SAMUS : South African Music Studies - latest Issue
Volume 34-35, Issue 1, 2015
Source: SAMUS : South African Music Studies 34-35, pp vii –xviii (2015)More Less
When we started putting together the material for this double edition, the first under our editorship, ‘crisis’ was the word we repeatedly settled on.
That the field of music studies was in a state of crisis came to us, initially, as a haunting sense of the underlying fissures in and general malaise of our intellectual space, aspects of which we could articulate only in vague and allegorical terms. Our inability to outline the contours of this crisis, we sensed, was because the trauma of living and working in post-Marikana South Africa dispersed through academic life in the unpredictable ways in which traumas do. We could increasingly see it congealing in the environments around us, however: in debates about academic freedom at our society’s conferences, in the 2015 #FeesMustFall protests and its violent aftermaths, in the inner-workings of music departments as they attempt to counter their precarious positions within the university system, and in the increasingly illogical and impenetrable legal and disciplinary frameworks by which South African universities operate. Mostly, however, this crisis has become one of blindness, denial, or willful forgetting – a pervasive failure of response.
Author Annemie Stimie BehrSource: SAMUS : South African Music Studies 34-35, pp 1 –28 (2015)More Less
A case study of Jeanne Zaidel-Rudolph’s Masada for bassoon and string quartet (1989) and its reception history allows for observations to be made regarding the extent to which musicological debates of the last three decades have shifted ideas on musical meaning and authorial control, including the impact these debates have had on the relationship between composers and musicologists. Masada was conceived in the final hours of apartheid and it greeted the dawn of democracy in the form of a recording. In this guise, it surreptitiously entered the art music canon of the ‘New South Africa’ where its status and importance remained unquestioned for more than a decade. In 2011, my conference paper about Masada stirred a controversy around the work that continues to affect its reception history. Events that followed the conference raise concerns regarding the divided interests of composers and musicologists, which extend to questions around the mandates and ethics of scholarly practices relating to composition and musicology in South Africa. This article flows from that original paper and includes the events that followed, since these now form a crucial part of the discourse on Masada.
Author Michael DrewettSource: SAMUS : South African Music Studies 34-35, pp 29 –62 (2015)More Less
In 1980s South Africa the profit-making motives and generally cumbersome nature of major record companies limited their ability to release music which seriously criticised apartheid (especially in light of the censorship practices of the SABC and, to a lesser extent, direct state intervention). However, independent record companies had the potential to resist these forces given the way they were able to operate in a more innovative way than the majors because of their more immediate modus operandi. Certainly, the operation of independent record company Shifty Records varied significantly from the majors. Shifty’s musicians were given substantial freedom with respect to the production of their material while Shifty Records made use of a number of strategies which made it possible for the company to operate within a very restrictive and censorial environment. These included securing foreign funding, using a mobile studio, putting together innovative compilation albums and supporting the alternative Afrikaans Voëlvry tour. This enabled Shifty to record a variety of musicians who otherwise would not have been recorded. This paper explores the development of Shifty Records and how it positioned itself as a resistant independent record company in opposition to both the majors and the state.
Conference report : Contesting Freedoms – A Colloquium on Music Studies in a Democratic South Africa, University of South Africa, 27-28 March 2014Author Cara StaceySource: SAMUS : South African Music Studies 34-35, pp 63 –68 (2015)More Less
‘Contesting Freedoms’ – a colloquium organised by Thomas Pooley and Annemie Behr – was held at UNISA in March of 2014. The stated aim of this meeting was to reflect on the state of music studies in South Africa, twenty years into democracy. The diverse modes of research and writing proposed across the programme promised lively debate throughout the two days of presentations and this was certainly achieved. Papers covered issues such as the curriculum (at high school and tertiary levels), research ethics, freedom of speech within the academy, and recognition of indigenous knowledge systems. These themes were covered in diverse, detailed, and thoughtful papers, but it was in the moments of discussion that much of the intense engagement happened. As a researcher based at the University of Cape Town and SOAS, London, I found this colloquium an invigorating reminder of, and, in some ways, an introduction to the current state of our national musicological discourse and the many challenges faced by researchers and artists in the wake of the cultural legacy of the apartheid regime.
