Popular Music Censorship in Africa (Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series)
Throughout this period culture was an important contested terrain in hegemonic and counter-hegemonic struggles and many musicians who aligned themselves with independence movements viewed music as an important cultural weapon. Musical messages were often political, opposing the injustices of colonial rule.
In the post-independence era a disturbing trend has occurred, in which African governments have regularly continued to practise censorship of musicians. However, not all attempts to silence musicians have emanated from government, nor has all contested music been strictly political. Religious and moral rationale has also featured prominently in censorship struggles.
Both Christian and Muslim fundamentalism has led to extreme attempts to silence musicians. African Studies, Vol. Google Scholar Citations. Scopus Citations. Check if you have access via personal or institutional login. Log in Register. Export citation Request permission.
MAKING MUSIC, MAKING MONEY: INFORMAL MUSICAL PRODUCTION AND PERFORMANCE IN VENDA, SOUTH AFRICA
References Hide All. Baines , G. London : Ashgate. Coplan , D. South Africa's black city music and theatre. Drewett , M. Erlmann , V. Lamont , M. McNeill , F. Meintjes , L. Steingo , G. Recommend this journal.
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Thus, national identity is partially framed and symbolically mediated by the various policies, institutional structures and cultural media that obtain in a particular country. The interface between these centralized mediating influences and domestic production and consumption represents an important focus for studies of national identity and music. It is also useful to draw distinctions and interpret interrelations between ethnic, civic and economic constructs of nationality and the nation state Smith, ; McCrone, A recent increase in the national prominence afforded to non-classical styles of music is not unrelated to the rising significance of the global—national dialectic insofar as new conceptions of national identity and music appear to be at least partly predicated on the global economic success of domestic products.
This not only refers to the potential interface of emic and etic1 views of particular cultures, but also to distinct functions of music identity within cultural groupings. Thus, we can differentiate between domestically 24 Music, National Identity and the Politics of Location -produced music which may be employed emblematically external identity and that which serves catalytically to promote group cohesiveness and belonging internal identity. Indeed, identification with national unity can be achieved through the celebration of musical—cultural diversity. As I shall report later, an accommodation of these seemingly opposing tendencies is articulated by identifying with internationally recognizable styles such as rock and pop — or, for that matter, classical —while at the same time retaining other musical elements that are believed to be culturally unique.
Critically, there is a need to establish how the idea of national identity and music can relate to a dynamic view of musical experience and musical meaning. Theoretical Approaches to National Identity and Music Identity and Identification National identity does not reside in music, nor is any music — not even the music used in national anthems — reducible to the function of national identity.
However, while a variety of contemporary theoretical positions combine to question the ideological assumptions of nationalism, the phenomenon of nations and national identities nonetheless persists. Once secured, it does not obliterate difference. This allows us to consider diversity in the way that national identity and music may or may not be perceived. A strategic and flexible approach to the interpretation of collective musical identities avoids assumptions concerning the nature or essence of either music or people.
Nevertheless, the process of identity formation or identification takes place in specific contexts that involve a range of material and symbolic conditions. While both types of conditions are available in music, these interrelate in complex ways. Let us imagine a repertoire of songs popular in a particular country over a historical period. If this country is strongly regarded in terms of a nationalist narrative, then many of its traditional—popular songs might be symbolically identified as anthems or revolutionary songs or as part of a distinct ethnic heritage.
However, while the analysis of particular musical texts might well tell us something about specific cultural identities, it would be erroneous to assume that the music s of a nation state is or are somehow representative of that cultural—political entity or of the social structures therein. As attractive as homology theories or other culturalist interpretations of collective identity in music might be for studies of musical—national identities, they can be questioned on a number of counts Middleton, —71; Frith, ; Wade, 4. First of all, this type of approach does not take account of the complex nature of mediation in the wider nexus of social relations, not least the diversity of musical genres and practices that is typical of modern societies.
Indeed, music is often a primary agent in the construction and maintenance of national identity Connell and Gibson, However, even in cases where music does appear to be an active agent in the re construction of national identity for example Baily, ; Manuel, , we can never wholly interpret the processes of musical—national identification in unidirectional terms. Rather, the relationship between music and national identity needs to be considered as an interpenetrative process.
Accordingly, while the textual analysis approach fails to present a complete account of the identification process, we still need to retain some musicological perspective in our discussion. The international profile and success of this band presents us with a case where identification can be interpreted simultaneously in both national and global terms. These motifs are redolent of traditional Irish dance tunes, albeit played at slower tempi and without any identifiable regional style of playing.
I give this brief analysis not to suggest that music by The Corrs is or is not essentially Irish, but rather to speculate on how some of its intra-musical elements may be involved in any identification of the music as Irish. Suppose we do believe that Irishness inheres to this music. Such a belief might lead to a celebration of the music as an expression of modern Irish identity. Conversely, while regarding the music as Irish-sounding, we might not identify with it because we perceive it to be stylistically inauthentic or because we regard its Irishness to be artificially produced for consumption in global markets.
