THE SOUNDSCAPE OF DIASPORA AND ANTI-COLONIALISM: HISTORICAL
SIGNIFICANCE AND THEORY by
SHAWN TRENELL ONEAL Bachelor of Arts, University of Colorado, 2012
A thesis submitted to the Faculty to the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Department of History
This thesis for the Master of Arts degree by Shawn Trenell ONeal has been approved for the Department of History by
Ryan Crewe, Chair Gabriel Finkelstein Michael Kozakowski
May 13, 2016
ONeal, Shawn Trenell (MA, Department of History)
Delineating The Processes of Colonization Through Music Thesis directed by Associate Professor Ryan Crewe
This thesis will describe the various processes of colonization, and imperialism. I will use music lyrics as a foundational component to describe systems of colonization, post colonization, internal colonization, and American imperialism. The lyrics of Nigerian musician Fela-Anikulapo Kuti and Chilean musician Victor Jara will be utilized along with a historical portrayal of American jazz to substantiate the parallels of music and politics.
The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication.
Approved: Ryan Crewe
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. INTRODUCTION 1
II. HISTORIOGRAPHY AND THEORY OF COLONIALISM PROCESSES 3
III. JAZZ AND INTERNAL COLONIZATION 19
IV. COLONIALISM: THE LYRICS OF FELA ANIKULAPO-KUTI AND THE 29
DELINEATION OF CULTURAL IDENTITY, MODERNIZATION, AND
THE COLONIAL DESCRIPTION
V. VICTOR JARA AND THE POWER OF NUEVA CANCION 54
VI. CONCLUSION 68
CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION
The residual effects of colonialism have been articulated in a multitude of methods. Artistic expression has been used as a vehicle to illustrate the often-damaging consequences caused by colonial rule. Song lyrics are an embodiment of poetic manifestation often utilized to paint the vivid picture of a personal experience in parallel to an event or series of events. Within the context of a deeper examination the lyrical content of some African music has described colonization and decolonization. Colonization and decolonization covers a broad range that includes various subtopics of historical research and scholarship. The assorted aspects involving cultural shifts during colonization and after colonizations demise will be a focal point of my research. Specifically, ethnomusicology or comparative musicology, and its relationship to the decolonization of specific African regions post World War II will be the one focus of my research. Although the country of Nigeria will be a dominant piece of my examination, the United States and Chile will be carefully investigated. The artists Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, and Victor Jara will be foundational components of this research. However, Jazz Diplomacy, a term that refers to the United States governments use of jazz musicians as ambassadors of cultural and social negotiation, will be scrutinized.
I feel it is essential to explain the significance of various artistic expressions such as jazz, afrobeat, and nueva cancion because a multitude of peoples and cultures, especially over the last century, have used these vehicles to confront the social, political, and economic issues that have arisen as a result of being colonized. My methodology will provide a cultural perspective by using artistic productions in order interpret
divided memories, culture and identity, and a tragic historic episode. The time period of research will reside in the entirety of the twentieth century. This research will ultimately illustrate that music and politics are a binary component that directly influences one another. Music is in essence a cultural component that undoubtedly influences and is in parallel to politics.
HISTORIOGRAPHY AND THEORY OF COLONIALISM PROCESSES Initial Discourses of Colonialism
Tunisian-Jewish writer Albert Memmi opens the dialogue concerning the colonial situation by describing the mental and emotional effects of colonization on all those directly involved. Memmis documentation entitled The Colonizer and the Colonized (1957) can be considered the catalyst for future scholarship on the field of study. The most serious blow suffered by the colonized is being removed from history and from the community. Colonization usurps any free role in either war or peace, according to Memmi, every decision contributing to his destiny and that of the world, and all cultural and social responsibility.1 Memmi is alluding to the fact that colonized people have been removed from history, however, by merely acknowledging this he is providing historical context to the colonized. Memmi examines the internal relationship between the colonized and the colonizer concluding that the only outcome is revolt. Slaves and colonized people have been historical actors in various revolts and insurrections. The revolt of the adolescent colonized, far from resolving into mobility and social progress, concludes Memmi, can only sink into the morass of colonized societyunless there is total revolution. It is my assumption that the colonizer is fearful of a revolution not only because of the inevitable violence, but because allowing a revolt to happen gives historical agency to the subjugated regardless of the outcome.
Martinique-born philosopher and writer Frantz Fanon shares many of Albert Memmis views in regards to the effects of colonialism ultimately ending in rebellion. The
1 Albert Memmi, The Colonizer and the Colonized (Boston, Massachusetts: Beacon Press, 1965), 91.
Albert Memmi, The Colonizer and the Colonized (Boston, Massachusetts: Beacon Press, 1965), 99.
author was an ardent supporter of the Algerian War of Independence. Fanons illuminating book entitled, A Dying Colonialism (1959) was written during battles in the Kasbahs of Algiers in the context of the unprecedented unity of the Algerian rejection to colonialism, three years before Algerian-state independence. Italian filmmaker Gillo Pontecorvos film, The Battle Of Algiers 91966), to be examined later, will take a cinematic approach to elucidate Memmi and Fanons ideas. Like Memmi, Fanons attention to the Algerian peoples refutation of French oppression is in itself an example of providing dominated populace historical acknowledgement.
Fanons examination of the symbolic and utilitarian use of the veil provides an interesting perspective on colonial control by way of a cultural emblem. Colonizers used the veiling of Algerian women as an attack on Algerian men and culture to justify European authority. Around the family life of the Algerian, the occupier piled up a whole mass of judgments, appraisals, reasons, accumulated anecdotes and edifying examples, affirmed Fanon, thus attempting to confine the Algerian within a circle of guilt. The French governments attempt to control the veil thus Algerian women is really an attempt to control culture. If the colonizers succeed in controlling culture, denying historical agency to the colonized becomes possible.
Edward Saids groundbreaking book Orientalism (1978) is essential to the field of post-colonial studies. Said analyzes the British and French perception of the Arab world by criticizing and exposing the Eurocentric dominance that has been hallmark to the discourse of imperialism studies. [Ojrientalism can be discussed and analyzed as the corporate institution for dealing with the Orient, dealing with it by making statements about it, *
Frantz Fanon, A Dying Colonialism, trans. Haakon Chevalier (New York: Grove
Press, 1965), 38.
authorizing views of it, describing it, by teaching it, settling it, ruling over it: in short Orientalism as a Western style for dominating, restructuring, and having authority over the Orient.4 Saids declaration is significant because it can be applied to contemporary colonial/post-colonial studies of Africa and Latin America as well.
The African Diaspora
Intellectuals definitions of colonialism and the black diaspora took a slight shift in the 1990s by focusing on deeper theoretical components of modernity, identity, and black political culture. Paul Gilroy destroys any notion of Euro-centrism by concurring that the global transferences that have taken place since the onset of the African diaspora metes out any socially constructed cultural label. Gilroys book, The Black Atlantic: Modernity and the Double Consciousness (1993), challenges the customs and conventions of cultural studies by concluding that cultures arent specifically African, European, or Latin American, but a combination of all cultures. Gilroy states that a foundational component of his book is to refute the idea of ethnic absolutism that currently dominates and restricts black politics.5 Gilroys examination of an international perspective to deal with race and culture is analogous to the ideology of the Francophone Negritude philosophy. Francophone-African intellectuals Leopold Sedar Senghor, Aime Cesaire, and Leon Damas constructed a philosophy in the wake of their hatred toward French control that called for a common racial identity and unity for black people all over the world.
Gilroy does point to the works of W E B Dubois, Frederick Douglas and Martin Delany to demonstrate the violence involved in modernizing the Western world through
4 Edward Said, Orientalism, (New York: Random House Publishing, 1978), 11.
5 Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic: Modernity and the Double Consciousness (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1993), 5.
slavery and colonialism, and to describe the phenomenon of the double consciousness. Gilroy points to Duboiss The Souls of Black Folk (1903) when he concurs, Double Consciousness was initially used to convey the special difficulties arising from black internalization of an American identity: One feels his twoness, an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being tom asunder.6 Duboiss ideology at once acknowledges the philosophical and psychological struggle of black people in diaspora, and positions black people within a modernist intellectual perspective.
Similar to Gilroy Professors Darlene Clark Hine and Jacqueline McLeod are the editors of a collection of papers that explores the global transmissions and multi-dimensional components of diasporic communities of color. The professors book, titled Crossing Boundaries: Comparative History of Black People in Diaspora (1999) includes an assemblage of papers presented at a Michigan State University symposium on the
Comparative History of Black People in Diaspora in April 1995. Because the book is a collection, Hines and McLeod include roughly eighteen various works by other scholars.
Each author, in his or her own unique analysis, provides historical importance to various diasporic communities in Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, and the United States. McLeod surmises, Quite unlike the traditional paradigms of power which locate Africa and her descendants at the periphery of every discourse, this paradigm of empowerment properly
6 Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic: Modernity and the Double Consciousness (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1993), 126.
Jacqueline Mcleod, Crossing Boundaries: Comparative History of Black People in
Diaspora, eds. Darlene Clark Hine and Jacqueline Mcleod (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana
University Press, 1999), xviiii.
situates Africa and her diaspora actively within the complex of New World history. The authors are emphasizing the fact that their collection of work is part of a new model that treats Africa and its descendants of color as representatives of their own history.
