People’s Education (info) is embarking on a music education project that is intended to run over the next 8 to 12 months (September 2015 to September 2016).
This project seeks to bring on board musicians, artists, writers, academics, community workers, audience members in an exploration of African music. We cordially invite you to join us for our first open conversation on the project and the upcoming months.
Some overarching questions:
1. Can we talk about African music as an exceptional music? Or is all music universal, belonging to humanity? While this may speak to modernity and hybridisation, globally, music is very much driven by the market and the music industry. What are the implications of the Westernisation of various musical forms for our lives?
2. What is African music? We posit that, culturally speaking, it is firmly within the everyday. It is not normatively a specialized activity of mind or body. In the contemporary, its dislocation or separation from the local / the everyday is broadly a function of colonisation. In modern life, our use of music is a function of the ability of the market to monetize it. It is identified as a discrete ‘thing’, so as to enable commodification.
Is there a different way of being in / relating to music? In terms of a pre-colonial African community, everyone is a musician. If this is one possible way of being in it, how do we engage music in a way that enhances its everydayness in our lives?
3. We would like to reflect on the role of music in our spiritual lives. Spirituality in this context is necessarily indigenous/ancestral. We would want to identify, in this process, sound-waves as spirit-waves, and musical creation as spiritual rejuvenation.
Music has the capacity to unlock the imagination and unleash its power, heal trauma and resolve issues of the self. We embody and inhabit our ancestral forms through music.
We would note that Monotheist forms of worship have successfully harnessed music within their practice.
4. We are aware there are numerous existing Pan Africanist popular music genres. These have their own genealogy, their own history of interaction, influences and cross-pollination. How do we start to dig deeper into this conversation, and popularize African music in its richness?
Part of this conversation is our music, African Identity and the Anticolonial. We would want to discuss and investigate music and its contribution towards the movement for the liberation of our people. Much music delivers a very clear political message, but we are also interested in the subtler ways in which music is transformative and/or revolutionary. By virtue of the groove, for instance. Kwaito is illustrative: The learning and embodiment of pantsulaness is transmitted to youth, not so much through the lyrics or the semiotic message of the song, but more so by the feeling and the beat.
5. The question of education / conscious change is then a central concern. How do we set about the communication learning / teaching of these ideas and feelings?
Is it possible to bring African music praxis into the formal classroom? How? Would it remain African? If we cannot formally pedagogise and institutionalize African music, how can we strive towards a decolonised/pluralist music learning / teaching space? Do we scrap the formal structure?
The event is intended to be a demonstrative and interactive presentation of the proposal document for the benefit of all possible stakeholders. We present an imagining of the project; some of its contents and some of its methodological experiments. With an understanding that this is first and foremost an organic and socially invested venture, we would like to keep the space open to much collaborative work.
If you are interested in being a part of or following the project, would like to share in some of the ideas around the project, and/or are a music lover, please do show face.
Musical Free Space — 6.00PM
Demonstrative text 1: a look at “Shangaan Electro” — 6.30PM
Presentation — 7.00PM
Demonstrative text 2: words from Gina Aphane — 7.45PM
Demonstrative text 3: words and music from Dizu Plaatjies — 8.15PM
Q&A — 8.45PM
Musical Free Space — 10.00PM onwards