Author Jeffrey BrukmanSource: SAMUS : South African Music Studies 34-35, pp 69 –89 (2015)More Less
A South African recital tour by the Israeli-born concert pianist, Yossi Reshef, during March 2013 created much public debate and led to tense situations on four South African university campuses. The largest disturbance occurred at Wits University, where protestors drawn from the ranks of the Wits Students Representative Council (SRC), Muslim Students Association, Wits Palestinian Solidarity, and the Progressive Youth Alliance (Manyati 2013), intimidated concertgoers, damaged university property, and disrupted the recital to the point that it had to be abandoned. After the event, Wits SRC Internal Vice President, Tokelo Nhlapo, stated that ‘The [Wits] Student Representative Council takes full responsibility for disrupting the concert’ (Nhlapo quoted by Manyati 2013). At Rhodes University those aligned with the Rhodes University Palestinian Solidarity Forum (RUPSF) demonstrated outside the music department, the recital venue, after vilifying the music staff in an open letter for not acquiescing to their demands for the recital to be cancelled. Similarly, at Stellenbosch University notice was received that protest action was planned, leading to the concert venue being cordoned off, creating space for the recital to proceed without hindrance. It was only at the University of Cape Town, where Reshef did not perform but conducted master classes, that his visit seems to have gone unnoticed. Reshef’s appearances at these universities coincided with Israel Apartheid Week (IAW).
Author Mareli StolpSource: SAMUS : South African Music Studies 34-35, pp 92 –108 (2015)More Less
The South African Society for Research in Music (SASRIM) has come a long way since the amalgamation in 2005 of the Musicological Society of Southern Africa and the Symposium on Ethnomusicology into a single society. The desire to ‘desegregate’ sub-disciplines and establish an inclusive and wide-reaching forum for the study of music in South Africa has been a central project of SASRIM since its establishment in 2006; the scope and content of the eighth and ninth annual congresses of the Society, held in Johannesburg and Cape Town respectively, indicate that this project is well under way.
Author Chris van RhynSource: SAMUS : South African Music Studies 34-35, pp 109 –134 (2015)More Less
Tracing Lines, an album containing seven works written between 2001 and 2011 by the UK-based South African composer Robert Fokkens, was released in 2014. In this essay two works from this album, representing two important moments in the composer’s development, are analysed. Irreconcilable Truths for violin and piano (2002) displays the impossibility of synthesis when different entities collide; Africa for soprano and piano (2007) contains moments in which such entities synthesise. The aim is to provide a temporal link between these trends in order to highlight the evolution of the composer’s display of identity within the given time-frame. Subconscious sonic perceptions are outlined through general readings of ‘plain’ spectrograms, and Gestalt readings of melodic range spectrograms of the recordings of the works in question. In both Irreconcilable Truths and Africa, the ‘plain’ spectrograms contradict the ‘seminal trends’ assigned to each work. In contrast with my first perceptions upon hearing the recordings of the works, the Gestalt in Irreconcilable Truths is more pronounced than in Africa. Set theory analyses of the scores, which serve to outline the intuitive design of pitch relations in the score, are followed by a brief consideration of pitch-rhythm relations. From these relations I conclude that Irreconcilable Truths contains hidden foreshadowings of the forthcoming breakdown between different entities, and compensations for the boldness of the second entity. Africa, on the other hand, displays moments of almost unprepared synthesis of these entities, and at the same time parts with the idea of separate entities at a slower pace than expected. The results are read in the context of the composer’s negotiation of a South African identity.
