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Free Essay Sample «South African Music»

«South African Music»

Describe the impact of 19th century U.S. blackface minstrel groups and black "jubilee" choirs on South African black society and music.

The blackface minstrel group subsisted during 1800s. The faction used to perform a number of amusement shows. These shows included clown skits and variety actions. Others are dancing and music. All members of this group were whites (White Americans) who performed the shows while in blackfaces. This action (performing while in blackfaces) depicted Africans as blissful and musical. On the other hand, the jubilee singers were basically a group of African Americans singers. This group made a maiden tour of South Africa in the last decade of the 19th century.

The two groups impacted the South African black society and music in several ways. One, the jubilee choirs depicted them as a talented faction which has many servants as compared to their colonizers. Two, subsequent to the departure of the two groups, scores of choirs were established across the country. One of the choirs was the South African choir. The second one was the Zulu choir. The two choirs emulated several musical facets of these groups. These facets included song selection and melodic instruments. Choirs such as Yellow Coons and Pirate Coons which also sprung subsequent to the departure of these groups emulated their customs (customs of minstrel show and jubilee singers) till the final year of 19th century (1899). These imitations contributed to the growth of cultures amongst the black South Africans. Also, they contributed to personal enhancements (Erlmann 116).

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Three, they positively influenced the genre of a vocal black South African musical mode by the name isicathamiya. This mode was invented by an immigrant Zulu employee in the year 1891. It (isicathamiya) is conducted during competitions. Normally, it is characterized by choirs competing against one another. Besides, these contests usually take several days so as to come to an end. Four, isicathamiya is also linked to the jubilee music such that it incorporated words that objected repression amongst the black South Africans by their minority white colonizers. Five, their impact on black South African music is apparent on the visual presentation facets. These facets are specifically linked to the minstrel show group and consist of wearing of white gloves and slapstick comedy. Others are corresponding suits, dance customs and facial lexis/expressions. Six, a famous black South African song by the name of Mbube was actually composed on the basis of minstrel show’s harmonic structure. This structure is ‘I-IV-I -V7.’

Seven, owing to the influence of jubilee music and minstrel show group various songs were crafted throughout the slavery regime. These songs typically conveyed the adversities of repression. Eight, the black South Africans viewed them (minstrel shows and jubilee groups) as a stepping stone towards superior treatment and feasible equality from their white colonizers. Their influences in both the culture and music of the black South Africa are still felt in modern day South Africa (Newman 125).

What did South Africa's black social critics mean by the term "msakazo"? How is the "simanje-manje" style illustrative of msakazo?

Msakazo was a term that was used by South Africa’s black social critics to mean commercial music of African taste. Also, they used it to imply music which has undetermined technique. This term (msakazo) also implies transmit/broadcast music. It (msakazo) thrived throughout mid-19th century. During this era, several black South Africa’s ballet/jazz musicians contributed greatly towards the repertoire of msakazo music. Msakazo was principally a prolongation of the identical trends that had circulated the African techniques of 1940s. Throughout nineteen hundred and sixties (1960s), this term was appropriated by a media station that was generally referred to as Radio Bantu. Of note, however, is the fact that the black South Africa’s critics used it (the term msakazo) to launch a scathing attack on the distinct expansion misinformation which had encroached on sounds (Gwen 81).

Simanje-manje is a Zulu word that implies ‘currently-currently’. This technique is illustrative of msakazo since it transformed the trendy female harmonies of Quad sisters’ into quick-fire. It also transformed them into recurring axioms of 4 female voices. These voices were typically supported by neo convectional dancing. This dancing stressed the importance of quavering/shaking the hips while singing.

Simanje-manje illustration of msakazo is also found in Kwela. It is a Zulu word for ‘Mount-up’. Most detective vehicles were nicknamed Kwela-Kwela. They were nicknamed this name due to their manhandling of lawbreakers. Besides, this term (Kwela) meant a scream of back-up throughout the trendy pata-pata boogie/dance. Pata-pata implies ‘touch-touch’. This dance was characterized by two persons (a husband and a wife) tapping 1 another’s body parts (tapping of body parts up and down).

Why was African American soul music so popular among young black South Africans in the 1960s?

There are several factors which explain the reason as to why the African America soul music was so popular amongst the black young South Africans in the 1960s. One, it amalgamated a number of phrases of gospel, jazz and also blue music. Specifically, the gospel vocal styles which denoted sacred happiness were relocated by African American soul singers into a worldly setting. The outcome of this relocation was that it turned out to be more interesting. Furthermore, composers of the African American soul music introduced harmonic intricacies of both the blues and jazz to their characteristic melodic blend. The resulting soul music turned out to be the sweetest. Additionally, its rhythm was of the highest-rate as compared to the rhythms of both the blues and gospel music. Two, at that time R&B (Rhythm and Blue) music mainly centered on the movement of body parts. On the other hand, the gospel music focused on the spirit. However, soul music incorporated all these facets and thus it was considered to be more entertaining. Three, soul music trumpeted transformation within the South Africa’s music industry and as a consequence, it attracted the interest of young black listeners in South Africa. Four, the young black South Africans considered it (soul music) to be an idiom/expression of both black culture and pride. As a consequence, it stimulated the crafting of novel forms of soul music.

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Why was Paul Simon's 'Graceland' project, which did so much to promote black South African music and musicians, so controversial among black political activists in South Africa? Discuss the different ways of looking at this project from a political perspective.

Several black political activists in South Africa criticized Paul Simon’s project due to a number of reasons. One, they argued that he exploited the poor. Simon poorly compensated black South African musicians for their contributions to the project. He used to pay them a sum of US dollars one hundred and ninety six point four one (196.41) for each hour. In contrast, in USA, studio musicians earned a sum of US dollars 589.23 per hour. Two, several activists criticized his project since they were convinced that he exercised musical colonialism. They also accused Simon for cultural misappropriation and for using music in South Africa as a vehicle for promoting tourism. Three, the activist accused him for making use of African sways with the sole purpose of flavoring his songwriting devoid of comprehensively connecting with the relevant material (Zuckerman).

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There are different ways of looking at this project from a political perspective. One, his project had violated the UN Educational Scientific Cultural and Organizational cultural embargo. This embargo came into operation in the year nineteen hundred and sixty eight (1968). This depicted the manner in which politics especially international politics had turned out to be entangled in South African music industry at that particular time. Two, South African music during this era served as a weapon for opposing the apartheid rule. Thus, most politicians perceived Simon’s project as a vehicle for promoting apartheid rule (Meintjes38).

Three, the African National Congress (ANC) party officials desired to see further attention in the music industry paid to black South African singers as opposed to overseas singers. The officials were also at loggerhead with Simon since he used to impose high fees to his audiences. This meant that black South Africans couldn’t afford to pay these fees so as to watch him perform (Zuckerman).


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