Go to Content
Columbia College Chicago
Negro Folk Suite, movements 2-3

Negro Folk Suite, movements 2-3

N. Clark Smith (1887-1933) BMI

II. Pineapple Lament (2:50)

III. Banana Walk (2:10)

The Negro Folk Suite is a descriptive work that illustrates in some ways the possibilities of the European and Afro-American musical traditions. "The Orange Dance," not recorded here, is a syncopated dance that contains within it a "Stevedore's Song" and is based on rhythms from British Guinea. "Pineapple Lament" is a beautiful lament that reflects the composer's perception of the mood of Martinique; it was composed in memory of the Martinique pineapple groves that were lost in the volcanic eruption of the island's Mt. Pele in 1902. "Banana Walk is a highly rhythmic piece that makes use of melodies from St. Helena Island, one of the Sea Islands on the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina, where African and early Afro-American cultures remained almost intact until the middle of the century. Subtitles of the movement's various and brief sections are "Little Angels" and "Sunday Morning Band." "Little Angels" is a cakewalk; and the entire movement is to be played "Tempo di Charleston." Banana Walk had been inspired by the composer's 1902 visit with Colonel Robert Smalls, of Civil War fame, in Beaufort, South Carolina, when he was returning with Booker T. Washington's Tuskegee Band from a northern trip. During the visit, "Boys from the banana farms danced

the Charleston for us."1

1. N. Clark Smith, Negro Folk Suite (Chicago: Lyon & Healy, 1925), 2.