Journal of the Musical Arts in Africa

Journal of the Musical Arts in Africa, Volume 13, Issue 1-2, June – December 2016
The Journal of the Musical Arts in Africa ( JMAA) is published by NISC (Pty) Ltd in association with the South African College of Music at the University of Cape Town. It is an accredited, internationally refereed journal that aims to combine ethnomusicological, musicological, music educational and performance-based research in a unique way to promote the musical arts on the African continent. This journal also incorporates book, audio and audiovisual media and software reviews.


Singing the African continent
Rebekka Sandmeier


The projecting of musical and extra-musical elements in constructing choral identity with specific reference to three South African regional children’s choirs

Rudi Bower & Jan-Erik Swart

This article explores how three regional children’s choirs and their practitioners, from different provinces of South Africa, project a distinctly South African choral identity that they themselves construct by fabricating a mental representation of themselves, through the identification, organisation and interpretation of particular musical and non-musical elements. It is ultimately argued that each of the three choirs – The Eastern Cape Children’s Choir, Cantare Children’s Choir and the Tygerberg Children’s Choir – projects its own unique choral identity, which is inclusively South African.

Aesthetics of funeral performance in Ọka Akoko Ondo State, Nigeria
Henri Oripeloye


The paper explores the aesthetics of funeral music performance in Oka Akoko, south-west Nigeria, through a discussion of the nature and functionality of this traditional performance. Funeral performance in Oka Akoko combines songs, dance and verbal utterances that share the same principles of excitement, reprobation or censure with other African traditional performances or verbal arts. The songs garnered from the traditional repertoire have been transformed into poetic statements by the performers for the transmission of moral values among the Oka Akoko people. The paper describes the nature, values and the significance of funeral music performance in Oka Akoko. The study is based on field research conducted in this community between 2010 and 2011.The song texts were purposively selected to display some peculiarities of existence among the people so that the performance itself represents the interrogation of the people’s reality about the world around them – its social, cultural and traditional outlook. This suggests that in Oka Akoko funeral music performance many ideas compete for recognition: it historicises a people, defines socio-cultural nuances, conveys invective, praises positive values and condemns negative stereotypes. It allows for fabrication as well as hyperbolic masking. All these ideas constitute the markers of the aesthetic values in funeral performance.

Peter Klatzow’s Words from a Broken String: two cultures meet in the distant past
Bertha Spies


Peter Klatzow’s short opera focuses on the figure of the English woman, Lucy Lloyd, in his portrayal of the interaction between the Victorian and ‘Bushman’ cultures in Southern Africa in the late 19th century. Apart from concentrating on Klatzow’s use of melodic gestures to represent the cultural interaction between two very different groups, this article looks beyond the relationship between music and libretto, discussing Lloyd’s involvement with the ‘Bushmen’ (the San, who refer to themselves as the |xam). The short survey of Lloyd’s and Wilhelm Bleek’s ‘Bushman’ research deals with four men whose narratives in the opera describe their daily existence and the folklore that represents the psyche of the |xam. The empirical section of the article shows how the composer shaped the musical material in order to represent the interaction between people of two different cultures. The search for musical signification finally promotes a better understanding of the mind and soul of the |xam.

The same, yet different: re-encoding identity in U-Carmen eKhayelitsha
Santisa Viljoen & Marita Wenzel


This article explores the reconceptualisation of the opera Carmen as a cinematic adaptation of George Bizet’s eponymous opera (1873–1874), situated within an African context. The change in culture and context affects the interpretation of the character Carmen, who emerges as a strong black woman striving for autonomy within a patriarchal and sexist postcolonial South African society. The argument is based on an interpretation of identity as a social construct dependent on the interaction between character and place within a specific period of time – in this context Khayelitsha, a township on the outskirts of Cape Town at the beginning of the 21st century. Film director Mark Dornford-May’s and musical director Charles Hazlewood’s portrayal of the modern Carmen as an emancipated woman within a postcolonial / postmodernist context could be traced by interpreting semiotic signs and specific narrative strategies – as found in literature and cinematic texts. The re-encoding of Carmen’s identity in U-Carmen eKhayelitsha questions intransigent or stereotypical perceptions of Carmen as the iconic femme fatale to which audiences have become accustomed. The indigenised production offers recourse to alternative perceptions of Carmen’s identity. U-Carmen eKhayelitsha does not deny the sensuality and femininity attributed to Carmen in the precursory texts, but it depicts Carmen as an even more complex character than the one depicted in Bizet’s opera.


Lexicophony.1: Computer-generated composition
Dimitri Voudouris


The artificial organic environment, Lexicophony.1, is a computer-generated composition that involves a composer and a software program as an assistant composer. Here the term ‘organic’ implies a relationship with, or derivation from, living matter. This acousmatic composition exploits the movement of complex patterns of sound in time, amongst other parameters. And, most importantly, it draws heavily on concepts from the biological sciences.

Young researchers’ voices

Determining suitable pedagogical approaches to the application of voce chiusa and the zygomatic arch
Melindie Pretorius


West African Drumming and Dance in North American Universities: An Ethnomusicological Perspective
Alex Smith

Music Notation: A South African Guide
Hendrik Hofmeyr

The Bow Project
Liam Burden

My World
Cecilia Durojaye

Living the Hiplife: Celebrity and Entrepreneurship in Ghanaian Popular Music
Mwenda Ntarangwi


Inaugural International Bow Music Conference 2016 report
Cara Stacey

Singing actors emerge victorious at the 35th International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition, Cape Town, 25 June to 2 July 2016
Conroy Cupido

Reporting on the electronic music festival Unyazi 2016: Infrastructures
Victoria S Lwebangila