The new edition of the journal, African Music, Volume 10 Number 4, is now available. The content is as follows:
A STUDY OF THE DINAKA PIPE DANCE OF THE PEDI PEOPLE IN SOUTH AFRICA by PAUL W. CHAMBERS
Abstract: This article provides a description and musical analysis of the Pedi genre known as dinaka, as it is currently practised (2016) in the rural areas throughout the Limpopo province. The role of this music is examined along with the implications of learning and performing it as a cultural outsider. The construction, methods of tuning, and playing techniques of the pipes, drums, and other instruments associated with dinaka are discussed. The form and structure of the music are interpreted as well as the idioms of rhythm, melody, and dance repertoire which imbue the genre with a distinct sound. Common methods for creating improvisational variations among the instrumental and dance parts are explained. The connection of dinaka to styles of Pedi vocal music is examined along with the proverbial meanings of the songs with which these melodies and rhythms are associated. Transcriptions of the dance steps, pipe melodies and drum rhythms have been developed to provide a visual representation of the music. The aim is to provide a resource from which one can study and understand the many aspects of dinaka.
REASSESSING THE ZIMBABWEAN CHIPENDANI by JENNIFER KYKER
Abstract: The Shona chipendani (pl. zvipendani) is among dozens of musical bows found throughout southern Africa. An understanding of where the chipendani fits into the larger space of Zimbabwe’s musical and social life is markedly thin. Other than Brenner’s observation that the chipendani may occasionally be played by adult men while socializing over beer, descriptions of the chipendani seldom go further than remarking on the instrument’s associations with cattle herding, thereby reducing it to the status of child’s play. In this article, I argue that conceptions of the musical and social identity of the chipendani must be expanded beyond its conventional portrayal as a herdboy instrument, since other groups of people have been actively involved in performing the instrument. I further maintain that the social role of the chipendani extends beyond providing accompaniment for a singular activity – that of cattle herding – into other contexts. By challenging Tracey’s conception of solo bow playing as “self-delectative,” my account of chipendani music opens up space for new readings of other musical bows throughout southern Africa.
JAZZ IN SERVICE OF THE STRUGGLE: THE NEW BRIGHTON STORY by DIANE THRAM
Abstract: This article contributes to the substantial body of publications on South African jazz with information on jazz performance and performers in New Brighton, a township adjacent to Port Elizabeth noted for its vibrant jazz scene and outstanding jazz musicians. The article covers several decades from the heyday of swing bands in the 1940s-50s through the 1960s-70s when New Brighton’s premier jazz combo, the Soul Jazzmen, were at the height of their artistry. The role of swing bands in New Brighton and surrounding communities as the training ground for members of the Soul Jazzmen and other local musicians of note is discussed, as well as how the Soul Jazzmen in turn were tutors for musicians of the next generation who became widely recognized artists, composers and arrangers. This is followed by a focus on the Soul Jazzmen and compositions by its members that protested against the apartheid regime in the 1960s-70s. The article is informed by historic photographs, newspaper clippings and information from oral history interviews that richly document how jazz was performed in service of the anti-apartheid struggle in New Brighton.
KARIMBA: THE SHIFTING BOUNDARIES OF A SACRED TRADITION by JOCELYN MOON
Abstract: In Zimbabwe, urban musicians and educators often perceive karimba as a category of relatively small mbira that are used for secular entertainment. This notion is strongly influenced by the prominence of the Kwanongoma mbira, or nyunga nyunga mbira, a 15-key karimba that was first popularized by the Kwanongoma College of Music in the 1960s. Despite a wealth of research, very little has been written about karimba traditions around the Zimbabwe-Mozambique border that are associated with traditional religious practices. In this article, the author focuses on a type of karimba with more than 20 keys that shares much of the same repertoire with matepe/madhebhe/hera music in Rushinga, Mutoko, and Mudzi Districts in Zimbabwe and nearby regions in Central Mozambique. The author explores the connections between innovations of the Kwanongoma mbira and karimba traditions in the Northeast with examples from the International Library of African Music archival collections and her own ethnographic research. This article provides a foundation upon which others may further conduct research on karimba music and suggests possible directions for incorporating these findings into educational contexts.
