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Christian Poché

[semsemiyya, sumsumiyya]

Bowl or box lyre with five strings, found in Egypt (from the Suez area to Sinai), Saudi Arabia (the Red Sea coast) and South Yemen (where it has six strings). This instrument is smaller than the ṭanbūra. In South Yemen the simsimiyya lyre has a circular soundbox, with two arms, less widely spread than in the Ṭanbūra , standing almost parallel. The strings tied on the yoke are held not by rings of material, as in the ṭanbūra, but by pegs, as in the beganna.

In Saudi Arabian popular usage, a petrol can may serve for the soundbox ( see Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of ). The Egyptian simsimiyya seems to adapt to the shape of the ṭanbūra, but rectangular models also exist – those on the Red Sea coast formerly called ṭanbūra and more particularly in the Egyptian port of Qusseir, where it is played by sailors.

The tuning of the simsimiyya...




Timothy D. Fuson

[al-Husīn al-Slāwī ]

(b Salé, 1918; d ?Salé, Sept 7, 1951). Moroccan singer, instrumentalist and songwriter . He first gained notoriety performing in ḥalqāt, the performance areas of public markets. Travelling with one or two percussionists and a violinist with whom he played the gunibrī (long-necked lute) and the snītra (banjo), he became quite well known across Morocco in the 1930s. His success in ḥalqa performance brought him to the attention of Pathé-Marconi, whose scouts took him to France to record in the 1930s and 40s. Recording and radio exposure expanded his popularity, allowing him to tour France as well as Tunisia and Algeria.

Slaoui’s songwriting and performance style was heavily influenced by the work of Būjum‘a al-Farrūj, a Moroccan singer from the Tafilalt. Slaoui recorded several songs of Farrūj, including Ayyāmnā (Our days) and Yā mouj ghannī (Sing, O waves). In recordings Slaoui introduced many new instruments to Moroccan sha‘bī (popular) song; he broke stereotypes by using the ...



John William Johnson

[Somali Democratic Republic] (Som. Jamhuriyadda Dimugradiga ee Soomaaliya). Country in the Horn of East Africa. It has an area of 637,657 km² and a population estimated at 11·53 million (2000). The Somali Democratic Republic collapsed in a revolution in 1991, and no political state has been formed to replace it, although the Somali National Movement declared the secession of an independent country called the Somaliland Republic in the north-western region. Somalis are the primary ethnic group and inhabit neighbouring parts of Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya. These peripheral populations have been separated from the main population since the colonial partition of Africa. A small number of other Bantu-speaking ethnic groups live among the Somalis. Islam, language and ethnic identity unite all Somalis, but there are internal divisions into clan families, lineages and other subgroupings based on an agnatic genealogy. There are also three main linguistic divisions. Most Somalis are nomadic herders of camels, cattle, sheep and goats or small-scale subsistence farmers. The growing urbanization of the country was curtailed considerably by the civil war, which began in ...


B. Surugue

The Songhai (also known as the Songhay and Sonrai) live on both sides of the great bend of the Niger river, from Mopti in Mali to Gaya on the borders of Niger and Benin. As a people with a single common language and, with minor variations, a common music culture, they are composed of three groups: the Songhai proper, who form the largest group; the Zarma or Zabarma, the second-largest group, adjoining the Hausa in the east; and the Dendi, centred on Gaya (fig.1).

The similarity of many aspects of Songhai music to Hausa music, especially in its instruments, is probably a result not only of historical links but also of continuing cultural contact. In the 16th century the empire of Songhai extended its influence in the east to Agades, and in the process conquered the intervening Hausa states of Gobir, Zamfara, Kano, Zaria and Katsina. The long metal ...



Gregory F. Barz

Generic term for Central African dance music. More specifically in the Democratic Republic of Congo (see Congo, Democratic Republic of the §III 4. ) soukous refers to a dance style first popularized in the late 1960s. The style developed directly from Congolese rumba that was introduced in the 1950s. The first period of soukous in the 1960s can be characterized by heavy arrangements; highly orchestrated horns and vocals fill the sounds of early soukous, while large numbers of guitars and rhythm instruments support these arrangements. Tabu Ley Rochereau, Dr Nico (see Kasanda, nicolas), Kiamanguana Verckys, Sam Mangwana and Joseph ‘le Grand Kalle’ Kabasele contributed greatly to early soukous efforts. A second wave of soukous occurred in the 1970s led by the group Zaiko Langa Langa and by Papa Wemba and Bozi Boziana, both former members of Langa Langa. Groups such as Quatres Etoiles and artists such as Mbilia Bel and Abeti Masekini were at the forefront of these new Paris-based recording efforts. In the 1980s there was a broadening of the international ...