Academics have also begun to examine Africa as a continent that should be discussed from a realm of inclusion in regards to the Atlantic world. Similar to Crossing Boundaries, author Michael A. Gomez is the editor of a collection of essays entitled Diasporic Africa: A Reader (2006), that concerns African diasporas and African people as essential participators in their history and culture. Gomez states [literature from the Americas discussing the African presence can be read together with materials written expressly in and on Africa for the purpose of illuminating African history, not simply New World histories.* 9 Comparable to Hine and McLeod, Gomez structures the African diaspora around the need to illustrate the intellectual, social, and cultural contributions of African peoples throughout the world as a result of international transferences.
Wendy Walters essay, Writing the Diaspora in Black International Literature, suggests that the movement caused by diaspora allows writers to employ historical agency to their culture by writing about their homeland thus establishing multiple identities and homelands.10 This idea connects to Gilroys ideology of dual consciousness. Studying writing by black authors living in the West, perhaps in exile or expatriation, or one
Jacqueline Mcleod, Crossing Boundaries: Comparative History of Black People in Diaspora, eds. Darlene Clark Hine and Jacqueline Mcleod (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1999), xviiii.
9 Michael A. Gomez, Diasporic Africa: A Reader, ed. Michael A. Gomez (New York: New York University Press, 2006), 7.
10 Wendy A. Walters, Writing the Diaspora in Black International Literature, in Diasporic Africa: A Reader, ed. Michael A. Gomez (New York: New York University Press, 2006), 272.
generation removed from a perceived cultural homeland, deduces Walters, enables us to unsettle and complicate the typical construction of home and diaspora as binary opposites.11 The author is suggesting that the dualistic Eurocentric model of delineating diasporas can contain several new narratives because of the displacement of people.
Ruth Sims Hamilton offers a collection of essays in Routes of Passage: Rethinking the African Diaspora Volume 1, Part1(2001). Hamilton as well as the subsequent scholars in the book provides additionally scholarship involving the global social formation that diasporas and colonization have provided. From new socio-racial categories, to new languages, to competing notions of nationality and citizenship, circulatoriness illustrates how identities change as they are changed. The authors use of the term circulatoriness corresponds to the global and international components of the African diaspora as it has displaced people to several continents blending many cultures.
The aforementioned bodies of work comprise the new paths being explored in order to provide victims of diaspora and colonization a voice as purveyors of their own history. Academics in the past have positioned African people within a Eurocentric structure that strips away their historical significance. Scholars such as Paul Gilroy and Darlene Clark Hine are opening an innovative and fresh dialogue that interconnects cultures and societies as one working unit.
11 Wendy A. Walters, Writing the Diaspora in Black International Literature, in Diasporic Africa: A Reader, ed. Michael A. Gomez (New York: New York University Press,
2006) , 272.
Ruth Sims Hamilton, Routes of Passage: Rethinking the African Diaspora Volume 1, Parti, ed. Ruth Sims Hamilton (East Lansing, Michigan: Michigan State University Press,
Music As a Political Theme
Two recent publications demonstrate various tactics the United States government, and capitalists working in tandem with the government, have utilized to disguise imperialistic expansion and colonial ideologies globally. The books include Greg Gran dins Umpires Workshop: Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism (2006), and Jedrek Mular skis Music, Politics, and Nationalism in Latin America: Chile During the Cold War. These works have opened the door to further analysis and discussion on the role of the United States in a global-imperialistic condition. The authors demonstrate Americas use of military intrusion, favorable-foreign economic policy, and arguments regarding American exceptionalism. The authors analyze American imperialism in Latin America because the bulk of Americas disguised-colonialist enterprises have transpired in these regions, with the exception of the Philippines and the colonization of Native Americans.
The United Statess twentieth-century imperialistic endeavors are a subject that has until recently been somewhat left out of colonial/post-colonial discourse. Americas forays into areas such as Latin America, the Philippines, and Asia, have been conveniently disguised as to not theoretically mimic the colonial expansions of the European powers or Japan. However, the United States, especially after World War II, embarked on a system of global imperialism using strategies that implemented coup d etats and military insurgency.
In many regards, Greg Grandins Empires Workshop: Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism opens the discussion involving American imperialism in Latin America particularly. Grandins book outlines the United States use of military, economic, and political action in Latin America as a dress rehearsal for future imperialistic endeavors. Grandins central argument has two fundamental components.
From the mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth century, the U.S. military sharpened its fighting skills and developed its modern-day structure, according to Grandin, largely in constant conflict with Latin America... Through his analysis the author is illustrating the primary motive for U.S. action in Latin America. Latin American armies were small and lacking in equipment, technology, and military intelligence compared to the United States. Smaller-underdeveloped countries provided the United States with supplemental training.
The U.S. also benefited from the political and economic turmoil many Latin countries were enduring. Grandins second foundational component concludes, The region provided a school where foreign policy officials and intellectuals could learn to apply what political scientists like to call soft powerthat is, the spread of Americas authority through nonmilitary means, through commerce, cultural exchange, and multilateral cooperation.* 14 Grandins statement is significant because it demonstrates the strategies utilized by the U.S. to disguise or misrepresent what are actually colonial or imperial systems of authority. The authors emphasis of soft power can be compared to indirect rule, which is an elementary component of twentieth-century colonialism/post-colonialism discourse. Grandin explains the United Statess ability to exercise soft power globally.
Lisa E. Davenport covers an interesting topic by analyzing American Jazz during the Cold War. Davenports essay called, Jazz and the Cold War: Black Culture as an Instrument of American Foreign Policy, and subsequent book entitled, Jazz Diplomacy: Promoting America in the Cold War Era, examines the U.S. governments use of American-jazz
Greg Grandin, Empires Workshop: Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism, (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2006), 3.
14 Joseph S. Nye, The Misleading Metaphor of Decline, Atlantic, March 1990. Quoted in Greg Grandin, Empires Workshop: Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism, (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2006), 3.
musicians as international ambassadors of political and cultural world dominance. The U.S government embarked on this program while Jim Crow Laws was heavily implemented against the same black musicians in America. The U.S governments (CU) Bureau of Educational and Cultural affairs enacted cultural policies in Africa as well organized and deployed racially integrated or fully African American bands such as Herbie Mann, Louis Armstrong, and Woody Herman, to Africa and Europe.15 The CU was responsible for promoting social discourse as well as positioning African Americans as equal U.S. citizens to demonstrate that America was a worthy world leader. American officials, negotiating exchanges with the colonial powers and with newly independent governments, sought not only to counter the Soviet pressure in Africa, concludes Davenport, but also competed with Great Britain, France, Belgium, and Portugal for allegiance with African nations.16 Although African-American musicians were used as pawns in the U.S. governments diplomatic and political positioning, Davenports analysis places them in the center of important history involving colonization and international intermingling.
Michael Denning, in his book Noise Uprising: The Audio Politics of a World Musical Revolution, refers to the colonial systems attack on cultural components such as music when he concludes, To argue that decolonization is a musical event, that a musical decolonization preceded and prefigured political decolonization, suggest that empire and colonization was
15 Lisa E. Davenport, Jazz and the Cold War: Black Culture as an Instrument of American Foreign Policy, in Crossing Boundaries: Comparative History of Black People in Diaspora, eds. Darlene Clark Hine and Jacqueline Mcleod (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1999), 289.
16 Lisa E. Davenport, Jazz and the Cold War: Black Culture as an Instrument of American Foreign Policy, in Crossing Boundaries: Comparative History of Black People in Diaspora, eds. Darlene Clark Hine and Jacqueline Mcleod (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1999), 288.
itself a musical event. The processes of colonization and decolonization are essentially and attack on the cultural components of a colonized group of people, and the subsequent attempts of the colonized group to retain and reestablish their culture during the course of decolonization. Since music is a significant component of culture, empire and colonization can be viewed as a musical event. More importantly music is in essence, a cultural component that undoubtedly influences and is in parallel to politics. When examining diasporas and colonization, music becomes a significant political factor. Various cultures and societies have used music to transfer language, political stances, and other forms of cultural expression.
The American governments treatment of African American people by the enactment of Jim Crow laws can be observed as a form of internal colonialism. Internal colonialism can be defined as the structural, political and economic inequalities between people within the same nation state. This definition can be applied to the plight of African Americans in the United States post-Civil War. The subsequent Civil Rights Movement can then be analyzed as an attempt to eradicate the processes of American internal colonization. Lisa E. Davenport examines what can be determined as a musical event that challenges internal colonization in an effort towards decolonization. The American jazz musicians can be viewed as actors in a musical event of colonization. A cultural component such as music is supposed to be a freeing and liberating endeavor. Because they were persuaded to go to varied continents representing false ideas of equality and civility in American society by enacted government policy, the musicians were a part of a musical event based on processes of internal colonization.
Michael Denning, Noise Uprising: The Audiopolitics of a World Musical Revolution (London, England: Verso, 2015), 140.
