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Black Gold

Updated: Jun 10, 2020

How can we use music to learn about culture, history and self-knowledge? This song by Esperanza Spalding beautifully demonstrates how all three can be combined. Even though this song which was released in 2012, is as relevant then as it will be in years to come.

This video seems to break many stereotypes. First showing a black man picking his two boys up from school, cooking and teaching them, which is an image that's rarely seen in the mainstream media. The comment that the oldest boy makes is an interesting one. Today Africa, tomorrow Rome.

Have you ever noticed that Africa is often spoken of like a country or city and not as a diverse continent? We often hear about African Drumming groups and after-school clubs, but does this make sense? It would be like having a club or group called European Strings!

Also, how much do you see women playing instruments that are usually associated with men? Watch this video of Esperanza playing the double bass and singing at the White House. Music can help to break stereotypes and perceptions often in a way that words can't.

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  • Can you name all the instruments in this video?

  • Can you name 5 female instrumentalists (not singers)?

  • What do you think 'Black Gold' means?

  • What happens at 3:49?

  • What happens at 5:12?

  • Can you clap the rhythm of the horn section in the chorus?

  • Who was Miriam Makeba? Nelson Mandela? Fela Kuti? Sundiata Keita? Desmond Tutu?

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