Asta-Rose Alcaide

revised by Alexandre Delgado

(b Lourenço Marques, Mozambique, Feb 15, 1927). Portuguese composer, musicologist and conductor. He took a degree in classical philology at Lisbon University and studied the piano (diploma 1947) with Abreu Mota and composition (diploma 1952) with Jorge Croner de Vasconcelos at the Lisbon Conservatory; he also studied conducting with Fritz Lehmann in Munich (1954–5), Hans Swarowsky in Vienna (1957) and Albert Wolff in Hilversum (1957). He was one of the founders of the Portuguese section of the Jeunesse Musicale and, during his ten years as director of the Portuguese television music department (1959–69), he also taught composition at Lisbon Conservatory (1963–7). Besides some activity as a conductor he has carried out much research, discovering several 18th- and 19th-century Portuguese manuscripts which he has reconstructed and revised. These include As variedades de Proteu (1737) and ...


David K. Rycroft, Angela Impey, Gregory F. Barz, John Blacking, Jaco Kruger, C.T.D. Marivate, Caroline Mears, James May and David Coplan

Country in Southern Africa. With an area of 1,224,691 km², it occupies the southernmost tip of the continent, bordered by Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe to the north and by Swaziland and Mozambique to the north-east ( fig.1). Lesotho, Kingdom of is an independent enclave in the mountains in the east of the country. In the north-west is the vast Kalahani desert, where most of the remaining Bushmen (San) peoples (see Bushman music), the earliest inhabitants of the region, and the Khoikhoi (Hottentot) peoples live (see Khoikhoi music).

South Africa was colonized by the Dutch in 1652 and also by the British in the 19th century; it became a dominion within the British Empire in 1910 and an independent republic in 1961. Although less than 11% of the total population of 46·26 million (2000 estimate) are whites, of European descent, a system of apartheid or segregation, which deprived blacks, Coloureds (mixed race) and Asians of constitutional equality (though they represent 77%, 9% and 3% of the population respectively), became official policy when the ...


Gregory Mthembu-Salter

Hymns brought by European missionaries to southern Africa found a ready reception among indigenous people, though the harmonic scales their performance required were markedly different from those of southern African singing traditions. By the late 19th century, black South African hymn composition was well-established. Enoch Sontonga composed South Africa's most celebrated hymn, Nkosi Sikelel'i Africa, in the early 1900s, and today it is the South African national anthem.

Contemporary South Africa's most distinctive choral gospel music comes from its Protestant (particularly Methodist), Zionist and Pentecostal churches. In keeping with its church's Africanist theology, Zionist gospel has gone further than other churches in its use of traditional African harmony, tonality and dance steps. The result is a unique, compelling mix of mournfulness and celebration, often performed for hours on end, particularly at funeral-night vigils.

South Africa's solo gospel artists hail from its Pentecostal churches and are the country's most popular recording artists. The current gospel queen, Rebecca Malope, is celebrated for her impassioned delivery of rousing anthems. Also popular are the International Pentecostal Church Choir (IPCC) and famed Zulu ...


Christopher Ballantine

Though North American influences on black city culture in South Africa predate the 20th century, they found new conduits during and after the 1920s, for example in gramophone records and films. By the early 1930s, black dance bands started to appear, modelling themselves directly on US prototypes. They played not only US (or US-inspired) swing numbers but also their own Marabi -based pieces in swing style. It is this unique and prodigious genre that by the late 1940s came to be known as African jazz or Mbaqanga .

In a symbiotic relationship with these bands were the vaudeville troupes, companies who usually specialized in a variety of musical and theatrical routines. The troupes and bands participated jointly in a genre of all-night entertainment known as ‘Concert and Dance’. Like that of the bands, the troupes’ repertory was derived from both foreign and local sources.

During the 1950s, such innovations were followed by ...


Daniel Avorgbedor

(b Oyo, May 29, 1905; d Ravenna, OH, March 1987). Nigerian composer and organist. After receiving early musical training from his father and from Ekundayo Phillips, he went to London in 1934, where he studied the organ privately with George Oldroyd, G.D. Cunningham and Rubbra; he subsequently became a fellow of the Royal College of Organists and Trinity College of Music. Sowande studied at the University of London (BMus 1941), then became organist and choirmaster of the West London Mission of the Methodist Church. His lecture-demonstration series for the BBC’s Africa service, West African Music and the Possibilities of its Development, in which he focussed on his own works, aided the growth of his compositional career from about 1940. His profound interest in the indigenous and popular music of Nigeria as resources of intellectual and compositional importance was the motivation behind his collection of this music. The influence of indigenous material is evident in ...