Jazz served two foundational purposes for black musicians and black people. Jazz in many ways was a reflection of black life in America. As American society continued to push black people to the fringes, jazzmen and women created their own cultural space, acknowledging their oppression. Furthermore, America devised its jazz policy in Africa in an effort to convey the message that jazz has African roots, concludes Davenport, and that ancestral and cultural ties exist between Africans and Americans.* 19 It is my summation that the ancestral and cultural ties that exist between Africans and Americans are rooted in the Black diaspora and colonialism. Ultimately jazz musicians utilized music as a vehicle to delineate political environments, and define internal colonialism illustrating the parallels of music and politics.
Author Thomas Turino demonstrates examples of musical decolonization in the postcolonization period of Zimbabwean culture and politics. Turinos examination, Nationalists, Cosmopolitans, and Popular Music in Zimbabwe analyzes colonialism, cosmopolitanism,
and the forming of national identities through popular music in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Turinos musical foundation in his examination of social and cultural components in postcolonial Zimbabwe positions music as an event in the decolonization process. The author is also demonstrating the transnational influences of music from one country to another as a result of diasporas and colonization. The author makes an important statement concerning
Lisa E. Davenport, Jazz Diplomacy: Promoting America in the Cold War Era, (Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi, 2009), 16.
19 Lisa E. Davenport, Jazz and the Cold War: Black Culture as an Instrument of American Foreign Policy, in Crossing Boundaries: Comparative History of Black People in Diaspora, eds. Darlene Clark Hine and Jacqueline Mcleod (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1999), 303.
Thomas Turino, Nationalists, Cosmopolitans, and Popular Music in Zimbabwe (Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press, 2000), 4.
jazz and ballroom dancing as a measure of Zimbabwean cosmopolitanism. Zimbabwes move toward cosmopolitanism is a product of decolonization in the country, and music is the cultural symbol and activity that influences cosmopolitanism or modernity in the African country. The author concludes, This cultural position, defined as civilization within colonial discourse, became the basis of corporate, middle-class identity before the rise of mass nationalism. Middle-Class Zimbabweans attempts to modernize came through an adoption and appreciation of Western forms of music. The middle-class of Zimbabwe embraced school choirs, makwaya singing, and concert groups as a way to promote decolonization and social and cultural modernity. The revolution of jazz music in America is also a modern event based on the same foundations as the Zimbabwean people.
Comparable to Zimbabwe, Tanzania was another African country experiencing a cultural revolution as a result of 1960s decolonization. Kelly M. Askews Performing the Nation: Swahili Music and Cultural Politics in Tanzania, studies the cultural transformation and the forming of national identities in Tanzania. The waves of independence that swept across Africa beginning in the 1950s left in their wake a desire to recapture African culture and history, deduces Askew, the culture and history that had been mutilated and reinvented by colonial interests. The author is demonstrating Tanzanias desire to revisit their culture after years of occupation through accomplishments such as musical output. The Tanzanian post-colonial government established Ministries of Culture in order to position music as an *
Thomas Turino, Nationalists, Cosmopolitans, and Popular Music in Zimbabwe (Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press, 2000), 119.
Thomas Turino, Nationalists, Cosmopolitans, and Popular Music in Zimbabwe (Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press, 2000), 119.
Kelly M. Askew, Performing the Nation: Swahili Music and Cultural Politics in Tanzania (Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press, 2002), 13.
essential component of retaining their civilization. Kelley includes a cd and lyrics to
significant Tanzanian songs. The Tanzanian National Anthem states
God bless Africa Bless its Leaders Wisdom, Unity, and Peace These are our shields Africa and its people Bless Africa Bless Africa
Africa Bless us children of Africa God bless Tanzania Grant eternal Freedom and Unity To its women, men, and children God bless
Tanzania and its people Bless Tanzania Bless Tanzania
Bless us children of Tanzania24
The lyrics seem to discuss the type of country the people of Tanzania have always wanted before, during, and after the processes of colonization.
Frank Tenaille demonstrates in Music is the weapon of the Future: Fifty Years of African Popular Music, African cultural icons in contemporary music. Tenaille outlines the life, politics, and music of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti in a chapter entitled Fela Kuti: The man Who Carried Death in His Pouch: The Quest for Nigerian Afrobeat. Afrobeat was coined by Fela Anikulapo-Kuti to describe his newfound consciousness associated with his art, to illustrate the present struggles of African people all over the world, and to discuss atrocities of the past such as African slavery and colonialism. Afrobeat also demonstrates the cultural exchanges between Africa, Europe, and America that have taken place over centuries through slavery, and more importantly colonialism. Felas lyrics address hundreds of years of African
24 Kelly M. Askew, Mungu Ibariki Afrika (God Bless Africa) in Performing the Nation: Swahili Music and Cultural Politics in Tanzania (Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press, 2002), 311-312.
and African-American struggle within a European dominated culture. Felas lyrics are
important as a shining example of characterizing colonialism and decolonization as a musical
event. Tenaille uses the lyrics for Look and Laugh to illustrate the political and cultural
plight of a figure such as Fela within the African post-colonial spectrum.
Which-e kind wayo [deceit] be that?...
When them come, burn bum my house All my property burn-u, bum u dem-o Beat-e beat-e, kill my mama...
Look at our television and listen to our radio in Nigeria When dem do dem nonsense finish, newpaper self go join My own be say, too many overseas things and our own too small When dem go do our small sef, dem go be ye-ye things [when they Cover local things a little, the cover inconsequential topics]
No plans, no set, no ideas inside dem, dem go dey copy overseas dy go Government this, government that, in their ties, lace and dungarees Ah! Looku, looku, looku [look], lafu, lafu, lafu [laugh]
Se, I no know what dem do inside television,
Police uniform come important pass [becomes more important than] the Food for this country,
Go to court and the big-big [fancy] English, and still dem do dem Nonsence [corruption],
1809 [law] book dem go bring to judge case of 1980 Government people still dey enjoy with police supporting Nigeria still dey where he dey (stuck in the same place], problems Still plenty more
Looku, looku, looku, lafu, lafu, lafu
Jedr ek Mularskis Music, Politics, and Nationalism in Latin America: Chile During the Cold War (2014), explores the post-war musical movement nueva cancion. Jedreks book examines folk-based popular music in Chile during the countrys social and political upheaval amongst the leftist and rightist factions of society.25 26 Nueva cancion, like the music
25 Fela Kuti, Look and Laugh, in Frank Tenaille, Music is the Weapon of the Future: Fifty Years of African Popular Music trans. Stephen Toussaint and Hope Sandrine (USA: Lawrence Hill Books, 2000), 74-75.
26 Jedrek Mularski, Music, Politics, and Nationalism in Latin America: Chile During the Cold War (Amherst, New York: Cambria Press, 2014), x.
of Fela Kuti delineates issues regarding politics, culture, and social justice. Activist, musician, and educator Victor Jara is a prime example of politicizing music in the name of social and political justice. Jara and his family, both in childhood and adulthood, lived in Chile during the Cold War Era. Jara, the social and political activist, wrote dozens of songs that outlined the plight of Chilean people who struggled to keep the leftist Popular Unity Party in place of an American-backed dictatorship. After the 1973 Chilean Military Coup, the Pinochet government enacted upon a reign of terror that included Jaras subsequent murder. The Pinochet government attacked cultural freedom in particularly. Nueva Cancion all but vanished from public space, assesses Jedrek, existing domestically only cladenstinely within the homes of those who dared to possess such subversive (and now illegal) material. Jara, along with his folk-band Quilapayun often performed the song Plegaria a un Labrador (Prayer to a laborer) that declares,
And look at the mountain,
From where the wind, the sun, the water come.
You who change the course of the rivers,
Who with seeds sow the flight of your soul.
And look at your hands Take your brothers hand In order to grow.
Together we will go,
United by blood,
The future can begin today.
Deliver us from the master who keeps us in misery,
Thy kingdom of justice and equality come.
Blow, like the wind blows the wild flower of the stream,
Clean the barrel of my gun like fire.
Thy will be done at last on earth
Give us your strength and courage to fight.
Look at your hands,
Take your brothers hand so you can grow.
Well go together, united by blood,
Now and in the hour of our death.
Jara and Quilapayuns lyrics depict the pain and sorrow of Chilean people to aggressive societal rebellion while contrasting liberty, religion, and revolutionary left-wing
affirmations. The music of the nueva cancion movement is a model that illuminates the interspersing of music and politics, and the power of music within contentious societal environments. Victor asserted, An artist must be an authentic creator and therefore in very essence a revolutionary... a man as dangerous as a guerilla because of his great power of
communication. Fela Kuti, Victor Jara, and the purveyors of American jazz can be viewed as revolutionary communicators that exhibit great power.
Victor Jara, Plegaria a un labrador. Essex Espanola, 1976. Quoted in Jedrek Mularski, Music, Politics, and Nationalism in Latin America: Chile During the Cold War (Amherst, New York: Cambria Press, 2014), 94-95.
Jedrek Mularski, Music, Politics, and Nationalism in Latin America: Chile During the Cold War (Amherst, New York: Cambria Press, 2014), 95-96.
Joan Jara, An Unfinished Song: The Life of Victor Jara, (New York: Jonathan Cape, 1983), 124.
JAZZ AND INTERNAL COLONIZATION Historical Significance
"Jazz has come to stay because it is an expression of the times, of the breathless, energetic, superactive times in which we are living, it is useless to fight against it.. .Americas contribution to the music of the past will have the same revivifying effect as the injection of the new, and in larger sense, vulgar blood into dying aristocracy.. .The Negro musicians of America are playing a great part in this change. The jazz players make their instruments do entirely new things, things finished
musicians are taught to avoid. They are pathfinders into new realms.