The Girls in the Baobab: Venda Stories from the Limpopo Valley, Jaco Kruger (Ed.) in collaboration with Mathuvhelo Mavhetha, Pfananani Masase and Tshifhiwa MashauAuthor Ernest Patrick MonteSource: SAMUS : South African Music Studies 34-35, pp 135 –138 (2015)More Less
Oral histories provide an insight into a community’s past, engaging with history in order to understand the present. The field of oral history has often been described as an interdisciplinary one, invoked by scholars and researchers in different fields. Jaco Kruger’s The Girls in the Baobab: Venda Stories from the Limpopo Valley, documents oral histories from the Venda speakers of the Limpopo valley. The book is the result of interdisciplinary research that touches on history, music, anthropology and literature. Kruger brings to light fascinating stories and music of the people of Folovhodwe and Muswodi in Limpopo Valley, thereby providing a geographical, cultural and political background of this particular area of South Africa from where the data for this book has been collected.
Source: SAMUS : South African Music Studies 34-35, pp 141 –145 (2015)More Less
As part of the dedication of this edition of South African Music Studies to Andrew Tracey, the contributions to this node of the journal address his work and legacy. Diane Thram pays tribute to Andrew Tracey by highlighting the extent of his involvement in the dissemination, teaching and documentation of Southern African performance practices. She sees his work as a continuation of that begun by his father, Hugh. Like his father, Andrew’s reputation has been built primarily on his achievements as an archivist of primary data. Indeed he has made a considerable variety of the musical practices of Southern Africa available to academics and practitioners. His focus on performance as central to an understanding of these musical practices is also widely celebrated. He has mentored and inspired many through his own performances and through teaching others to perform.
Source: SAMUS : South African Music Studies 34-35, pp 146 –170 (2015)More Less
Born to follow in his father Hugh Tracey’s footsteps, Andrew Tracey has inspired countless people with his knowledge of African music. This he has done through his publications and films and his teaching and performing from the early days of his career in the 1960s through his Directorship of the International Library of African Music (ILAM) from 1978-2005; and this he continues to do in the present. Andrew’s vision for his work has always been in accord with that of his father who, according to J.H. Kwabena Nketia (1998, 51), was a leading scholar of the colonial period who saw African music as an artistic heritage that needed to be ‘shared, preserved, and promoted’ and who worked tirelessly to encourage recognition of the significance of African music in social life.
Author Dave DargieSource: SAMUS : South African Music Studies 34-35, pp 171 –204 (2015)More Less
The rhythm systems in traditional Xhosa music have long baffled musicologists. When the author began to work with African church music at Lumko Institute in the late 1970s he undertook to study the music of the local people, who are Thembu Xhosa. With the help of Andrew Tracey he set out to try to ‘crack’ the rhythmic codes in their music. In order to be able to feel the rhythm he learned to perform some of the music, with its complex rhythms. This led him to the conclusion that the multiple rhythm systems used simultaneously were linked by ‘springing-points’, which gave the clue to how the different systems could operate at the same time. For his doctoral thesis (and later his book) on Xhosa music he developed a pulse notation system for transcribing the songs. However, he later became convinced that he had not yet got to the basics of the ‘springing-points’. New ideas are here discussed which the author believes complete the rhythmic picture. The article is dedicated to Andrew Tracey, whom the author acknowledges as his mentor in this work. The article is illustrated with transcriptions using pulse notation, with guides to readers to give access to recordings and videos of the songs.
Keeping Time: 1964-1974 the Photographs and Cape Town Jazz Recordings of Ian Bruce Huntley, Chris Albertyn (Ed.)
Electric Jive: The Huntley Archive, Chris AlbertynAuthor Niklas C. ZimmerSource: SAMUS : South African Music Studies 34-35, pp 207 –228 (2015)More Less
Keeping Time: 1964-1974 the Photographs and Cape Town Jazz Recordings of Ian Bruce Huntley, published in 2013 by Chris Albertyn and Associates CC in partnership with Electric Jive, presents the reconstruction of a private collection of recordings into a public record, created in view of enriching and reimagining the archive of South African jazz culture. In tandem, this book and the website Electric Jive: The Huntley Archive make available a selection of access copies of photographs and sound recordings of many now deceased South African jazz leaders, produced by the jazz enthusiast and amateur documentarian Ian Bruce Huntley between 1964 and 1974. This beautifully printed, hardbound and limited first edition of the book serves to showcase around 120 of Huntley’s jazz photographs, taken in a variety of venues in different South African cities, carefully contextualised by some individual commentaries and some longer texts. The website, on the other hand, provides free access to over 56 hours of live jazz performances which Huntley recorded in Cape Town over the course of this notorious decade in South African history. Together, they present an immensely valuable new resource for a better understanding of the socio-political context of South African jazz culture, and of the musicological narrative of South African jazz.