Artur Simon

(Arab. Jamhuryat es-Sudan)

Country in north-east Africa. The largest country on the continent, it has an area of 2,505,813 km² and a population of 29.82 million (2000 estimate). Approximately 70% of Sudanese are Sudan Arabs, 10% are Nubian, and 20% are Southerners belonging to numerous Nilotic and Bantu ethnic groups such as the Dinka, Shilluk (Colo), Nuer and Azande (Zande). These southern ethnic groups practise traditional religions or Christianity, while most other Sudanese are Sunni Muslim.

Popular Islamic customs and orders include song and music as an integral component of religious life and ceremonies. A distinctive musical practice has evolved out of local traditions over the centuries, resulting in solo songs such as qaṣīda and madī , and in collective performances such as d ̱ikr. The motivating force of this development was Sufism. The d ̱ikr is a part of a larger ceremonial in the northern Sudan called lailiya (evening session, the meeting on Thursday evening), ...


Gregory F. Barz

Country in southern Africa located between Mozambique and South Africa. It has an area of 17,400 km² and a population of 985,000. British colonial rule established Swaziland as a protectorate in 1903 and independence was achieved in 1968. The population is 84% Swazi and 10% Zulu, and the kingdom's official languages are English and siSwati. Both the siSwati- and Zulu-speaking peoples of Swaziland belong to the Nguni group of Bantu language speakers and speak a tonal language with clicks adopted from neighbouring San and Khoikhoi peoples. Traditional culture is maintained in the country and annual ceremonies are performed and preserved at a national level. Music in Swaziland is largely homogeneous; Swazi vocal music is distinctive but bears a resemblance to Zulu choral singing (Rycroft, 1982, p.315).

Music is an integral part of everyday Swazi and Zulu life. Songs are often specific to age-groups or to varying functions, occasions or activities. Swazi songs are frequently instructional, functional or directional (when incorporated into dancing); they may also communicate Swazi mores or collective or individual opinions. Songs are often a permissible forum for the criticism of authority. Women tend to sing in chest voice in their lower ranges, adopting a slow ‘diaphragm vibrato’ (ibid., 322). A male choral style known as ...



Janet Topp Fargion

A musical genre, the term ṭāarab comes from the Arabic ṭārab (from the root ṭrb), meaning pleasure, rapture, entertainment, or these emotions as evoked by music. In East Africa it denotes a style of popular entertainment music played at weddings and other celebrations along the Swahili coast. The style contains the features of a typical Indian Ocean music, combining influences from Egypt, the Arabian peninsula, India and the West with local musical practices. Musicians generally agree that taarab was introduced to the island of Zanzibar from Egypt during the reign of the third Omani sultan, Sultan Barghash bin Said (1870–88). Since its introduction, the style has spread throughout the East African coastal region and has become stylistically and ideologically entwined with Swahili identity.

The original instrumentation and repertory is based on the Egyptian takht tradition featuring ‘ūd, qānūn (plucked zither), nāy (end-blown flute), riqq (small frame drum), violin and ...


Darius Brubeck

(Nchipi )

(b Pretoria, c1940). South African guitarist, singer, flutist, and percussionist. He took up electric guitar in 1954 and started performing four years later. From 1961 he led groups known usually as Malombo (but also as Malombo Jazzmen, Venda-Malombo, and Malombo Jazz Band). The first such group was a cooperative formed with Julian Bahula and the flutist Abbey Cindi which appeared to great acclaim as the Malombo Jazzmen at the Castle Lager Jazz Festival in 1963 and 1964. It disbanded when Bahula left for Britain, but Tabane later re-formed it as a duo with his nephew Gabriel Mabi Thobejane on percussion (1970); the two men toured South Africa, appeared at the Newport New York, Montreux, and North Sea festivals, and performed with the addition of Bheki Mseleku for a tour in 1977. During this period Pharoah Sanders, Miles Davis, Max Roach, Clark Terry, and Herbie Mann made guest appearances with Malombo. Thobejane left to join Sipho Gumede and Khaya Mahlangu in the group Sakhile in ...