British Conductor Leopold Stokowskis declaration has several important facets of interpretation. First, the conductor is stating that jazz is an expression of the times, and that the musicians of jazz are purveyors of modernity. Stokowski then refers to the dying aristocracy that can be a symbolism for the impending Civil Rights Era, and the fight for equality that so many African American artists will be significant participants. Lastly, Stokowski concludes that African Americans are sources of the changes that are to come; black people and jazz music are a vital part of history.
Jazz is a musical form that is cemented within the principles of diaspora, politics, and the modes of colonization. Jazz is also credited as being the music of people of African ancestry. The exact origins of jazz are disputable due to the scarcity of recorded African American music prior to jazz. Scholarship, however, demonstrates the methods in which jazz formed via African and Caribbean diasporas that were based on colonization, as well as the musics impact on international politics. African and European colonialists shared a mixing of musical influences as a result of slavery and colonization. Jazz essentially provides
Leopold Stokowski is quoted in J. A. Rogers, Jazz at Home, in The New Negro, ed. Alain Locke, (New York: Atheneum, 1975), 221-222. Quoted in Kathy J. Ogren, The Jazz Revolution: Twenties America & the Meaning of Jazz, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), 7.
historical agency to the subjugated groups of people who performed it. Jazz became a platform and voice to those who were suffering under the internal colonialism of American Jim Crow Laws. In addition, musicians used elements of its style to create new musical approaches that portrayed colonization and anti-colonization. As will be discussed, jazz became an important component of American international diplomacy during the Cold War, further demonstrating the intermeshing of artistic culture and politics.
Scholars and musicologists generally agree that jazz culminated in New Orleans in the early-twentieth century. Thousands of freed slaves migrated to New Orleans in the late nineteenth century to capitalize on job opportunities, social activity, and diverse ways of life. New Orleanss seaports allowed the city to be a haven for migration as well as travelers from all over the world. The various cultural expressions brought into New Orleans are a part of the makeup of jazz as a musical style. Although the French mostly occupied New Orleans, a large number of Haitian Creoles were combined with other people of African ancestry making the city into a center for black culture. Educator and Musician Mark C. Gridley demonstrate the cultural transferences between Africans, Afro-Caribbean, and Europeans that comprise New Orleans. Jazz became one of the various social and cultural products of these transferences.
African slaves were brought to the United States with virtually nothing besides whatever components of their original culture they were able to retain. Besides language, slaves transported elements of their religion, dance, and music to be interlaced with European customs. Following these preferences and practices, some slaves and their children modified 33
Mark C. Gridley, Jazz Styles: History and Analysis, (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1988), 40.
European music, according to Gridley, such as church hymns, folk songs, and dance music.34 35 Jazz music, especially in its earliest incarnations, has characteristics of traditional European music as well as African and Caribbean customs. Though African slaves were forcibly brought to the United States with practically naught, what they did bring was enough to form one of the most important and celebrated artistic manifestations.
Storyville, New Orleans, Louisiana has an imperative placement in the history of jazz. Storyville was the red-light district of New Orleans from 1897-1917. Alderman, Sidney Story sectioned off an area of town limiting prostitution and other seedy vices to a zone deemed Storyville. This brothel district became a hub for alcohol, sex, and music.
Storyville was also important because the district was a fusion and mixing of races and cultures. Africans, Creoles, and Europeans coalesced in a lively social network, in various urban spaces, providing abundant work for musicians. Jazz was able to flourish under these circumstances. Equally notable is that at the beginning of the twentieth century, anyone with any African lineage was given the same social status. Creoles, who once enjoyed a higher status than African, were now one of the same. Though the Creoles resented this, deduces Gridley, jazz was the ultimate benefactor because the readjustment facilitated the blending of European traditions (as represented by the Creoles) with African traditions (as represented
by the Negroes). Storyville offered the necessary urban space, where products of the African diaspora could combine their culture with European traditions to form modern-artistic hybrids.
35 Ibid., 43.
Challenges of Internal Colonialism
By the 1920s, African-American jazz and the musicians behind it began to form a conscious task within the social and political landscape of America. During this time, the voice of marginalized people of African descent began to be expressed through music. [Ajfro-American music played a dual role. It spoke to the unique experiences of black Americans and, at the same time, according to Professor Kathy J. Ogren, became the dominant influence on American popular music generally.36 37 The dual role of black music is in equivalence to the double consciousness theory constructed by Professor Paul Gilroy. Jazz music at once retains the cultural identity of black people while they navigate through a white-dominated society. Black music was enjoying a newfound dominance that could help propel people of African descent out of the margins of society. Jazz, which had become the most distinguishing style of modem black music by the 1920s, had enough prominence to
contest white cultural supremacy. Musicians such as Duke Ellington, Thomas Wright Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong, and vocalist Bessie Smiths growing popularity and respect amongst black and white audiences, garnered enough clout to take on deeper social issues independent to music.
Black artists, whether consciously or unconsciously, commenced on confronting the deep social issue of internal colonialism. The African American population suffered under the strict system of Jim Crow Laws that enforced racial segregation even beyond its demise in 1965. Although Jim Crow was different than traditional forms of colonialism executed by the British and French in Africa, it was nevertheless a way to separate the population and
36 Kathy J. Ogren, The Jazz Revolution: Twenties America & the Meaning of Jazz, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), 11.
execute dominance over black people. The white establishment executed white supremacy and Jim Crow throughout the nation in such a way that they fundamentally colonized people of African descent within their own country. The African American architects of jazz, and the music itself, had a dual role of confronting internal colonialism in lieu of the Civil Rights Movement, and being used by the American government for issues regarding international diplomacy.
During the heart of the Cold War in the 1950s, President Eisenhower requested for the organization of a cultural exchange program for performing artists to help improve the worlds opinion of the United States culturally, socially, and politically. The Soviet Union adamantly criticized the United States for its unequal treatment of black people while trying to promote itself as the purveyor of democracy and world supremacy. Eisenhower began measures to implement his plan on the heels of the landmark civil rights victory Brown v. Board of Education in May 1954. As white Americans celebrated freedoms conceded by postwar prosperity, black Americans still lived under a system of legal apartheid, determines author Davenport, and the idea of race, always central to the American character, arose as a controversial dimension of Cold War diplomacy. The system of legal apartheid, or internal colonialism, proved to be a major obstacle when considering the United States fight against communism. Many African American artists, such as outspoken activist and actor Paul Robeson, began adopting Marxist ideologies as a vehicle of social advancement that couldnt be attained hitherto. The United States government countered *
Lisa E. Davenport, Jazz Diplomacy: Promoting America in the Cold War Era, (Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi, 2009), 3.
39 Ibid., 5.
rampant racial issues by illustrating America as a healthy cultural society by arranging black and white jazz musicians in international tours.
The role of jazz and the double consciousness of African Americans combine to create what Davenport refers to as the Cold War paradox. [T]he cultural expression of one of the nations most oppressed minorities came to symbolize the cultural superiority of American democracy.40 Black Americans again have to play a dual role in American society by having to negotiate their conditions at home while creating an ideal image of their social situation and country abroad. [Ajfrican American scholar Cornel West suggests in The Future of the Race that in the struggle for freedom, black artists remained aware that they had a responsibility to represent black achievement to the world in order to sustain and promote democracy and to confront oppression.41 42 Davenports Cold War paradox and Cornell Wests philosophy define the responsibility that jazz musicians and jazz music face while attempting to improve their social, political, and economic status in a country designed to keep all people of African descent in a subjugated position.
In July 1954 Eisenhower persuaded Congress to allocate funds for the purpose of a Cold War cultural exchange deemed the International Cultural Exchange, and Trade Fair Participation Act of 1956. This act of Congress also brought forth the Advisory Committee on the Arts (AC A), the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (CU), and the Cultural Presentations Program (CPP) whose principal objective was to thwart Russian propaganda. By employing all black and integrated jazz bands to tour Europe, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East, the United States government felt that they could counter negative Soviet
41 Ibid., 25.
42 Ibid., 39.
propaganda by illustrating a racially harmonious and culturally superior Western civilization. The political connection between jazz and international diplomacy was made clear. The components were analogous made possible by the various innovative government programming.
Some of the most popular artists in the American jazz scene were chosen as representatives of the United States Cold War cultural initiative. In this vein, the travels of Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Dave Brubeck, Benny Goodman, Earl Hines, Charles Lloyd, Marian Anderson, and many others revealed an American commitment to the modernist ideals of progress openness, and these artists themselves became models of the dynamism of a democratic system.43 Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington especially were employed as examples of the Americas new Cold War image because they were not only black but respected leaders of large-integrated ensembles. Armstrong led his famous band the All-Stars in the 1950s and 1960s across four continents generating great praise. However, Armstrongs appearance in Knoxville, Tennessee was met with hostility and actual explosives thrown at the band.44 This incident is a case in point when trying to illustrate the conditions of internal colonization. When commenting on international tours, Louis Armstrong professed that everywhere I have gone in the world, I have been well received and understood.45 Dizzy Gillespie challenged segregation and other racial issues by being one of the first bandleaders to integrate his band. Dizzys band was then chosen for tours of the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia. Duke Ellington was provided with similar
43 Ibid., 25.
44 Ibid., 40.
45 Lisa E. Davenport, Jazz Diplomacy: Promoting America in the Cold War Era, (Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi, 2009), 66.
opportunities. White bandleaders Benny Goodman and Dave Brubeck, who also led integrated bands, took similar tours of Europe, Africa, and Asia while being outspoken advocates and supporters of Civil Rights causes at home.