Author Christopher BallantineSource: SAMUS : South African Music Studies 34-35, pp 229 –261 (2015)More Less
Though seldom without controversy, musical traditions tend to posit one or more ‘founders’, real or mythological. Random instances might include Gregory (Western chant), Léonin (polyphony), Schoenberg (serialism), Buddy Bolden (jazz), Ma Rainey (blues), Jimmie Rodgers (country music), Chuck Berry (rock ‘n roll), E.T. Mensah (highlife), Franco (soukous), and, closer to home, Ntebejana (marabi), Johanna ‘Giddy’ Phahlane (feminist vaudeville) and Solomon Linda (isicathamiya). The South African jazz tradition is no different. None can lay claim to a more august and influential place in its formation than Peter Rezant, who founded the Merry Blackbirds around 1930. As the group’s energetic and perfectionistic leader until its dissolution roughly three decades later, he shaped it into the country’s best-known, longest surviving, most widely touring, and on some criteria most illustrious black dance band; certainly its proud reputation as the most polished black swing group of the 1930s and ‘40s was seldom in dispute. Styled initially in imitation of the U.S. swing bands that were becoming known in the country through recordings and films, the Merry Blackbirds in the 1930s was probably the only black swing ensemble that was able to play from scores, rather than just by ear.
Experiences of belonging and exclusion in the production and reception of some contemporary South African jazz : an interpretative phenomenological analysisAuthor Nishlyn RamannaSource: SAMUS : South African Music Studies 34-35, pp 262 –289 (2015)More Less
Focussing on music as a locus of power relations, this article explores how individuals’ musical experiences may be discursively mediated. Drawing on Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) and aspects of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) it specifies some of the ways in which a small sample of interviewed jazz musicians and audience members active on the jazz scenes of mid 1990s and early 2000s Durban and Johannesburg used aspects of their musical experiences to affirm or contest aspects of their membership within larger social groupings defined by generation, language identity, and gender. At an epistemological and theoretical level the article tentatively proposes that combining IPA and CDA may be a productive way to explore – in some empirical detail – how larger societal dynamics find expression at a unitary individual level of musical experience.
Author Francesca IngleseSource: SAMUS : South African Music Studies 34-35, pp 290 –296 (2015)More Less
In Sounding the Cape: Music, Identity, and Politics in South Africa, French scholar Denis-Constant Martin examines musical practice as a critical site of interaction, exchange, and circulation throughout the history of the Cape. The two-part text combines an analysis of theoretical approaches to identity construction followed by a rich and comprehensive examination of musical practices in Cape Town. Martin adds to a growing body of scholarship that uses the theoretical lens of creolisation to examine South African history and culture (Zimitri Erasmus 2001; Sarah Nuttall and Cheryl-Ann Michael 2000; Robert Carl-Heinz Shell 1994), but extends this scholarship by revealing music as a privileged site of analysis in its ability to uncover hidden histories of contact.
Author Heidi GrunebaumSource: SAMUS : South African Music Studies 34-35, pp 299 –310 (2015)More Less
What is the relationship between the Marikana massacre and a gathering of scholars to deliberate on music, art and landscape? What is the relationship between the Marikana massacre and the cinematic form of the threnody? How may this relationship register the attempt to lament the death of the victims of the massacre as a failure of civil care? Aryan Kaganof’s experimental short film, Threnody for the Victims of Marikana responded to the ‘Hearing Landscape Critically’ conference (University of Stellenbosch, 2013) by raising the question of this relationship as one that is animated through the encounter between the cinematic form, the arts and mass violence. This is a question that has particular purchase in grappling with the afterlives of apartheid and the vexed, if heartbreaking, inscrutability of the post-apartheid.
