When the slaves arrived from Africa to the new country, they brought nothing, except for memories and their musical heritage. In America the slave owners deliberately separated most slaves from their families and their tribe members, in order to break them down and assimilate them to the new culture. Culture shock and language barriers also helped to increase the general confusion among the slaves. The only thing the slaves had in common was their music. Even though the slaves came from different parts of Africa, most African music was similar in its bases.
Being in the New World, the colonial clergymen pondered the idea of converting the so-called heathens of the New World, the blacks and the Indians, to Christianity. Most whites put effort into civilizing and converting the slaves, and since most slaves felt emotionally divided out of the extreme culture shock, they easily absorbed the new message of the Christian religion. Many slaves recognized themselves when they were told stories out of the Bible. Stories like Moses and the people of Israel, who lived in oppression, but were told and promised by God that they one day should be liberated, were absorbed by the Negroes. The Christian message strongly affected the slaves and their ability to endure the hardships and trials they often were confronted with while working out on the plantation fields. As the time passed by and the slaves got more and more integrated into the new world, they started blending their African musical heritage with their influences from the new world. Out of the hardships and trials of slavery a rich musical culture evolved, which forever came to change the world’s music scene. Mixing their musical heritage from Africa with the Christian religion, the English language, and the musical tradition from the Anglo-Saxon church, the slaves came to create a totally new music form as they at the same time laid the foundations for another one.