Because the tours were met with success and praise abroad, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (CU) petitioned for a tour of the Soviet Union, The fact that the Soviet Union was a closed society and that jazz music was something like forbidden fruit, deduces author Davenport, made the prospect of an American jazz group in the Soviet Union especially alluring to the Soviet People.46 The United States government was attempting to send an integrated jazz band to Russia, to mend diplomacy and repair their tarnished image in the eyes of their Cold War competitor. Soviet ideology views colonial rebellion as a sign of diminishing capitalist imperialism. The American government wanted to appear superior to their biggest Cold War rival. Between 1956-1968, the Benny Goodman Orchestra and the Earl Hines Octet were the bands solely chosen to tour the Soviet Union.
The tours were met with great appreciation and bewilderment.
The musicians used their government given status as international ambassadors to voice disdain about the United States oppressive racial conditions. Despite the success of international tours, jazz diplomacy exposed the contrasts between blacks and whites
46 Lisa E. Davenport, Jazz and the Cold War: Black Culture as an Instrument of American Foreign Policy, In Crossing Boundaries: Comparative History of Black People in Diaspora, edited by Darlene Clark Hine and Jacqueline McLeod, (Bloomington, Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1999), 297.
Lisa E. Davenport, Jazz Diplomacy: Promoting America in the Cold War Era, (Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi, 2009), 12.
politically and culturally.49 Many public officials at home and abroad failed to buy into the merging of cultural and political arenas as a solution to tensions regarding international mediation. In addition, as the civil-rights atmosphere in America morphed into direct activism, the attitude of artists adapted with it. As nationalist movements were developing in America as well as overseas, the idea of American culture was appealing to many, but not worthy of imitation.50 Government officials in Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America perceived American culture as elitist and overbearing. Although American jazz music was welcome and appreciated, in the end, these parts of the world had bigger problems to contend with such as poverty, newly established independence, and Cold War tensions.
Artists such as Gillespie, Armstrong, and Ellington developed a deeper understanding of the congruencies between their music and the plight of African Americans. The civil rights movement and jazz musicians drew from a common set of discourses (or ideas), proclaims Professor Ingrid Monson, that shaped the way disputes were conceived and the way in which various constituencies chose to put ideas into practice.51 Many musicians began to realize that their music was a cultural and political expression to promote self-determination for black people, as well as to publicly expose Americas rooted racial conflicts. Louis Armstrong asserted, the way they treat my people in the south, the government can go to hell. Its getting so bad a colored man hasnt got any country.
Duke Ellington, one of jazzs crowning jewels to both black and white audiences
49 Lisa E. Davenport, Jazz Diplomacy: Promoting America in the Cold War Era, (Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi, 2009), 146.
51 Ingrid, Monson, Freedom Sounds: Civil Rights Call out to Jazz and Africa,
(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 6.
Lisa E. Davenport, Jazz Diplomacy: Promoting America in the Cold War Era, (Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi, 2009), 64.
internationally, echoed similar sentiments. Ellington attacked the core of American political topics by criticizing the space program. He declared that the United States had not achieved the scientific success of the Soviet Union because racial prejudice had prevented the nation from attaining the harmony of thought that had to prevail in order for scientific progress to occur. Ellington is resounding the opinions of prominent black scholars such as W.E.B DuBois when discussing how the paradox of race will continue to destabilize American progression.
COLONIALISM: THE LYRICS OF FELA ANIKULAPO-KUTI AND THE DELINEATION OF CULTURAL IDENTITY, MODERNIZATION, AND THE
Tradition and Modernity
The opening drumbeat of the song Colonial Mentality, by Nigerian musician and activist Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, gives the listener the impression that the band is developing a standard American jazz or soul composition. Shortly thereafter, a saxophone melody combined with bass and percussion leads one to believe that James Brown or perhaps Miles Davis is conducting the ensemble. Approximately seven minutes and thirty seconds into the bands pulsating rhythm and driving syncopation, the first lyrics are uttered. The unfamiliar cadence and slightly broken English suggest that this music isnt necessarily American, but conceivably a musical hybrid or musical unification of varied cultures. The music in question is labeled Afrobeat. Afrobeat was coined by Fela Anikulapo-Kuti to describe his newfound consciousness associated with his art, to illustrate the present struggles of African people all over the world, and to discuss atrocities of the past such as African slavery and colonialism. Nigerian Author and Professor Tejumala Olaniyan describes Afrobeat music by stating, Afrobeat interpellates you as a member of the oppressed lower classes, insistently reminds you of the harshness of your life, and now and then shows you in a very bad light those who profit from the harsh system, so that you can confront them; its horizon is simultaneously transcultural, transnational, and transcontinental. It is the most cosmopolitan of Nigerian popular musics.54 Olaniyans assessment not only stresses the importance of Afrobeat music
54 Tejumola Olaniyan, The Cosmopolitan Nativist: Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and the Antinomies of Postcolonial Modernity, Research in African Literatures, Vol. 32, No. 2.
as a vehicle to the intermeshing of cultural influences, but also as a voice to describe the injustices that are characteristic of the colonization/post colonization experience.
Fela Kuti is an artist most well known for bridging African culture with the Western world through his music. More specifically the lyrics of Fela Kuti can be deciphered and analyzed to address three areas of contention: colonial description, cultural identity, and modernization. Felas lyrics address hundreds of years of African and African-American struggle within a European dominated culture. My study will demonstrate that Felas lyrical output of the 1970s describes and addresses key components of colonization and decolonization enacted by the British while also distinguishing critical African issues such as cultural identity and modernization. Fela Kutis music and lyrical production communicate many key elements of British colonization such as racism, religion, cultural identity, cultural tradition, and modernity, while showing Felas evolution of consciousness as a result of Pan-African political and social movements. It is important to note that American and European record companies didnt provide much attention or resources to politically and socially themed music prior to the 1960s. African-American revolutionary movements of the sixties opened the market for politically and socially conscious music by artists such as James Brown, Gil Scott-Heron, and Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. Although Felas music deals with many historical issues prior to the 1960s, it required racial, economic, and political contention in America to expose the Western world to West African struggles and subsequently, African music.
The opening lines of the song Colonial Mentality declare
(Summer, 2001), p. 82. Indiana University Press, accessed: March 14, 2013. http://www.istor.org/stable/3820905 ,
He be say you be colonial man You don be slave man before Them don release you now But you never release yourself55
The lyrics of Fela Kuti are written in Yoruba, Pidgin English, and English.56 An important distinction concerning pidgin, according to Professor Awan Amkpa, is that Fela and other artists used pidgin as a way to restructure and transform cultural elements associated with the colonial/neo-colonial structure.57 The above lyrics from Colonioal Mentality are just one example of how Fela Kutis text can be applied to understand British colonialism in the first half of the twentieth century. Fela Kuti sings these words to position slavery as the foundation of harsh systems imposed on Africans. Colonization is the next phase of oppression and control enacted on African people. Africans were released from the clutches of colonization, but were not able to fully disassociate themselves from hundreds of years of domination. The inability to fully detach from the mindset of being dominated by Europeans connects to the residual effects of cultural influences and exchanges over the centuries between Britain and West Africa. The lyric from Colonial Mentality not only touch upon the effects of slavery and colonialism on African culture, but also suggests the detrimental mindset of African people that caused further issues in the post-colonial structure.
55 Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and Africa 70, Colonial Mentality, Sorrow, Tears, and Blood, 1977 by Barclay Records, LP.
56 Pidgin is an abridged language spoken by ethnic groups as a common form of communication. In the case of Nigerian Pidgin, it is the lingua franca of the 250 or more ethnic groups across Nigeria.
Awan Amkpa, Nigeria: The Art of Neocolonial Dystopia and Postcolonial Utopias, Black Renaissance, Vol. 5, No. 2. (Summer, 2003), p. 1. Institute of African American Affairs. ? accessed February 27, 2013. http://0-search.proquest.com.skyline.ucdenver.edu/docview/215535477 ,
57 Ibid. p. 2.
Fela Kutis words will provide a personal account of colonization, decolonization, and post colonization, while also addressing the expression colonial description. Fela Kuti especially will demonstrate through his coined Afrobeat music, the contrast between the perceived traditional and modem Africa, as well as issues of race and civil rights. The lyrical accounts in songs such as Yellow Fever, Shuffering and Shmiling, and Why Black Man Dey Suffer, will also reveal the cultural exchanges between Britain and Nigeria as well as the rest of Africa, as a significant component of colonialism. In addition, Felas colonial description will provide insight into issues surrounding the struggles of Black people globally such as racism, poverty, and lack of basic human rights. Professor Louis Chude-Sokei explained that Africa is indebted primarily to two things: first, to the colonial vision of a conceptually containable and politically controllable whole; and second, to Black Diaspora resistance movements like Ethiopianism, pan-Africanism, Negritude, Black Power, Civil Rights, Negrismo, and others, which erected themselves on that primary colonial symbolic architecture.58 Black revolutionary movements such as these inspired Fela Kuti to redirect his music to socially and politically conscious topics. Felas shift in consciousness is therefore beholden to African tradition, British colonialism, and African-American revolutionary consciousness.
