GLOSSARY
AFRICAN
STYLES
OF
MUSIC




Afrobeat:
Term used by Fela Anikulapo Kuti
to describe his fusion of West
African with black American
music.



Apala:
Yoruba style of talking drum
percussion from Nigeria.



Axe:
Yoruba word meaning "life force",
used to describe the Bahian style
of Brazilian pop music popular in
that country.



Benga:
Originating from the Luo people of
from Western Kenya, this style is
widely popular throughout the
country.



Chimurenga:
Popular style of music from
the Shona people of Zimbabwe.

Also called mbira-based music, one
of the best examples of this sound
is the music of Thomas Mapfumo.




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Fuji:
Nigerian Yoruba voice and percussion
style using original African percussion
instruments popularized by Kollington,
Barrister, and Adewale Ayuba.

A percussion conversation.



Gnawa:
Morrocan music of people descended
from the slaves brought from Mali
in the 16th century.

This music features the stringed
instruments sintir or gimbri,
singing in unison, and hand
clapping.

Most often played at
healing ceremonies.



Griot:
Generic term for a West African
oral historian-cum-minstrel;
a storyteller.



Highlife:
Dance music from Ghana and Eastern
Nigeria, originating from the popular
kpanlogo rhythm developed in Ghana in
the 60's.



Iscathamiya:
Traditional Zulu call-and-response
a cappella choral music sung by men
from South Africa.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo is the
premier example of this style
of music.




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Jali:
Manding word for a West African
oral historian-cum-minstrel;
a storyteller.



Jit:
Hard, fast percussive Zimbabwean
dance music, influenced by the
mbira-based guitar styles.



Jive:
Generic South African term for
popular music.



Juju:
I.K. Dairo was credited with
being the first modern Juju
star.

This popular style from Nigeria
relies on the traditional Yoruba
rhythms, but instead of being
played on all precussive instruments
as tradition demands the instruments
in Juju are more Western in origin.

Drum kit, guitars, keyboards, often
pedal steel guitar and some times
accordian (squeeze box) are used
along with the traditional dun-dun
(talking drum, or squeeze drum).

King Sunny Ade is the most well known
of all Juju performers.



Kwassa Kwassa:
Shake-your-booty dance style
begun in Zaire in the late 80's
popularized by Kanda Bongo Man.



Kwela:
South African pennywhistle
(tin flute) music.



Makossa:
Cameroonian dance rhythm from the
Douala region, also the name of
the country's most popular pop
style typified by Manu Dibango.



Marabi:
South African three-chord township
music of the 1930s-1960s, which
evolved into "African Jazz".



Marrabenta:
Mozambique's popular roots-based
urban rhythm, a distinctive dance
sound.



Mbalax:
(pronounced M'balah),
Senegalese (Wolof),
percussion music modernized by
Youssou N'Dour, characterized
by a sweet, funky combination
of Afro-Cuban rhythms, Wolof
drumming, and American pop.



Mbaqanga:
Also sometimes called "Township Jive",
this South African township music was
first popularized in the 60's.

Johnny Clegg and the Mahatolla Queens
are good examples of this sound.



Morna:
from Cape Verde is a soulful genre
often sung in Creole-Portuguese and
played in a minor key emotional tone,
mixing sentimental folk tunes filled
with longing and sadness with the
acoustic sounds of guitar, cavaquinho,
violin, accordian, and clarinet.




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Palm Wine:
music originates in the tropical
Sierra Leone located on the the
far West coast of Africa.
Typical to the Palm Wine sound
is the light and airy guitar riffs
originally played on acoustic guitar
accompanied by traditional percussion
instruments.

Palm Wine is the sweet milky sap
extracted from the palm tree.

It ferments quickly and is a popular
drink at bars and dance halls, as
well as at social occasions where the
music originated.



Rai:
Youthful pop music from Algeria.
Rai's typical themes of love and
drinking have brought Rai singers
in conflict with Islamic militants.


Reggae:
Originally from Jamaica, this
internationally played sound
dominated by bass, drums,
(or often drum machine), and
guitar chops is associated with
the Rastsafarian religion,
liberation politics, and ganga.



Salsa:
New York Puerto Rican adaption
of Afro-Cuban music.



Samba:
The basic underlying rhythm that
typifies most Brazilian music.



Samba Reggae:
(pronounced sam-ba heg-gay),
grew out of the blocos afros
(Black carnival associations)
a tradition begun in 1974 in
Bahia, Salvador.

The Bahian Carnival Associations
with their afoxe,
(pronounced ah-fo-shay),
drum sections are similiar to
Rio's samba schools, with many
surdos,
(big bass drums of varying sizes)
and repineques,
(smaller, high pitched drums),
comprising the bulk of the rhythm
section.

Olodum is one of the first groups
to popularize the sound.




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SOCA:
comes from combining the words
"soul" and "calypso",
is modern Trinidadian pop music.



Soukous:
is a musical style that grew out
of '50s Cuban rhumba music mixing
the kwassa kwassa dance rhythm with
zouk and rhumba.
Many African artists, originally
from the Congo (or Zaire), relocated
to Paris, which became a popular
expatriate community for them, and
where they are mostly still based.



Wassoulou:
a musical style from Mali typified
by a strong Arabic feel along with
the sound of the scraping karinyang,
women play the fle, a calabash strung
with cowrie shells, which they spin
and throw into the air in time to the
music.



Were:
A Muslim style of music performed
most often as a wake-up call for
early breakfast and prayers during
Ramadan celebrations.



Zouk:
Creole slang word for "party."
Modern hi-tech Antillean music
produced mostly in Paris.



Copyright 1995-1998 Janet Planet



EMAIL
jplanet@africanmusic.org




African Music Encyclopedia
http://africanmusic.org/glossary.html/




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