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Title: Heroes, gunpowder, cassettes & tape recorders: production, distribution & transmission of hunters’ musical tradition in Mali, West Africa
Authors: Konkouris, Theodore
Keywords: African music
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: School of History and Anthropology of the Queen’s University of Belfast
Abstract: My doctoral thesis is the culmination of years of research on Mande hunters and their music in libraries, national archives, and intensive fieldwork of 18 months among hunters in Mali. I employed the methodology of participant observation through apprenticeship, as a student of Solomane Konate, one of the most prominent hunters’ musicians, a skillful hunter, knowledgable healer, and gifted diviner, with whom I learned how to play and experience hunters’ music and performance. I travelled and participated in hunters’ ceremonies and public events, followed him to recording sessions and documented recording practices and events, and learned the behavioral code and worldview of the hunters. The primary aim was to explore aspects of the contemporary commercial hunters’ music scene in Bamako, based on an ethnographic account of the contexts, social organization, aesthetics and symbolism of the hunters’ musical tradition in Mali. Through inquiry and discourse I explore themes of apprenticeship, hunters’ performance, hunters’ music, hunters’ music industry, hunters’ radio programmes, and finally, the growing contemporary popularity of hunters’ music. I discuss the impact of the record industry and cassette recordings of hunters’ music on the tradition itself, and on contemporary forms of Malian music. I show why this tradition is popular among hunters and non-hunters, and consider what it is that hunters are voicing that speaks so fully to contemporary needs and memories of Malian society. My approach is phenomenologigal. Although I contextualise theoretically the field data, my interpretations are kept to a minimum, in favour of my consultants’ own interpretations and explanations of their lifeworld. Including the voices of performers and their experiences as musicians and as members of the hunters’ associations along with the voices and experiences of music producers and radio presenters, I explore issues of continuity and change, ideology, and style as a medium for publicly presenting and negotiating hunters’ and ultimately Malian identity.
Rights: Αναφορά Δημιουργού-Μη Εμπορική Χρήση 4.0 Διεθνές
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