The cultural interactions between Britain and West Africa during the stages of colonization have vastly affected the cultural tradition and modernization aspects of West African people. Fela Kutis Afrobeat music is an example of combining traditional West African culture with what is considered modem European influences. The term modem for
58 Louis Chude-Sokei, When Echoes Return: Roots, Diaspora and Possible Africas (a eulogy), Transition 104, (2011), p. 2. accessed April 10, 2013. http://0-muse.ihu.edu.skyline.ucdenver.edu/.
the sake of this research can be defined as the European/British perception of themselves as culturally, politically, and economically advanced in comparison to the countries they controlled during colonization.
The intrinsic nature of African music is an expression and embodiment of immediate surroundings and conditions. Cameroonian musician and author Francis Bebey addresses the subject of music by concluding, Music is clearly an integral part of the life of every African individual from the moment of his birth.59 Bebey is demonstrating the importance of music in African society as an entity more profound than the artistic categorization placed on music in Europe and America. Author and Historian James A. Winders supports the metaphysical nature of African music by stating [E] very one who has studied African cultural practices insists that the Western abstracted sense of a cultural category called music is alien to the African context.60 Because music in Africa is a symbol of everyday existence, it can therefore be looked upon as a way to describe the colonial existence. More importantly, the concept of music in African society can be explored as a historically modern concept. Examining the ways in which the West African music of Fela Kuti reveals the environment of colonization/decolonization in the British occupied country of Nigeria, one can begin to discern that African music is mutually intrinsically modern and steeped in tradition.
The historiography involving the modernization of West African music is complex. Modernizing and civilizing African countries was one of the central aims of colonization. Three professors and authors, Awam Amkpa, James Winders, and Bode Omojola, make
59 Francis Bebey, African Music: A People s Art, (New York: Lawrence Hill & Company, 1975), p. 8.
60 James A. Winders, Mobility and Cultural Identity: African Music and Musicians in Late-Twentieth-Century Paris, French Historical Studies, Vol. 29, No. 3. (Summer, 2006), p. 491. Duke University Press, accessed March 12, 2013. http://0-
attempts to explain the modernizing factors of twentieth-century West African music by describing the interlacing of European modernism with the folk traditions of West African culture. New York University Professor Awam Amkpa uses the term colonial modernity to describe the discourse that sought to modernize and civilize African countries through assimilation, and acculturating indigenous populations with British and French clothing, religion, language, and protocol.61 Colonial modernity also allowed some African cultural characteristics to remain, which was an important British strategy while implementing a system of indirect rule that will be explained later. The all-embodying nature of colonialism through the system of colonial modernity, gave musicians such as Fela Kuti subject matter in which to discuss past and present environments. This then connects to the idea of African music as a quintessence of life surroundings. The British Empire made attempts to modernize and civilize African countries while also stifling their progression. This characteristic of the colonial environment gave Nigerians such as Fela Kuti a creative realm to discuss whether they saw themselves as modem, traditional, or a combination of both.
Awam Amkpa defines the intermodernist landscape as a space set up by the colonizers as a border or barrier limiting assimilation.62 Colonial philosophies were constantly modified within this space as the colonized seized the language and cultural institutions of the colonizer to illustrate and oppose their banishment.63 It was within this intermodemist landscape that Fela Kutis mother, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti led civil and womens rights crusades in 1940s Nigeria. The intermodernist landscape is also the ideology and environment where Nigerian pidgin was created as a way to communicate.
61 Awan Amkpa, Nigeria: The Art of Neocolonial Dystopia, p. 2.
62 Ibid., p. 2.
Felas exposure to his mothers revolutionary activities in the 1940s was the foundation to his addressing the issue of African modernity in the 1970s. Nigeria, like much of modem Africa, is molded by the complex influences of overlapping modernities, according to Awam Amkpa, that sometimes enable and at other times clash with oppressive social relations.64 The music and lyrics of Fela Kuti can represent the overlapping African and European characteristics that have both a negative and positive effect. It is within such a framework that residual traditions are excavated and re-invented to address issues that Arise in Nigerias crisis-ridden society.65 This statement is significant because West African music can be inserted to represent the residuals of tradition removed and reestablished to discuss the issues of colonialism.
Bode Omajola attends to modernization in West African music in an article he wrote on twentieth-century Nigerian composer and jazz musician Fela Sowande. Omajola shares Amkpas viewpoint in relating modem West African music as a unification of cultural ideas. In the article entitled Black Diasporic Encounters: A Study of the Music of Fela Sowande, Omajola demonstrates that Sowandes schooling in London coupled with his uniting of European classical composition and African-American Negro spirituals, addresses the intrinsically modern concept of West African music to intermesh multi-cultural ideas. Omajola documented Sowande stating, [W]e are not prepared to submit to the doctrine of apartheid in art, by which a Nigerian musician is expected to work only within the limits of his traditional music.66 Sowande is suggesting that by only composing what is considered
64 Ibid., p. 1.
66 Fela Sowande, Scrapbook. Guy Pemetti Private Collection (1965), The Catholic Church and the Tone Languages of Nigeria. Kent, Ohio. As cited in Bode Omojola, Black Diasporic Encounters: A Study of the Music of Fela Sowande.
traditional African music, African musicians would be stifling their modem progression thus sustaining subjugation to colonialist ideology. Sowande also stressed the need for African music to retain its traditional value while acclimating to modern challenges.67 The interlacing of traditional and modem influences is again looked at as an amalgamation between African and European principles.
History Professor James A. Winders takes an approach similar to Amkpa and Omojola by examining the cultural exchanges involved in making West African music modern. Winders makes a statement to the historiography of African music by concluding that it may be impossible to locate a purely African variable of music even centuries ago.68 Winders declaration is indebted to centuries of exploration in Africa as well as the Atlantic slave trade that left residuals of foreign culture on the continent. As far as the entwining of modern and tradition, the author indicates, Contemporary African musicians have long practiced a bricolage that makes it difficult to imagine their music developing in isolation, wedded irrevocably to tradition.69 Winders goes on to conclude that many artists opted to remain in Africa to stay close to their roots. 70 Some artists felt that remaining in Africa was the key to keeping with tradition. In Fela Kutis case, leaving Africa and being exposed to new European and American cultural conditions allowed him to revert back to African musical-traditions. Fela was then able to entwine modem and traditional musical concepts. The question then concerns whether West African music modernized as a result of lasting
67 Bode Omojola, Black Diasporic Encounters: A Study of the Music of Fela Sowande, Black Music Research Journal, Vol. 27, No. 2. (Fall, 2007), p. 146. Center for Black Music Research-Columbia College Chicago and University of Illinois Press, accessed: 14/03/2013. http://www.istor.org/stable/25433787 .
68 James A. Winders, Mobility and Cultural Identity, p. 489.
European influence in the post-colonial structure of West African countries, or has West African music always been intrinsically modem. Fela Anikulapo-Kutis artistic endeavors illustrate both points.
British Colonialism and Identity in Lyrics
Before applying primary sources to the fundamental categories that are cultural identity, modernization, and colonial description, it is important to briefly discuss the contextual foundation involving systems of rule implemented by the British during occupation. Contextual information will also describe the environment where Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and other artists existed. In addition, context will provide insight for the circumstances that fueled anti-colonial sentiment, as well as the subject matter for some of FelaKutis lyrics.
Before most West African countries were granted independence in 1958-1961, there were several foundational differences in the modes of administration employed by the British in Nigeria, and the French West African colonies. However, it is important to state that the differences between British and French rule often crossed boundaries. A significant contrast amid British and French rule is the application of indirect administration and direct administration respectively. I will focus on the system of indirect rule implemented by Britain. British colonial administrator Frederick Lugard was appointed the Governor General of Nigeria from 1914-1919. In 1894-1895, Lugard realized the only practical way to govern an indigenous nation the size of Nigeria was through its own established government.71 The British government believed that indirect rule was the logical and cheaper solution to dominating a large group by a small group of foreigners. By 1937, therefore, the only parts
Isacc M. Okonjo, British Administration In Nigeria 1900-1950: A Nigerian View, (New York: NOK Library of African Affairs, 1974), p. 25.
of Nigeria where the principles of indirect rule did not apply, according to author Isacc Okonjo, were the Municipal areas of Lagos, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Kano, and Zaria.72 Local African authority was given the power to administrate general day-to-day operations, while larger matters such as military, taxation, and communication was left in the hands of a British ruling elite. One of the downfalls of using an established indigenous hierarchy to carry out colonial authority is the furthering of ethnic divisions in a country that boasted over 250 various ethnicities.
