Official Name: United States of America
Capital City: Washington D.C.
Population: 301,139,947 (July 2007 est.)
Languages: English 82.1%, Spanish 10.7%, other Indo-European 3.8%, Asian and Pacific island 2.7%, other 0.7% (2000 census). Hawaiian is an official language in the state of Hawaii
The United States became a major exporter of entertainment in the 20th century through movies, film and music. Although pop, rock, hip hop, country and jazz are some of its biggest exports, some genres in the roots music category such as blues and bluegrass are a major force in American music.
The United States is a country formed primarily by descendants of immigrants from Europe, Asia and Latin America, as well as slaves from Africa. As a consequence, American roots music has its foundation in the musical cultures of these groups of people.
The original inhabitants of what is now the United States of America are known as American Indians or Native Americans. The most common instruments used by American Indians are the voice, drums, percussion and flutes.
The music of Hawaii, which is located in the Pacific Ocean, has strong Polynesian and European influences. Portuguese and Spanish sailors and cowboys brought instruments that are now very popular, such as the guitar and the cavaquinho. The cavaquinho became the ukulele. Read the following article for information about the popular Hawaiian guitar
The descendants of African slaves in the United States are known as Black Americans or African Americans. Most were originally based in the Southern states: Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. Internal migrations led many southern blacks to northern and western states, seeking better job opportunities in urban areas.
African American culture has spawned some of the richest musical genres found in the United States: Gospel, blues, jazz, R&B, soul, funk, Zydeco and hip hop. Combined with other elements, it also gave way to rock and roll. For an African perspective about African American music read The History of African American Music.
The numerous waves of immigrants from Europe and other parts of the world brought the sounds of the entire globe to the USA. Early Scottish and Irish immigrant settled in Appalachia and gave way to bluegrass music. Acadians who settled in Louisiana gave way to Cajun music. Central and Eastern European immigrants who set roots in the industrial North brought polkas and other popular dances with them. Recent immigrants from Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America have arrived with new beats and musical instruments, including Indian classical, bhangra, klezmer, highlife, world beat, etc.
Many states in what is now the Southwest (New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and Colorado), as well as Texas and California, were once part of Spain and later Mexico. Hispanics, together with American Indians, were the original inhabitants in these territories. Many of them were mestizos, a multiracial race created by the mixing of European settlers from Spain with Native Americans. Hispanics from the southwest and Texas developed styles known as tejano music, norteño and corridos.
Travel guides of American cities for world music and roots music lovers.
U.S. Census Bureau