To Stephen Foster’s plantation melodies it is the paradoxes that these unforgettable melodies come here of the dance music. They still come from a corner of the showbusiness, namely the so-called minstrel shows which were rooted in the racialist body of thought, however they are fascinating.

minstrel show

The minstrel shows were a kind of early variety entertainment at which white musicians and artistes represented life and culture of the colored persons so as they were in their eyes: Naive, careless and nature-loving. To maintain their audience and ‘give its monkey sugar’ the musicians painted black their faces and beat grotesque caprioles.

 

Well, Foster was working in an established genre. He wrote the music to the famous Christy’s Minstrels, like Oh, Susanna (1848), Camptown Races (1850) and The Glendy Burk (1860). However, the circumstance honored him, that he avoided the typical racialist tones, weakened at least however these considerably.

The show was formed out by the example of the Virginia Minstrels halfway through the 19th century, which appeared these with banjo, tambrines, castanets and violin. The virtuoso banjo player Daniel Decatur Emmett was also a well-known composer of minstrel melodies, like e.g. Dixie (1859).

 

 

minstrel show

 

minstrel show

minstrel show

 

 

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