Indirect colonialist rule spawned a fractured anti-colonialist nationalism in Nigeria. The involvement of African administrators in British colonial pursuits undoubtedly caused negative sentiment amongst the general population. According to a recent article by several authors on direct and indirect rule, indirect rule involves an agreed settlement.73 The African conservative chiefs, who were responsible for carrying out British orders, received incentives as payment for implementing British authority. The fractured solidarity of African people caused nationalist movements to have several disjointed focuses. The lack of African solidarity, often alluded to in Fela Kutis lyrics, made the road to independence difficult. According to Awam Amkpa, Colonialism perpetuated age-old rivalries and invented new ones in many subordinated societies that not only shaped a fractious independence movement in Nigeria, but also complicated the postcolonial task of redefining a single Nigerian nation.74 Nigeria remained fractured and without cultural solidarity as it shifted to the neocolonial structure. However, indirect rule allowed the intermodernist landscape to exist,
72 Ibid. p. 24-25.
John Gerring, Daniel Ziblatt, Johan Van Gorp, and Julian Arevalo, An Institutional Theory of Direct and Indirect Rule, World Politics, Vol. 63, No. 3. (July,
2011), p. 10. Cambridge University Press, accessed April 4, 2013. http://muse.ihu.edU/ioumals/wp/summary/vo63/63.3/.gerring.html .
Awan Amkpa, Nigeria: The Art of Neocolonial Dystopia, p. 2.
which was conducive to establishing anti-colonial thought, and the retaining of African cultural characteristics.
The subject of cultural identity within song lyrics pertains to how Africans viewed themselves throughout the entire process of colonization and post colonization. Cultural identity also pertains to whether Africans associated to their traditional, or foreign cultural influences. Many Africans, especially musicians, were formally educated in Britain and France. Artists educated in France for instance, were immersed in European cultural order in
what can be described as a francophone world. Being formally educated in a foreign country can instigate the crisis of identifying with ones native country, host country, or both. The education of Africans in European countries was also the catalyst for the African diaspora, thus African music in Europe, and the United States. African parents, who could afford to, sent their children to Europe to be educated. As a result, Africans continued a migratation to Europe over the next several decades in hopes of a better life. Cameroonian Saxophonist and Author Manu Dibango, discusses European education and African identity in his biography Three Kilos of Coffee. Dibango, who was formally educated in France, speaks of how his father viewed Europe as paradise.75 76 77 Manu Dibango also voices his idolization of American and French musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington,
Claude Luter, and chanteuse Juliette Greco. Once in European schools, African students grappled with identification to their African tradition, or the European tradition that was a result of a European education.
75 James A. Winders, Mobility and Cultural Identity, p. 490-491.
76 Manu Dibango, Three Kilos of Coffee, (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1994), p. 8.
77 Ibid, p. 16-17.
The song Perambulator, which describes the overall past and present political,
social, and economic condition of Nigeria, voices strong opinions concerning education.
Professor and Author Tejumola Olaniyan professes in his book Arrest the Music!: Fela and
His Rebel Art and Politics, that a particular section of the song addresses the goal of Africans
to reeducate themselves, stripping away the purposeless education imposed by the colonists
and African students parents.78 Fela sings,
If hes [the African] ever been to school They will teach him a lot of things They will teach him plenty of English But nothing about himself79
The importance of these lyrics is the connection between education and identity. The African
student that is sent to Europe loses their cultural identity. However, the contrast to keep in
mind is that musicians such as Fela began to develop their modern form of hybrid music as a
result of their European education. Fela ends Permabulator by singing,
Europeans did not teach us Europeans taught us nothing It is we who civilized them!80
Fela Kuti strikes at the British colonial authority with intensity, again stressing the pointlessness of European education as a whole. Fela also alludes to the premise of the cultural transferences that exist in the colonial environment by stating that it was Africans who civilized the British.
Fela Kuti voices the complexities of assimilation, identity, and indirect rule in the songs Yellow Fever, and Gentleman. The lyrics to Yellow Fever state,
Malaria fever nko? (He dey!)
Tejumola Olaniyan, Arrest the Music!: Fela and His Rebel Art and Politics, (Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 2004), p. 106.
Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and Egypt 80, Perambulator, Perambulator, as cited in Tejumola Olaniyan, Arrest the Music!: Fela and His Rebel Art and Politics, p. 105. 1983 by Barclay Records, LP.
Jaundice fever nko? (He dey!)
Hay fever nko? (He dey!)
Influenza fever nko? (He dey!)
Inflation fever nko? (He dey!)
Freedom fever nko? (He dey!)
Yellow fever nko? (He dey!)
I say tell them make them hear (You say!) All fever na sickness (You say!)
Original sickness (You say!)
Hay fever na sickness (You say!)
Original sickness (You say!)
Malaria na sickness (You say!)
Original sickness (You say!)
Jaundice na sickness (You say!)
Original sickness (You say!)
Influenza na sickness (You say!)
Original sickness (You say!)
Inflation na sickness (You say!)
Original sickness (You say!)
Freedom na sickness (You say!)
Original sickness (You say!)
Original catch you
Your eye go yellow
Your yansh go yellow
Your face go yellow
Your body go weak
I say but later if you no die inside
The yellow go fade away
Artificial catch you You be man or woman Na you go catch am yourself Na your money go do am for you You go yellow pass yellow You go catch moustache for face You go get your double colour Your yansh go black like coal You self go think say you dey fine Who say you fine?
You dey bleach, o you dey bleach African mother
You dey bleach, o you dey bleach Sissi wey dey go
Yellow fever Stupid thing Yeye thing Fucking thing Ugly thing Yellow fever
You dey bleach, o you dey bleach African mother
You dey bleach, o you dey bleach Sissi wey dey go Yellow fever
Who steal your bleaching?
Your precious bleaching?
You buy am for shopping For forty naira You self all yellow How you go find out?
Your face go yellow Your yansh go black Your moustache go show Your skin go scatter You go die o You go die o You go die o You go die o81
The lyrics for Yellow Fever take an almost satirical approach by equating the disease malaria, called yellow fever locally, to the 1970s Nigerian youth practice of skin bleaching.82 Fela is asserting that the entire continent is contaminated with the disease of Westernization, of which this desire for European skin color is a result.83 In many ways, Felas Anikulapo-Kutis upbringing is in congruence with many of the ideas concerning cultural identity as outlined in Yellow Fever. Abeokuta, Nigeria according to Professor Stephanie Shonekan, was an important center for the colonial administration as well as for influential
Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and Africa 70, Yellow Fever, Yellow Fever, 1976 by Barclay Records, LP.
Tejumola Olaniyan, The Cosmopolitan Nativist, p. 79.
missionary activity.84 Fela was bom in Abeokuta, Nigeria October 15, 1938 in a family that garnered attention for many reasons. Felas mother confronted colonialism directly by being one of Nigerias first feminist activists, and a well known-purveyor of anti-colonization. Funmilayo Kuti was also involved with the women of the Nigerian markets who fought unfair taxation by colonialist administrators capitalizing on Abeokuta womens trade markets. Professor Stephanie Shonekans examination entitled, Felas Foundation:
Examining the Revolutionary Songs of Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti and the Abeokuta Market Womens Movement in 1940s Western Nigeria, argues that Funmilayo and the market womens songs of protest was one of the foundations for Felas future activism within song.85 It is important to show that Fela was exposed to a movement of human rights at an early age. Through his mother, Fela could attach his identity to anti-authoritarianism and protest.
Felas father, Reverend Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti was a Protestant minister as well as the first president of the Nigerian Teachers Union. Felas Protestant background is a reflection of missionary pursuits in Africa, which led to issues of cultural identity. Africans were stripped of traditional West African religions such as Yoruba, Serer, and Odinani, to be replaced with Christianity. Felas childhood that was steeped in the juxtaposition of anticolonial activism and Christianity, primed him to write lyrics that contained social, political, and religious contrasts. Although, Yellow Fever isnt directly concerned with religion as is the song Shuffering and Shmiling, it demonstrates deeply rooted problems of cultural
Stephanie Shonekan, Felas Foundation: Examining the Revolutionary Songs of Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti and the Abeokuta Market Womens Movement in 1940s WesternNigeria, Black Music Research Journal, Vol. 29, No. 1. (Spring, 2009), p. 131. University of Illinois Press, accessed: March 14, 2013. http://www.istor.org/stable/20640673 .
85 Ibid. p. 129.
identification. Religion is often the foundational structure most cultures connect their identity to. Felas childhood was immersed in European Christianity and anti-colonial activism in the same household. Fela, as well as other African youth, suffered through the desire to be associated with European culture while trying to retain some sense of their own culture. The phenomenon of skin bleaching in the post-colonial eras is a residual effect of the abovementioned identity problem.
The lyrics for Gentleman resonate some of the same social and political problems
as Yellow Fever, while being solely focused on the men of Africa. Misery caused by the
phases of colonization and cultural identities are the overriding themes.
I no be gentleman at all o!
I be Africa man original
I be Africa man original86 Fela makes the declaration that he is an original African man, making an important statement concerning identity.
You dey go your way, the jeje way
Somebody come bring original trouble
You no talk, you no act
You say you be gentleman
You go suffer
You go tire
You go quench
Me I no be gentleman like that87
This stanza translates to mean passiveness will only bring suffering. Passiveness bringing suffering to Africans can symbolize any stage of the colonial process.
Africa hot, I like am so
I know what to wear but my friends don't know Him put him socks, him put him shoe Him put him pant, him put him singlet Him put him trouser, him put him shirt Him put him tie, him put him coat Him come cover all with him hat
86 Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and Africa 70, Gentleman, Gentleman, 1973 by Barclay Records, LP.
