Nashville is about to live up to its “Music City” adage. The country music capital will be the new home of the National Museum of African American Music. A first of its kind, NMAAM will showcase the 48 music genres created or impacted by African Americans while demonstrating the magnitude of its influence not only in the US, but worldwide.
The museum’s philosophy promises to draw upon a range of music and history enthusiasts to explore and celebrate African American music. “From call-and-response spirituals and work songs in the 1600s to the mesmerizing sounds of saxophones, trumpets and snares during the modern era of jazz… African American music provides a window into the world views and experiences of a people who have used music to express their innermost feelings, preserve their cultural identity, and record their history.”
The lure of “Music City” as the locale was borne of a study that found Nashville offered little by way of diversity for tourists. Originally, a civil rights museum was selected to fill the void, but further studies showed an institution focused African American arts and culture to be the ideal choice. Nashville itself holds cultural significance as well. Once home to Fisk Jubilee Singers, rock icon Jimi Hendrix, who lived in Nashville early in his career and Ray Charles, its musical roots run deep in the heart of Black music history.
Fundraising efforts are underway for this 47.5 million dollar flagship endeavor whose doors could open as early as 2013.