Author Daniel M. GrimleySource: SAMUS : South African Music Studies 34-35, pp 311 –324 (2015)More Less
Reeling from the experience of watching Aryan Kaganof’s Night is Coming: Threnody for the Victims of Marikana, a documentary commissioned by the Hearing Landscape Critically network in conjunction with their conference at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, in 2013, it is difficult to escape an overwhelming sense of dislocation, powerlessness, and collusion. The film forces us to confront our worst fears, namely that even as we seek to understand the environments and impulses that motivate the most brutal forms of human violence and degradation, we are inescapably implicated in their continual unfolding. Furthermore, the film irresistibly insists that our reactions as intellectuals, academics, or even simply as reluctant witnesses, ultimately compound the histories of asymmetry, exploitation, and domination upon which such violence relies and which it ritualistically performs. It leaves us no space from which to try and comprehend the magnitude of a recent historical moment that, as Peter Alexander (2013, 131) has written, became for South Africa ‘a seismic event’, albeit one that may simply have ‘produced new faults from existing tectonic stress’. And it broadcasts our culpability, tearing away the critical veil and demanding that academic practice urgently reassess its relationship with direct action and with the institutional frameworks from which it gains and amplifies its authority.
Author Gillian SchutteSource: SAMUS : South African Music Studies 34-35, pp 325 –336 (2015)More Less
Kaganof’s Night is Coming – A Threnody for the Victims of Marikana is an intertextual film that explores the difficulty of depicting death (in this case the Marikana massacre) in art. This multi-layered textual excavation happens within the context of a critique on the academic landscape of analysis and white noise yada yada. It plays out in a cacophonic tapestry of abstract sounds that are depicted as incongruent with the narrative realism of the poverty and oppression that plagues the majority of Black South Africans. The filmmaker’s cut-up narrative lives in the seam between these two tensions: his concern for social justice and his unresolved relationship with the academic linguistic landscape.
Author Matthew PatemanSource: SAMUS : South African Music Studies 34-35, pp 337 –351 (2015)More Less
(Reuters) – South Africa’s main opposition party said on Monday [17 November 2014] it had asked law-enforcement authorities to charge a government minister and police with assault after several of its parliamentary deputies were injured during a brawl.
Police entered the chamber during session on Thursday for the first time since the 1994 end of apartheid after a furious debate over alleged graft in a $23 million state-funded upgrade to President Jacob Zuma’s house.
Critics said the episode, in which witnesses said lawmakers from the ruling African National Congress cheered as police physically ejected rival deputies, was an example of increased ANC thuggery to chill dissent. The ANC denies such accusations.
Author Aidan ErasmusSource: SAMUS : South African Music Studies 34-35, pp 352 –363 (2015)More Less
We would do well to stay awake in the wake of noise, but also to remain vigilant in the silence that follows. It might signal the beginning of a different vibration. If, as Alexander Weheliye (2005, 1) reminds us, ‘introductions are occasions for sonic events or apparitions’, and ‘the allurements that lurk in the crevices of sonic beginnings, those sonorous marks that launch new worlds … [hold] out pleasures to come while tendering futurity as such in their grooves’, a prolegomenon is at once to ask what we are listening to as it is to ask what it is we expect to hear, or in visual terms, what we expect to appear before us. It is, at least for a moment, to be in tune with the groove of history. To reflect upon an anecdote from a patron of ‘bioscopes’ in Cape Town under apartheid who recollects how the audience ‘loved it, being there, waiting for [the screen] to go black’ (Nasson 1987, 14),2 I wonder whether an equivalent expectancy is asked of us as we encounter Night Is Coming: A Threnody for the Victims of Marikana by Aryan Kaganof, where we are not so much enchanted by killing time until the image darkens as much as we are delightfully anticipating the quiet before the disquiet. It is not dissimilar to Kafka’s imperial letter, which we await but are destined never to receive, and whose message – intended for our ears only, and sent on its way from a deathbed – is left to haunt us in our dreams, as its messenger attempts in vain to navigate the labyrinth of the imperial palace.