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Music of immigrant communities in the United States

 This article is a supplemental part of the 
Music of the United States series.
 before 1940
 1940s and 50s
 1960s and 70s
 1980 to the present'''
 African-American music
 Native American music
 Latin, Tejano, Hawaiian,
Cajun, Puerto Rican and \other immigrants
The vast majority of the inhabitants of the United States are immigrants or descendents of immigrants. This article will focus on the music of these communities and discuss its roots in countries across Africa, Europe and Asia, excluding only Native American music, indigenous and immigrant Latinos, Puerto Rican music, Hawaiian music and African American music.

Table of contents
1 Armenia
2 Cape Verde
3 Eastern European Jews
4 England
5 Germany
6 Iran
7 Ireland
8 Italy
9 Jamaica
10 Japan
11 Poland
12 Slovenia
13 Ukraine


See: Music of Armenia

Following the 1915 massacres of ethnic Armenians by the Young Turk government in Turkey, large numbers of Armenians settled in the Central California area, especially around Fresno. Of the second- and third-generation musicians from this community, Richard Hagopian became a minor star in the Armenian-American community.

The ethnically-Armenian heavy metal band System of a Down has included references to the Armenian genocide in their lyrics.

Cape Verde

See: Music of Cape Verde

There are more Cape Verdeans outside of their homeland than there are in the island chain itself. In the United States, California and Hawaii are home to large Cape Verdean populations, but the largest concentration is in New England, especially Boston and Rhode Island. Many of these immigrants came via whaling ships in the 19th century. Cape Verdean music is most famously morna, but other genres exist and the Cape Verdean community has produced string bands like The B-29s, Notias, Augusto Abrio and the Cape Verdean Serenaders. There were also Cape Verdean big bands, including the Creole Vagabonds and the Don Verdi Orchestra. More modern musicians include Frank de Pina, Mendes Brothers (and their influential record label, MB Records), Saozinha, Creole Sextet and Rui Pina.

Eastern European Jews

See: Jewish music, Eastern European music

Early in the 20th century, Eastern European immigrants settled across the United States. Many were Ashkenazi Jews, who brought with them their swift, eminently dance-able klezmer music. Harry Kandel, a clarinetist, stood out in the field, alongside Abe Schwartz, Naftule Brandwein and Dave Tarras.

Later, in the 1980s, a new generation of klezmer roots revivalists made innovative fusions of klezmer with punk rock and other influences. These bands include the Flying Klezmer Bulgar Band and The Klezmatics.


See: Music of England

As the homeland of many of the settlers of the original 13 Colonies, and a major source of immigration thereafter, England's musical traditions are closely tied to those of the United States, especially Appalachian folk music. In the 1850s, there was a thriving brass band tradition in the US, drawing on British bands formed around factory workers.


See: Music of Germany

German immigrants brought with them a variety of music, waltzes, polkas and oom-pah bands among them. A German musical society of the mid-19th century formed the Seventh Regiment Band, the only exclusively regimental band of the time and one of the most popular brass bands of the Civil War-era. German bandleader Friendrich Wilhelm Wieprecht was also influental, collecting full scores for his compilation of instrumentations of popular works, für die jetzige Stimmenbesetzung. Instruments included the bassoon, contrabassoon, bass tuba, trumpet, trombone, clarinet, piccolo, oboe, French horn, saxhorn, drums and cymbal. Wieprecht was recognized at the time as a key figure in the reorganization of the Prussian military bands


See: Music of Iran

After the 1979 revolution, the new Iranian government banned all pop music and many other genres. Numerous Iranians, including musicians, entered into exile, many settling in the Los Angeles-area. The Iranian-American scene produced several stars in the Iranian-in-exile community, including Shahram, Homeirah, Hayedeh and Mahasti, Morteza and Hodi.


See: Music of Ireland

Joseph Halliday, a Dubliner, is notable for having introduced the keyed bugle in 1810. While not a technical innovation (the keyed trumpet was already known), it did become extremely popular in the burgeoning brass band tradition and inspired a whole family of instruments, the ophicleides. In the middle of the 19th century, Irish bandleader Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore was very influential, having introduced a wide range of reed instruments as well as developing instrumentation that allowed a large wind ensemble to approximate the effects of a full orchestra.

The 1960s saw the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Maken become minor celebrities in the United States, especially in the Irish-American community. They appeared at Carnegie Hall and on the Ed Sullivan Show. Mick Moloney’s Irish-American Music and Dance Festival has existed for over twenty years and remains an important part of the Irish-American scene. Mick Moloney was one of the most important Irish-American musicians of the 20th century.


See: Music of Italy

Italian-Americans are concentrated on the Eastern Seaboard, especially in New York City. Their music includes square dances, tarantellas, mazurkas, waltzes and polkas, and music for mandolin, banjo, guitar and accordion.

Italian folk traditions have had a lasting influence of barbershop singing and doo wop. Neapolitan bandleader Francis Scala was bandleader of the U.S. Marine Band after immigrating in 1840; as is common in Naples, he placed the clarinet (which he played himself) in a prominent place in his performances.


See: Music of Jamaica

Undoubtedly the most influential Jamaican-American musician is DJ Kool Herc, who is often credited as the inventer of hip hop. He immigrated to New York City and brought with him the roots of hip hop -- a DJ isolating and repeating a percussion break while an MC spoke over th beats.

Second generation Jamaican Busta Rhymes was later an important gangsta rapper during the 1990s; his style is similar to that found in Jamaican dub and dancehall.


Main article: Music of Japan

Large-scale Japanese immigration to the United States began early in th 20th century, and traditional music came with them. California and Hawaii were two of the biggest destinations for these immigrants. The first North American taiko group was Seiichi Tanaka's San Francisco Taiko Dojo in San Francisco, which was founded in 1968.


Main article: Music of Poland

The Polish community is strongest in the area around Detroit, [Michigan]]. The city's Polish-American community spawned a wave of musicians that are usually considered polka players, though their actual output is quite varied. New York City, Chicago and Minneapolis also have Polish-American musical traditions. Chicago's Orkiestra Makowska, led by George Dzialowy, defined that city's unique sound for many years.


See: Music of Slovenia

Slovenian-American polka musician Frankie Yankovich is by far the most famous musician of that genre. He began his career in the 1930s, beginning with some regional hits in the Detroit and Cleveland areas, followed by mainstream success in the later 1940s.


See: Music of Ukraine

Ukrainian-Americans in the Cleveland and Detroit area have kept a folk scene alive, also producing a minor crossover star in the 1920s and 30s, Pawlo Humeniuk, the King of the Ukrainian Fiddlers.