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Wolfgang Bender

A style of African popular music. The term was coined in 1967 by Fela Kuti, who was known as ‘the king of Afrobeat’. Fela played Highlife music while studying music at Trinity College of Music, London (1958–63). Upon his return to Nigeria he referred to the style as ‘highlife jazz’. Geraldo Pino from Sierra Leone visited Lagos around 1966, playing a style referred to as Afro-soul. Pino's success encouraged Fela to develop an individual style.

Fela toured the USA in 1969 and was exposed to that country's Black Power movement. He also heard free jazz and rhythm and blues. His awareness of the political power of music is reflected in his subsequent development of Afrobeat, a fusion of jazz, soul and African musics with lyrics in Pidgin and Yoruba. He consciously highlighted the Africanness of his own music, claiming that he played African music since jazz was originally an African form of music....

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Paula Morgan

(b Hohoe, Sept 28, 1956). American musicologist and music theorist, of Ghanaian birth. He studied at Reading University (1974–7) and with Arnold Whittall at King’s College, London (1977–8), where he took the MMus in analysis. He took the doctorate under Leonard Ratner at Stanford University (1978–82), with a dissertation on structure and form in 19th-century music. He began his academic career at Haverford College (1982–4), and subsequently taught at Duke University (1984–6), King’s College, London (1986–9), Cornell University (1989–95; professor from 1992), and Yale University (professor, 1995–8). In 1998 he was made professor at Princeton University. Agawu’s interests cover many areas of musicological research. His theoretical studies include music analysis and theory, semiotics, and post-colonial theory. He has written on the music of the 19th century and particularly on Mahler, and his research on West African music has primarily dealt with the relationship between language and music....

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Agbe  

Jeremy Montagu

Article

J. Gansemans, K.A. Gourlay and Ferdinand J. de Hen

[abongboya, magbomboyo]

Lamellaphone of the Rubi-Haut-Uele area of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has a box-shaped bark resonator and six to eight wooden tongues fastened to the soundboard by raffia fibre. According to de Hen a lamellaphone of this type, with wooden or metal tongues, is known by the Badjande people as ...

Article

K.A. Gourlay

revised by Amanda Villepastour

Lamellaphone of the Ọ̀yọ́ Yorùbá in Nigeria. It has diffused to the Nago peoples of Benin and Lucumí people in Cuba, where it is known as the marímbula. Five adjustable metal tongues are mounted on a large wooden box resonator, which can be 45 cm by 60 cm and 22 cm deep or larger. The instrument is played on the lap, suspended from the neck at waist level so that the tongues can be plucked with the fingers of either hand, or resting on the floor with the player seated. The agídígbo is usually used as part of secular instrumental ensembles such as sákárà, mambo, jùjú, and àpàlà. The Yorùbá instrument has given its name to the Gwari and Fon gidigbo and to the Gwari agijigbo, both five-tongued with box (or old kerosene tin) resonators, and to the agidigo used by some Hausa musicians, notably Audu Karen Gusau, who used instruments of this type either solo or with the hourglass drums (...

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Agolora  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

[akoti]

End-blown gourd trumpet of the Logo people of the northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. About 90 cm long, it consists of three hollow calabashes joined in a line and adhered together with clay. The Logo call the instrument also by other vernacular names such as akoti, aori, and kanga...

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Aguma  

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Agwara  

Peter Cooke

Sets of side-blown trumpets formerly of the Alur people of northwestern Uganda. Ranging in length from 50 to 200 cm, they are made by splitting a wooden branch lengthwise and carving each half into a gently conical wooden trough. The halves are then glued together and sewn into a cowskin cover. Used in hocketing sets of up to eight different-size trumpets for dancing and other festivities, they were formerly played only by men but in 2006 members of an Alur women’s club adopted them. In Kampala, male university students blow them while processing around their campuses during electioneering rallies and other festivities. Similar trumpets used by other peoples of northern Uganda include the Acholi tuum, the Madi turi or ture turungule, the generally shorter gwara me akuta of Lango, and the arupepe of the Teso and Karimojong peoples in the northeast.

