too, are relinquishing their authentic indigenous material.


1.   In order to cope with the trauma of slavery, captive Africans found it

necessary to fashion several streams of culture into a unified ethos which could be identified as West African. Out of this ethos, there emerged a style of music and dance which could be similarly designated as West African.

2.   Subsequently, this West African ethos was re-shaped in order to

allow slaves to function in a hostile European-dominated society. This re-shaping took place as the captive African began to see himself as an enslaved American. The music which reflects this process is heard in field hollers, work songs, game songs, and other genres which are adaptations of West African genres.


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February 2001