The Afro Blues Tradition

The Afro Blues Tradition


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



Feeling human with laughter / Lyrics filling the space

Everyone Chill in, riding their favorite thoughts / Some alone some in playing cards



The Afro Blues Tradition: Glorious Child of The Africans  

By Kwame A F Copeland


The Blues was born from praise songs, poetry, metaphorical tales, and folk traditions of the Africans, as they became American. The Afro-Blues sprouted up wherever the African landed in this hemisphere. The tradition mixed with existing cultures but retained its uniqueness. Part of its uniqueness was its use of percussive tones and its use of mythological references in its idiom and artistic rituals. As a historical tradition, it was so receptive and creative, that its classical roots evolved into the 21st Century.

At this time of moral and spiritual crises, I fall back on my inheritance, where meditative prose and poetry, are used to reflect the moment from emotive reasoning. John Coltrane and Mongo Santamaria both claimed the song Afro-Blue. Yet! This song reflects where the tradition had traveled, since Coltrane was an African American and Santamaria was an African Cuban. This great stream of maternal traditions has given much to the world, and in these times of great transition; its glorious well should be dipped in more often. If just to argument this present debate


What is Human!”  

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In the Caribbean, they set a system where the African men were cut -away from the family. It was carried over to the States. They divided the slave mother from the biological father. In many cases the men were sold to produce slaves like bulls, but the women kept a secret society to ensure the traditions and the well being of the children . . .


Afro-Blues Tradition values the solitude of the individual, yet in connection to a communal sense of life


an ancestry, an unseen world, and past/future deed. A sense of cosmic interplay . . .


The first revolution was by Egyptian pyramid workers who demanded prosperity and religious rights. They created family shrines and beer. Prosperity and community wellness were seen as important as that for the king and family rulers. God given rights were applicable to the average person. It would take over 5,000 years and many wars to make this a universal law. . . .

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Vietnam 1970

By Kwame A F Copeland

In harsh times we seek

The moments of blessed peace

Makeshift “cribs” under a bunker

Midnight blues to enjoy

Moments of hanging loose become ecstasy

Death and sufferings have become a norm

Daily waiting for a delivery of rockets

Riding over barrenness and hills

Waiting to march out into an unknown

Waiting for the moment

The record starts to play

A cold beer and a joint lit.

The sax begins to hit the soul

Blowing away the reality

bringing to the mind, those favorite things

Conversation begins to soften.

Small talk about the “World”

Things we like

Things we done

Things we want.

Feeling human with laughter

Lyrics filling the space

Everyone Chill in, riding their favorite thoughts

Some alone some in playing cards

My favorite things are here now

Strangers who are now homies

Thoughts of you, places, and moments

Remember a time that was.

Bringing peace to a wounded spirit

Time has been frozen

A remembrance of “My Favorite Thins”

For tomorrow I ride, again!

Kwame A. F. Copeland has dedicated himself to the study and teaching of the Afro-Blues tradition. Kwame has chosen poetry as his primary mode of expression; one of many mediums used in the tradition. Kwame resides in Philadelphia, PA. He is a Vietnam Veteran; who after the war, committed his life to the Spirit of Humanity.

posted 16 July 2006

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update December 2011




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