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Rethinking the Irish in the American SouthBeyond Rounders and Reelers$
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Bryan Albin Giemza

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781617037986

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781617037986.001.0001

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Blacks and Celts on the Riverine Frontiers

Blacks and Celts on the Riverine Frontiers

The Roots of American Popular Music

(p.140) Chapter 7 Blacks and Celts on the Riverine Frontiers
Rethinking the Irish in the American South

Christopher J. Smith

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter traces how, in the South and elsewhere, very early contact between black and Irish musicians on riverine and maritime frontiers served to innovate and energize an array of recognized American performance genres. It shows that riverine and maritime environments on the frontiers were precisely the contexts in which African Americans and Irish Americans came together in contact and cultural exchange. The degree, dispersal, and intensity of Caribbean cultural influence in all these environments were much wider and deeper than has been understood, and much more fundamental to minstrelsy’s creole synthesis. A “creolization” of American popular music was already occurring in these contexts well before the first theatrical blackface performances of the late 1830s.

Keywords:   American South, music, black musicians, Irish musicians, cultural exchange

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