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Try African-American Songs for a Cultural Wedding

Today, Western traditions are frequently embraced at the expense of practices that embody the African-American wedding. Even in Africa brides are increasingly turning their backs on centuries-old conventions and opting for Western-style weddings. One of the first traditional elements to be replaced is music.

For most couples, choosing wedding music means giving the DJ a list of popular radio hits. Using African-American wedding music is a dynamic way to celebrate one’s heritage. The roots of African-American music offer many different genres from which to choose.

The spiritual, a significant genre in American music, is a strong choice for a Christian ceremony. Some spirituals are uplifting professions of faith, while others mournfully search for hope beyond the circumstances of today. Singing a spiritual is an inspiring way to kick off a joyous occasion. Take, for example, the hymn “A Little More Faith in Jesus”: This song speaks over and over again of "a little more faith in Jesus," no matter what happens to the person during his / her day. It's quite positive.

The blues are another uniquely African-American style. Some will argue that the blues bring unwanted melancholy to a jovial occasion. But it’s important to realize that early blues music manifested the feelings of freed slaves in America. Like spirituals, many songs that have a sad origin work well in the context of a blissful wedding.

Consider “Can't Help Lovin’ Dat Man” from the musical Show Boat. In the story, the heroine loses her man. But on your wedding day, he's all yours. The lyrics convey a lovely conceit: “Fish gotta swim / birds gotta fly / I gotta love one man 'til I die / So I can't help lovin' dat man of mine”

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