Michael Pirker

Arabic generic term for drums. It is particularly applied to double-headed cylindrical drums in the Arab Middle East, including North Africa (especially Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and the Sudan). It may occur in combination with other words, indicating drums of the same type with regional differences of size or drums used in different regional combinations of instruments. The term ṭabl can vary from region to region; it is sporadically found as tabīl in Osmanli, and in modern Turkish the term davul is most commonly used for the double-headed cylindrical drum. The ṭabl baladī (‘people’s drum’) is regarded as the smaller version of the ṭabl turkī (‘Turkish drum’, davul).

Cylindrical drums were known in classical antiquity, and various different sizes of such instruments are still in use. The cylindrical drum is central to Islamic musical cultures; it is used in military bands and is also played at village ceremonies such as weddings, circumcisions and funerals and on religious occasions. During Ramadan, the month of fasting, the drum and ...



K.A. Gourlay

[taushi, zambuna]

Small snared kettledrum used by the Hausa and other peoples of northern and central Nigeria. The wooden body is 27 cm tall and 22 cm in diameter. It has a goatskin or duiker-skin head with a patch of tuning-paste. The head is lapped to a leather-bound rope ring and V-laced, with leather thongs and a horizontal tuning brace, to an iron ring at the base of the body. A hole in the side of the body is used to pour in a libation of oil and spices. In Hausa music the tabshi is one of the main instruments used by classical praise singers to accompany songs praising emirs or their senior officials, and its use spread to other peoples. For example, the drum was introduced in the 19th century into the Bauchi region, where in the 1970s it was one of the instruments accompanying praise singers of the Chief of Dass, and among the Nupe people at Bida it became part of the court music....



K.A. Gourlay, Lucy Durán and Rainer Polak

[tamanin, dumanu, dumanan, dunkan]

Variable-tension hourglass drum of the Wolof and Mande-speaking peoples (Khasonka, Soninke, Maninka, Bamana, Dyula) and their neighbours in Senegal, the Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Ivory Coast. The tama is struck with one curved drumstick with a flattened end, and by one hand. The two heads are lapped onto rings at the ends of the wooden body and joined by numerous cords so that, when the drum is placed under the player’s arm, pressure on the cords can vary the pitch. Most modern instruments are relatively small (25 to 30 cm tall, 10 to 15 cm in diameter); in Mande languages, these are known as tamanin (‘small tama’). Larger drums might have been in wider use historically. The tama resembles other, larger hourglass drums of West Africa, such as the Dagomba lunga of northern Ghana and the Yoruba gángan of south-western Nigeria. However, unlike these, it is not known for speech surrogacy and is not a ‘talking drum’, a term sometimes misleadingly applied to West African hourglass drums in general....



Anthony King

revised by K.A. Gourlay and Roger Blench

(pl. tambura)

A common name for the Kettledrum used in sets as part of the regalia of many traditional savanna states of West Africa. Its association with royalty in, for instance, the Hausa states of Nigeria is chronicled in the 17th century, and in its form, usage and name the tambari is related to the 16th-century court ṭabl at Fez in the Maghrib.

The individual drums in a set vary considerably in size so that the membranes may measure from 23 cm to 65 cm in diameter, and the height of the drum bodies from 20 cm to 60 cm. The tambari is beaten with two heavy thongs of hippopotamus hide, producing a deep and resonant sound. In performances the drums may be mounted singly or in pairs on heavy stakes driven into the ground ( see illustration), or in pairs on the backs of camels for use in royal cavalcades....


Christian Poché

[ṭambūra, ṭanbūr, ṭumbura etc.]

Bowl lyre of Egypt, the Sudan, Djibouti, Yemen, southern Iraq and the Gulf. It was known formerly also in Zanzibar, where it was called the ṭambira. The name is a dialectal mutation of the classical Arabic ṭunbūr (lyre), a survival from a rich variety of lyres in that part of the world. Arabian authors seldom mention it, as they recognize the ṭunbūr as a long-necked lute, and it is this that makes it difficult to identify the instrument organologically. The more recent version, ‘ṭanbūra’, dates from the 19th century.

The term ‘ṭanbūra’, mutated from ‘ṭunbūr’, was borrowed by the Arabs from the Sassanids and was used for the lyre from the beginning of the Islamic era in the 7th century. It is found again in the Nile valley during the period of the Ottoman Empire, often paired with other instruments. The lyres known as ṭanbūra probably originated in upper Egypt and the Sudan (...