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Friday August 22, 2014
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Rising Star Fife & Drum Band

 

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dance production in Tennessee one time, he agreed to do so in exchange for 200 pounds of dog food and two live chickens.

The music of Turner and his Rising Star Fife & Drum Band, along with that of other African American fife-and-drum groups that survived in Mississippi, feels more African than almost any other music made by black Americans. Turner played little tunes on his fife, things like "Station Blues" ("Sittin' on Top of the World") or older folk songs or dances, and a contingent of snare and bass drummers, mostly members of his extended family, would pick up the thread of what he was doing and add rhythmic layers that rang through the hot Mississippi air and stirred shouts from onlookers. Externally these rhythms resemble those of a marching band, but they are treated in African ways.

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