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Hi everyone! Welcome to Reflective Rhythms! My name is Cristina Saltos, I’m a musicologist, which means I study how humans make music, why humans make music, and how human music-making has changed over time. Reflective Rhythms is a podcast, which means my friends and I went into a recording studio with an engineer to talk about history and record music. We are very excited to share these episodes with you! You, however, are a key part of this show too! This podcast is all about learning from each other and growing together. This means that if you have any questions, ideas, topic suggestions, or corrections, we would love to know! A grown up in your life can help you contact us through the website.

Another really cool thing about podcasts is that you can be doing just about anything while you’re listening—sitting, standing, dancing, even jumping rope! There’s no “right” way to listen, and we invite you to listen the way that works best for you. This includes taking breaks if you need to. If you’d like to take a break, just hit the pause button. Don’t worry, we’ll still be here when you get back.

The music we play on this show is  full of lots of fun facts and history. To help you find some of the big ideas, we’ve included some special sounds called sound effects. When you hear this sound *sound plays* it means we are about to talk about a key historical, scholarly, or musical idea. Before we get started though, there are a few ideas and words we need to discuss.

On this show we’re going to talk about race a lot. Race is an idea that we humans have created. In fact, scientists have discovered that when you look at our DNA—which is our human blueprint—we are almost exactly the same! Our idea of race goes all the way back to 1492, when Christopher Columbus sailed across the ocean and stumbled upon the Americas, what are now North, South, and Central America. Columbus and his partners used people’s appearances, cultures, and languages to separate them, making up an unfair order that put some people at the top and others at the bottom to get what they wanted. Although definitions of race vary based on where you live in the world, race is defined by the meaning we humans give to the way someone looks. It is important to note that the way someone looks cannot truly tell us about their ancestry—which is the place where their family comes from in the world. People also draw racial meanings from other sources such as language, religion, and the way a person speaks. These meanings are often created by the societies we live in and their histories.

 On this show we are going to talk about how race impacts people’s lives and the music they create. When we say that someone is “white,” it means that they are of European descent. When we say that someone as “black,” it means that they are of African descent. While these terms are helpful, it is important to remember that we are all human beings and that race is an idea that we can change. In fact, scholars like Michael Omi and Howard Winant have shown that race is something defined both by a country’s government and the actions of its people. Because of this, our definition of race can change over time and create space for us to listen to each other and collectively make things better for all people. We hope that Reflective Rhythms will encourage you to use your amazing brain to think of ways to make the world a better place. We also hope that you enjoy the music you hear and have fun trying it out with friends or on your own! Thanks for listening; we’ll see you soon!

Works Cited

Learn More about Cited Works

Omi, Michael and Howard Winant. Racial Formation in the U.S. 3rd ed. New York; Oxfordshire, England: Routledge, 2015.

Krulwich, Jad and Robert Krulwich, hosts. “Race Doesn’t Exist. Or Does It?” December 15, 2008, in Radiolab, produced by WNYC Studios, podcast, Mp3 audio.   https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/radiolab/episodes/91653-race