This African music blog presents a brief history of the rich culture of Africa and the music that now enjoys a worldwide following.
With one thousand native languages, it’s no surprise the history of African music is a patchwork tapestry of oral history passed down from one generation to another. It is a western sensibility that attempts to catalogue and organize African music which is known under several categories such as global music, African music and world music.
Many scholars who studied African music are sensitive to the culture and to misunderstanding about its value. Hugh Tracy from South African, Mngoma of South Africa and Makabuya of Uganda are concerned about the misunderstanding and misrepresentation of African culture by those who stereotype this intriguing country.
It is interesting to note that unlike western cultures, music and dance in Africa are not isolated as separate activities from the normal culture. There are words that describe the particular acts of playing an instrument, singing and dancing, but they are largely seen as part of the broader text of communication that existed for centuries.
Dance and music go hand in hand in Africa. Beginning at birth and continuing in ceremonies to name the child, to initiation ceremonies, farming activities, war declarations, religious services and finally, honoring the dead, music and dance are so intertwined that many African cultures do not have words that define music and dance.
For this reason some scholars, like Ndlovu believe that writing African music damages the integrity of the art form. They assert there is no need to put African dance and music into words because it is purely a western tradition. In fact, it dilutes the authenticity of traditional African art forms.
The one exception to this is African choral music which translates well into western documentation. Whatever your taste, the information in an African music blog will likely sharpen your knowledge of this wonderful art form.