Free your mind and your ass will follow - The Mothership has landed!! Why 'funk', of all words to describe such bootilicious music?
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As the Wikipedia entry on Funk indicates, Yale art historian Robert Farris Thompson has posited an African origin to the musical use of funky. Here is an expanded quote from his 1984 work, Flash of the Spirit: African and Afro-American Art and Philosophy:
Funk is actually quite interesting, because it is a back formation from funky, which in turn was formed from funk. As in, funk didn't just go from "bad smell" to "music genre" all by itself; it took a detour via the adjective form. Confusing, huh? Etymonline explains it thus:
funky originally meant pungent / earthy, with relatively positive associations to "passive" qualities such as the smell of a cheese, which just sits there mouldering away. Since being co-opted into jazz slang it's acquired the more "active" overtones of actual movement in the sense of lively, rootsy, etc. (funky music encourages dancing & foot-tapping).
protected by RegDwigнt♦ Apr 9 '12 at 12:09
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