Posts Tagged ‘ethnomusicology’

A Musical Journey in Six Books

August 27, 2009
At the musee de la musique in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

Visiting the musee de la musique in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

“Diversity, colour and vitality” is how Simha Arom describes his impression of hearing African music for the first time. It was 1963 and he had arrived in Bangui, the capitol of the Central African Republic.

I have always been impressed by the energy and complexity that one hears in African music. It is first and foremost the percussive and rhythmic drive that propels this music and interests me.  In Bangui, Arom heard percussionists playing “tightly interlocked rhythms” and horn ensembles of up to twenty musicians each playing a single note that was a part of a larger whole of  a “precise polyphonic latticework.” (more…)

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The proof of the analysis is in the synthesis

August 25, 2009
Finding refuge in the shade of a Boabob tree, we discover a makeshift board setup of Mancala.

Finding refuge in the shade of a Baobab tree, we discover a makeshift board setup of Mancala.

The title of this blog today appears at the front of Simha Arom’s African Polyphony and Polyrhythm. It is attributed to Levi-Strauss and I agree with this statement. That is what I’m trying to do here. Take Mr. Arom’s analysis of the music of the Banda Linda and synthesize it. By writing about it, talking with friends and looking at my own music and the work of others through the lens of an ethnomusicologist I hope to see and hear sound differently. (more…)