TWO BOOKS: By Dr. Pascal Bokar Thiam Jazz, Culture & Social Justice • The Banjo is From West Africa

Jazz, Culture & Social Justice; Soundtrack of America's Art Form

While hundreds of books have been written about the history of Jazz and begin in New Orleans, LA in 1865, Dr. Pascal Bokar Thiam's book is the only one that makes so clearly the connection between the cultural standards of aesthetics of West Africa's great medieval empires Ghana, Mali and Songhai and what they contributed to the identity markers of America's art form Jazz through the development of the culture and the music of the Delta Blues away from the canons of Europe. Dr. Thiam's point is illustrated when he quotes the great Malian guitarist from Timbuktu, Mali, Ali Farka Toure who said "In anthropology, Black Americans… that does not exist, but they are Blacks in America which means that… they came with their culture" and Dr. Thiam to add "However horrific the Middle Passage was…no one, absolutely not a single West African bound for the Americas during the Atlantic Slave Trade forgot his/her culture in sixty days, particularly given the fact that America's oldest string instrument i.e. the banjo is from West Africa".

The Banjo is From West Africa: From Timbuktu to the Mississippi Delta

This book is the fruit of Dr. Thiam's years of research, multiple academic papers, and thousands of hours spent unraveling the secrets buried in the history of music. It shows how the strings of the humble musical instrument banjo connect the musical history of West Africa, the United States, and Europe.

In this beautifully crafted and timely book about music, Dr. Pascal Bokar Thiam guides us straight to the serious questions of the origin of Jazz and Blues throughout a long journey across West Africa. This book persuasively describes the contributions of West Africans in both classical and modern music, and provides valuable information about the antecedents, the culture, the personalities, the misfortune and triumphs of both West African and black American music alike. This book is a must read for those who care not only about music, but are also interested in social justice, colonization and slavery.

Pascal Bokar Thiam has earned his undergrad at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, a Master's Degree from Cambridge College, in Cambridge, MA, and a Doctorate Degree in Education with honors from the University of San Francisco, CA. Born in Paris, France, and raised in West Africa Mali/Senegal, Pascal Bokar is listed in the "Great Jazz Guitarists" book by Scott Yanov published by Hal Leonard. His CD "Guitar Balafonics" received Stars in 4 Downbeat Magazine and was selected as "One of the Best CDs of the Year" in 2015. Pascal Bokar has performed with Dizzy Gillespie, Donald Byrd, Donald Brown, Roy Haynes, Jon Faddis, Art Matthews, Donald Bailey etc...He is the 1983 Recipient of the Jim Hall Jazz Master Award for Guitarist of the Berklee College of Music, and the 1984 Outstanding Jazz Soloist Award from Dizzy Gillespie.

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