The Para-nilotic word-stem gwara applied to side-blown trumpets occurs also in the terminology of Bantu peoples, hinting at the historic influence of Nilotic migrants on their culture, hence the ...

Article

Samha El-Kholy

(b Cairo, Jan 6, 1896; d Cairo, Feb 16, 1961). Egyptian composer. He studied the vocal repertory (mūwashshaḥ and adwār) with Darwish Al-Hariry, learnt to recite the Qur'an with Ismail Succar and also studied the ‘ūd. He started his career as a member of the chorus of the singer Aly Mahmud, and shortly afterwards started to compose religious chants, scoring his first success with some taqtuqas (light songs), which were later recorded by several leading singers. From 1924 he composed operettas; of the 56 he wrote, the two best known are Youm el qiyamah (‘Doomsday’, 1940) and Aziza wa Younes (‘Aziza and Younes’, performed 1941), both written for the National Theatre and both still sometimes performed. His 1075 songs embrace the taqtuqa, mūwashshaḥ and adwār and include long narrative songs in the sentimental modern manner and songs for films. There is a shift in output from ...

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Article

Àjà  

Amanda Villepastour

A generic term for metal clapper bells of the Yorùbá people of Nigeria and Benin. The bells, which can be of iron or brass and of variable sizes, have an integral handle. Their most common use is in òrìṣà cults where the àjà punctuates prayers and incantations arhythmically and is believed to invoke the deities...

Article

Amanda Villepastour

The largest gourd rattle in the Sẹ̀kẹ̀rẹ̀ family of instruments of the Yorùbá people of Nigeria and Benin. The gourd resonator is encased in a net to which cowrie-shell and sometimes glass bead strikers are attached. The rattle was once associated with the worship of Ajé, the Yorùbá òrìṣà (deity) of prosperity, symbolized by cowrie shells. Traditionally, this instrument was used only in the palace (...

Article

Ajigo  

K.A. Gourlay

Kettledrum of the Idoma people of Nigeria. It is approximately 60 cm tall and 35 cm in diameter, and has a head affixed by wedge bracing (i.e. tension is obtained by inserting wooden wedges between the securing ring and the body). The ajigo is played with the hands. Believed to be sacred, it is used solely by members of the ...

Article

Peter Cooke

Large pentatonic log xylophone formerly played in the royal compound of the kabaka (King) of Buganda, central Uganda. Like other xylophones in Uganda the bars were preferably carved from logs of the lusambya tree (markhamia platycalyx). Their number varies between 17 and 22 and they are laid across freshly felled banana trunks and held in place by tall sticks pushed into the trunks between the bars. The bars are sounded at both ends with heavy beaters but are held longitudinally in place by a pair of shoulders carved out of the underside of each bar which trap the bars between the trunks yet allow free vibration.

Wachsmann reported that in 1950 only three instruments existed, one at the palace, one in the Uganda museum, and a third at Kidinda village, Butambala county, where the instrument was made and practised by members of the elephant clan formerly charged with the duty of providing musicians. Though he also remarked that ‘in old times’ the instrument had 22 bars (spanning four octaves) the instrument at the palace then had 17 bars, and a 17-bar instrument was in use at the palace until ...

Article

Idiochord single-string stick zither made by Ganda children in Uganda. It consists of a piece of papyrus stem about 55 cm long with a thin strip raised and supported on bits of papyrus that serve as bridges. It is plucked either with a finger of the right hand or with a small stick....

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Akaene  

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Peter Cooke

[ruganira]

Flat box-shaped rattle of the Nkore people of western Uganda. The top and bottom of the box are made from two rafts of reeds laced together with thin sticks between them at the edges to hold them apart, leaving room between for dry seeds that rattle when the box is swung rhythmically from side to side and simultaneously tapped on the top by the player’s thumbs. The sides are covered with strips of banana fibre or cloth, stitched to prevent the seeds from escaping. Vernacular names among neighbouring peoples are ...

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Akama  

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Akanono  

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