African Popular Music: definition of regional and national musical genres

The development of modern African popular music has been shaped by a variety of factors, including colonial/political domination (and African responses to it), the spread of Christianity and Islam on the continent, industrial labor, and the impact of musical traditions from Europe, the United States and Latin America.

You are to write an essay that discusses how these and other factors have helped to define regional and national musical genres on the continent. Your essay should cover West Africa, East Africa/Central Africa, and Southern Africa.

Your essay should explain how specific regional or national genres are reflective of the history, politics and social dynamics of their respective environments.

You should also draw on some of the theoretical/analytical perspectives that we have discussed in class, including: globalization, nostalgia; “Other” cosmopolitanism; neo-traditionalism; appropriation; and music, resistance and politics.

Resources for your essay should derive from your class notes, chapter readings/articles, and video and audio examples that we have used for this class.

Your essay should be illustrated with references to at least TWO specific music examples from EACH of the THREE regions of the continent covered in your essay (making at least SIX examples in total). In using each musical example, provide the name of the performer(s) and the country of origin of each music example, briefly describe the example, and explain how it illustrates the argument for which you are using the music example.

Essay Format/instructions

Your essay should start with an introduction that outlines the main issues to be covered; and end with your personal reflections and conclusions that derive from the main body of the essay.
Your essay should be about five pages, excluding the list of cited works, song-lyrics or any other illustrative material.
Your essay must be typed and double-spaced, using the 12-point Times Roman font. Citations, notes and `works cited list’ must conform to the MLA style or any other standard style. For further details on the MLA style, please check:
For citation formats for online/electronic sources, please go to:
Quotation marks must be used to acknowledge sentences that are not yours. Extended quotations (of more than 25 words) should appear in an indented form from the left margin.
Please pay attention to grammar, spellings, typos, etc.

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