African Popular Music (Fall 2012)

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African Popular Music Fall Term, 2012

Prof. Jon Kertzer

This class will focus on the modern, urban popular music genres of Africa that have emerged in the 20th century. These genres have developed along with the newly independent nation-states of post-colonial Africa, and the coming of Western technology and the music industry to the continent. Although often drawing upon the instruments and music forms of the West, these styles are deeply African; and the underlying aesthetics and characteristics of these modern genres display the unique nature and form of traditional African music.

The course begins with a look at the common themes and characteristics of traditional African music, and survey of the most important African musical instruments. We will then study several of Africa’s most significant urban genres, including highlife from West Africa, Congolese rumba, and Nigerian juju and afrobeat. These developed in the mid-20th Century, around independence, and have became dominant popular styles throughout Africa and the world. Also, the course will cover more individual regional styles, including South African mbaqanga, chimurenga in Zimbabwe, Senegalese mbalax, and Algerian rai.

Important to the understanding of these modern African styles is the social and economic contexts, as well as political and religious factors. To that end, the course will look at African history and culture, and understand how the popular music developed in the post-colonial milieu. The major artists in each area will be introduced and studied, and their recordings listened to in detail. There will be guest lecturers, and films, along with readings and listening assigned. Each student will be expected to be conversant in the major popular African genres, artists and composers by the end of the course.

· Week 1: Sept. 6: Introduction- African music- characteristics and instruments**

· Week 2: Sept. 11 and 13: Highlife- Ghana and Nigeria E.T. Mensah, African Brothers, Bobby Benson, Victor Owaifo

· Week 3: Sept. 18 and 20: Juju, Fuji, and Afrobeat Nigeria: I.K. Dairo, King Sunny Ade, Barrister and Kollington, Fela Kuti

· Week 4: Sept. 25 and 27: Rumba and Soukous-Congo: Franco, Rochereau, J. Kabaselle, Dr. Nico.

· Week 5: October 2 and 4: Mbaqanga and Township Jive, Marabi- South Africa- Mahlathini, Mahotella Queens, Soul Brothers, Graceland, Miriam Makeba

· Week 6: October 9 and 11: Chimerenga-Zimbabwe: Thomas Mapfumo, Bhundu Boys, Oliver Mtukudzi, (Banning Eyre?) Oct. 11

· Week 7: October 16 and 18: Taraab- Zanzibar: Culture Musical Club, Bi Kudude; + Madagascar- Salegy- D’Gary, Justin Vali (movie) jk away 10/18

· Week 8: October 23 and 25: Mbalax-Senegal: Youssou N’Dour, Baaba Maal, Orchestra Baobab

· Week 9: October 30 and November 1: Djeli music-Mali/Guinea: Super Rail Band, Bembeya Jazz, Les Ambassadeurs, Salif Keita, Mory Konte, Toumani Diabate

· Week 10: November 6 and 8: Rai- Algeria: Khaled, Cheb Mami, Faudel, Rachid Taha

· Week 11: November 13 and 15: Ethiopian Soul and Funk-Ethiopia-Mahmoud Ahmed- (Russ Gershon ?-15)

· Week 12: November 20 and 22: Swahili Rumba and Benga- Kenya/Tanzania: D.O. Misiani

· Week 13: November 27 and 29 New music-Kwaito/Hip-Life, fusions Zola, Les Escrocs, Positive Black Soul, Gidi Gidi Maji Maji

· Week 14: December 4 Wrap-Up/Review