THE EVOLUTION OF SOTHO ACCORDION MUSIC IN LESOTHO: 1980 – 2005 by LEHLOHONOLO PHAFOLI
Abstract: The article describes the origins, evolution and status of Sotho koriana accordion music from the 1920s through the 1960s and 70s when it was considered shebeen music, and from1980 to 2005, when there was a change of attitude towards it and only sporadic production. Two concerns are: the status of koriana music, and, its appreciation by Sotho people themselves. Data was collected through observations, interviews with artists and listeners, and from cassettes, radio and TV programmes. Aspects of the music are described and related to non-musical events of the period.
EDMUND “NTEMI” PILISO JAZZING THROUGH DEFEAT AND TRIUMPH: AN INTERVIEW by CHRISTOPHER BALLANTINE
Abstract: Associated with the local swing style usually described as African jazz, Edmund “Ntemi” Piliso was one of the most highly regarded, frequently recorded, extensively consulted and best known South African musicians of the twentieth century. Renowned for his deep knowledge of the urban black South African popular music of his time, as well as for his reflexively intelligent insights into its relationship with mainstream international jazz, he is perhaps more appropriately thought of as an “organic intellectual” of his time, place, and musical culture. The article introduces Piliso and then presents a wide-ranging interview dealing with his life and work. Piliso recounts this history, offering numerous insights into many of the key social, political, and musical developments of his time.
GENDERED SPACE TRANSGRESSORS: A STUDY OF TWO YORÙBÁ FEMALE DÙNDÚN DRUMMERS by KAYODE SAMUEL
Abstract: The contemporary Nigerian musical landscape occasionally becomes a site for contesting and negotiating the established ideology of Yorùbá patriarchy. These movements are evident in many women’s decisions to venture into drumming, an age-old male dominated musical profession. Informed by the theory of spatial trialectics, this article investigates gendered space in relation to dùndún drumming with a view to understanding the changing nuances of gender relations among the Yorùbá of southwestern Nigeria. Ethnographic techniques were used to generate data on Àrà and Àyánbìnrin, two well-known urban popular female dùndún performers whose aspirations and career trajectories reside outside the Àyàn lineage and spiritual tradition. Biographical accounts and lived experiences of both artists suggest that women’s agency in Yorùbá drumming is hedged by different, prevailing socioeconomic contexts, including a determination to challenge limitations to a career path and economic progress. By describing how female dùndún drumming may be regarded as a response to social and musical change, and discussing how issues of masculinity and femininity are constructed, negotiated and contested, I argue that the belief forbidding women from playing Yorùbá drums is not strictly applicable to the dùndún because the dùndún ensemble is more connected to social than religious performances.
CONTINENTAL MUSICOLOGY: DECOLONISING THE MYTH OF A SINGULAR “AFRICAN MUSIC” By THOMAS POOLEY
Abstract: The musical identity of the African continent is sustained in the popular imagination by the idea of its unity. This identity emerges from a constellation of ideas about Africa’s distinctiveness constructed by generations of scholars who have diminished its diversity to substantiate the claim that shared principles of musical structure and function in sub-Saharan cultures can be read as ideal types for the continent as a whole. The idea of a singular “African music” is predicated on the notion that African “traditional” music of precolonial origin in sub-Saharan Africa possesses a set of distinctive features that are essential to its identity. Musical cultures as diverse as Aka, Ewe, Shona, Yoruba, and Zulu are subsumed within a singular frame of reference; others that do not possess these features are, by implication, excluded. To make sense of this myth of a singular “African music” we must reckon with the universalising impulse that sustains it. This means interrogating the discursive formations out of which it has been fashioned. Whose interests does it serve? Taking a decolonial perspective on the power dynamics that structure global south-north relations in the academy, this article points to the ways in which the north perpetuates its authority and dominance over the south by subsuming others within its cultural and intellectual ambit. Decolonising “African music” means dismantling the hegemony of “continental musicology” and the myth of a singular “African music” that is its creation.
FROM THE EDITOR
We greatly appreciate the efforts of the authors in the current journal for their patience in ensuring that the articles are of sufficient standard for publication. We extend our thanks to the multiple reviewers of the articles who in turn ensured that authors complied with the conventions of sound academic writing. Please visit the journal website: http://journal.ru.ac.za/index.php/africanmusic for all information related to the journal, including its guidelines and PDF versions of the journal. The website has an OJS portal through which you may want to register and submit an article or review for our consideration. Articles on matters related to the history, conservation, production and representations of African music on the continent and in the diaspora, and in multi-media formats, will be considered for publication. We strongly encourage submissions from emerging scholars on the continent.