Posts Tagged ‘sub Sahara Desert’
More common than non western African music, westernized African music has similarities but not the true soul born of an ancient history.
Non western African music is also known as World Music and it owes its origins to the sub Sahara Desert.
Music and dance in Africa are closely intertwined. All important life events are celebrated with music: birth, marriage and death. And the Ruler’s Courts include music as well.
Poet Leopold Senghor, the first President of Senegal, once commented that African rhythm is “comparable to all the technical achievements” of Western civilization.
The many drums used in African music showcase the importance of percussion in African society. There are jembe drums enjoyed by the Manding people and their dancing parties. A large tabale drum indicates the signal for war. In fact, drums in the sub Saharan desert are more effective and common than a telegraph. The resonant beat is carried for miles to great distances.
The violin-drum chong is used in West Cameroon. It’s a stick bow placed into a hole in the drum membrane. Secret cults and societies beat the chong drum to scare off non members of the societies.
Music as an art form is understandably pure in Africa. The human species originated on that continent and then spread around the world. While civilizations advanced in the Middle East, the Far East and Europe, sub Saharan Africa stayed distinct and apart.
Africans evolved from hunters and gatherers to agriculture, but a lack of written history makes details of the evolution of society in Africa a challenge to study. For that reason, the music remained unblemished by outside influences. Indeed, the sounds of Africa today are close to their evolutionary roots.
There is homogenization of cultures throughout the world, but non western African music is enchantingly reminiscent of the ancient beginnings of its people.
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