But where does the idea of musical—national identity stand in relation to the notion of individual aesthetic experience? While a distinction can be made between collective and subjective identifications in music, these are never separable in actual experience Frith, As separable as these are at a theoretical level, it is questionable whether individual aesthetic experience negates essentialist views about music, as Frith argues.
Musical identification can at once be experienced individually and socially and, as was suggested earlier, identification is cognized as opposed to being received as an essence. At the same time, each musical identification will have its own determinate conditions of experience made up of specific material and symbolic aspects. Adapting the Concept of Hegemony National identity and music constitutes a complex field of meaning that revolves around contested concepts of both music and nationhood Connell and Gibson, There are a number of hegemonic strata to consider in the case of national identity and music.
Hegemony, then, allows us to theorize aspects of the musical—national field in the knowledge that each political entity will have its own specific configuration of musical practices, values and articulations that are constantly subject to processes of re negotiation from both endogenous and exogenous sources.
The potential range and scope of these is now illustrated with reference to a number of crosscultural studies. The agency of the nation state. In many jurisdictions, the nation state continues to exert a considerable and visible influence over what music is produced, transmitted and consumed within its own territory. For example, Cloonan describes how a combination of broadcasting policies, censorship and copyright laws, and other cultural or legal structures serve to promote home-produced music in Britain.
Likewise, Shuker and Pickering report on the impact that state interventions — particularly in regard to broadcasting quotas — have on the production and consumption of domestic forms of popular music in New Zealand. The interventions themselves may be cultural in aspiration, or they may be motivated primarily by national industrial concerns. The articulation of nationalness in international musical forms.
In this analysis, a local musical subculture with international continuities appears to have been subsumed into national culture and identity. This has not been as a result of any authoritarian regime or overt policy of cultural homogenization, but rather has been a much more subtle process arrived at from a number of planes, at national, local and international levels.
The idea of authenticity as an articulating principle in the interface of global and national identities will be revisited towards the end of this chapter. Multinational interests. Homan describes how the interests of multinational recording companies had both empowering and constraining influences on the Sydney rock scene during the s. Although global corporate interests may become involved in processes that foster national identity through music, it does not always follow that performers and audiences will engage with these proffered symbols of identification.
He states that, because the corporate sponsorship enabled domestic-based musicians 30 Music, National Identity and the Politics of Location to overcome the huge geographical and financial constraints involved in making national tours, the festival did leave an impact on the live music industry in Canada Duffett, 1.
Furthermore, the festival engendered a degree of national identity in this vast and culturally diverse country. As a corollary to this, music practices and discourses can play a role in constituting or reconstituting national identity. However, although the same range of conditions might apply across a variety of cross-cultural settings, the interplay of these conditions combine through specific interrelations in different places and at different times.
Rethinking Popular Music Censorship in Africa
This brief review of national identity and music studies suggests an increasing significance of factors that intersect the boundaries of nation-states. Accordingly, it becomes necessary to situate any consideration of national identity and music within the less bounded contexts of globality. They may be connected to actual locations, but differ from the term nation insofar as they refer to transnational categories. Accordingly, I would suggest that alternative conceptions of music and place might in fact inform and develop a theorization of national identity and music.
This suggests that identity formation between nations and diasporic communites are more fluid and interactive processes. We can also use the idea of affinity interculture to interpret how aspects from one national—musical field come to be replicated or adapted in other national—musical contexts. Level-shifting may occur simultaneously or over a period of time.
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In the latter instance, this often coincides with the career paths of musicians. The idea of level-shifting is adumbrated by Regev —3 in his analysis of different phases in the production and reception of music by the Israeli—Yemenite singer Ofra Haza. Similar patterns of change can be observed in the career path taken by Clannad in Ireland. This family group from the Donegal Gaeltacht an Irish-speaking district began in the s as a folk—traditional ensemble that also integrated classical resources and practices into their music.
Success in Irish-language and culture festivals brought them to national attention, where they retained an emphasis on folk song repertoire in both English and Irish accompanied by a progressive, traditional-oriented instrumental base. This was a haunting choral piece in the Donegal dialect of Irish unintelligible to most Irish and British listeners sung a cappella by the members of Clannad over a minimalist synthesized string backing. Arguably, this level was the starting point for the former Clannad member Enya, who capitulated to a global market with the production of her album Watermark.
Although the international visibility of domestic music and musicians can play an important role in the construction Issues of Authenticity in a Global Setting 33 of national—musical identifications, as I shall now argue, any such potential relationships are contingent on beliefs about musical authenticity. Authenticity Authenticity, Identity and Music Notions of authenticity are closely linked to those of identity Stokes, 6.