Him be gentleman
Him go sweat all over
Him go faint right down
Him go smell like shit
Him go piss for body, him no go know
Me I no be gentleman like that88
Professor Tejumola Olaniyan deciphers this verse by concluding, Clad in a three-piece suit with hat to match in steaming tropical Lagos, and displaying excessive and sham civility at the slightest pretext, this African man can only be of dubious pedigree, a white man in black skin.89 Olaniyan is describing the ongoing problem of Africans identifying themselves with Europeans, or with their traditional culture. Fela is ridiculing the man in the song for trying to assimilate to European culture at the expense of African culture. He is also, in a sense, criticizing the character in the lyrics for attempting to modernize.
The song entitled Shuffering and Shmiling, addresses the effects of Christian
missionaries, while at the same time acknowledging the effects of foreign religions that has
continued into the post-colonial age.
My people them go dey follow Bishop
Them go follow Pope
Them go follow Imam
Them go go for London
Them go go for Rome
Them go go for Mecca
Them go carry all the money90
In this stanza Fela is referring to the indoctrination of foreign religions on African people. Fela then alludes to the economic ramifications of given African money to Christian and Islamic religions. Professor Tejumola Olaniyan deciphers the lyric by stating
89 Tejumola Olaniyan, The Cosmopolitan Nativist, p. 79.
90 Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and Africa 70, Shuffering and Shmiling, Shuffering and Shmiling, 1978 by Barclay Records, LP.
[Contemporary African prayers remain unanswered as Africans bow sheepishly to this and
that alien divinity.91 Fela had long been concerned with non-traditional religions splintering
African nations, thus hindering their ability to stand in solidarity. In connection with the next
set of lyrics, Olaniyan makes reference to the suffering of Africa that attached itself to the
continent throughout the stages of colonialism. Fela sings, Suffer, Suffer for world, Enjoy
for Heaven.92 Olaniyan believes that according to Fela, what Africans receive for their
devotion to foreign religions is suffering now to enjoy heaven later.93 Fela then sings:
Every day my people dey inside bus Every day my people dey inside bus Forty-nine sitting, ninety-nine standing Them go pack themselves in like sardine Them dey faint, them dey wake like cock Them go reach house, water no dey Them go reach bed, power no dey Them go reach road, go-slow go come Them go reach road, police go slap Them go reach road, army go whip Them go look pocket, money no dey Them go reach work, query ready94
The suffering of Africans coupled with the loss of solidarity brought on by the abandonment of traditional religions, have forced them to live in deplorable conditions. These set of lyrics embrace the subtopics of colonial description, and modernization. The words describe the environment of post-colonization that was caused and is a lingering effect of colonization. Brutality committed by authority figures also describes a colonial environment. Economic misery is symbolized in the prose by describing a house with no water or electricity. Those same words also resonate a lack of modernization. The cultural and social significance of
91 Tejumola Olaniyan, The Cosmopolitan Nativist, p. 80.
92 Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and Africa 70, Shuffering and Shmiling.
93 Tejumola Olaniyan, The Cosmopolitan Nativist, p. 80.
94 Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Shuffering and Shmiling.
people being packed in like sardines may also be looked upon as a lack of infrastructure, thus an absence of modernization.
Felas life during and after his education began to shape the mindset he would need to create music and lyrics that tackled socially and politically aware ideas. Fela Kuti, as well as many other West African musicians such as Francis Bebey, Manu Dibango, and Fela Sownade was formally educated in Britain and France. In 1958 at the age of twenty, Fela was sent to London to study medicine. He instead decided to study music at the Trinity College of Music in London. It was through these diasporic journeys in search of education that Fela and other aspiring African musicians began to cultivate their African identity. This was also the moment when African artists understood the intermeshing of cultures, in combination with newfound cultural identification, was the vehicle to modernizing themselves and their art. While in London Fela formed his first band playing a mixture of modern jazz and highlife.95 Fela returned back to Nigeria in 1963, and was employed by the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation to play African music. Felas position at the NBC was terminated in 1968 when it was decided that his selection of music was unworthy. Interestingly enough, Fela wasnt completely enthralled with highlife either, preferring Miles Davis as well as other African-American artists. At this time his thoughts, according to Fela Kuti, were technical, that is, he was rather academic in his strivings for a unique music that was modem and deeply African at the same time.96 Fela Kutis statement speaks to the cultural exchanges that is a significant characteristic of colonialism.
95 Highlife is a form of jazz that originated in Ghana in the early-twentieth century. It eventually spread to Nigeria, and most other West African countries. A large horn section and multiple arpeggiated guitars characterize the music.
96 Justin Labinjoh, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti: Protest Music and Social Processes in Nigeria, Journal of Black Studies, Vol. 13, No. 1, (September, 1982), p. 124. Sage Publications, Inc. accessed March 14, 2013. http://www.istor.org/stable/2783979 .
Two important events happened to Fela Kuti in the late sixties that would shift his consciousness, and change his musical output. First, in 1968 African-American soul music reached Nigeria, and was readily accepted. The reception of African-American soul music not only undermined Felas music, but was also a reflection of the African colonial mentality where acceptance over the foreign product trumps the locally created one.97 Interest in Felas music continued to decline throughout the remainder of the sixties, which caused him to reevaluate his music, thus changing the name from highlife to Afrobeat.
The second life-changing event for Fela Kuti was an invitation to play in the United States at the end of 1969. During his prolonged visit to the United States, Fela was exposed to the Black Rebellion movement. According to Fela, The whole atmosphere of Black Revolution changed me, my consciousness, my thinking, my perception of things. I was educated.98 Felas eyes were now open to the contemporary and historical struggles of Black people all over the world. This was a struggle founded in slavery, reignited in colonialism, and continued in the present. Fela then met Sandra Isadore, a supporter of the Black Panther Party. Sandra Isadore had a profound effect on Fela, helping him to reshape his music, and educating him on the rhetoric of African-American political and cultural frontrunners such as Malcolm X, Stokley Carmicheal, Angela Davis, Fred Hampton, and Elijah Muhammad.
These Americans were outspoken about the injustices placed on Black people in America. They also brought the struggle of Africa to Americas attention. Fela returned to Nigeria to endure through some of the most profound moments of his life artistically, politically, and personally. Hundreds of years of African history, and the decades of Felas history are outlined in the songs Why Black Men Dey Suffer, and Zombie.
98 Ibid., p. 125.
Why Black Man Dey Suffer and Zombie
Why Blackman dey suffer today
Why Blackman no get money today
Why Blackman no go for moon today
This is the reason why (tell me now; tell me again)
We dey sit down for our landi jeje
We dey mind our business jeje
Some people come from far away land
Dem fight us and take our land
Dem take our people and spoil our towns
Na since then trouble starti o (hun, hun; one more time)
Our riches dem take away to their land
In return dem give us their colony
Dem take our culture away from us
Dem give us dem culture we no understand
Black people we no know ourselves
We no know our ancestral heritage
We dey fight each other everyday
Were never together; were never together at all
That is why Blackman dey suffer today
That is why Blackman dey suffer today
The song Why Black Man Dey Suffer was written by Fela Kuti after he returned to Africa from America, a new man with a full array of knowledge, ideas, and inspiration. The song was written in 1971, but refused release by British record company EMI stating that the lyrical content may have too personal and intimate an affect on listeners. The song was finally released in 1975 by French record label Barclay. The refusal of British label EMI to release the composition upon its completion demonstrates characteristics of the colonizer/colonized relationship.
The wording in Black Man Why Dey Suffer deals with two basic components regarding the enduring effects of British colonialism. The first element describes the process of colonization as a whole, and the precedent set by slavery. The second facet addresses the issue of loss identity caused by a depletion of traditional cultural association by indigenous
African people. It is important to note that Fela is addressing the entirety of Africa, not just the country of Nigeria. Author and professor Tejumola Olaniyan concludes, Perhaps it is understandable then that Fela strategically locates the origin of the African crisis in slavery and colonialism.99 Olaniyans statement is important to demonstrate that the foundation of Felas prose is rooted not only in colonialism but the negative effects of slavery as well. One of the opening lines states, Why Blackman no go for moon today.100 The verse is wondering why black men are not in a position to go to the moon. More directly, the text is questioning why no African nation has been involved with space exploration. Fela is attributing the stifling of African progress to decades of slavery and colonization. Fela then goes on to discuss how Africans were tranquilly minding their own business in their respective countries, as well as tending to their land and homes. People from far away lands disrupted African tranquility and self-sufficiency. Fela is obviously referring to British and European conquest, and the occupation of African property. The lyrics that follow state,
Dem fight us and take our land, Dem take our people and spoil our towns, Na since then trouble starti O.101 In this particular stanza of lyrics, Fela is listing the succession of events that constructs some of the foundations for colonizing. The first section signifies the resistance of African tribes to the colonial seizure. Without going into the detailed complexities of colonial resistance, Fela is merely showing that European authority was not warranted on the most fundamental level. In order for the people to be taken and the land ruined, Africans were first overcome. Fela concludes that since Europeans began the process of colonization, African troubles arose. The two subsequent lines are profound in illustrating
99 Tejumola Olaniyan, The Cosmopolitan Native, p. 76-89.
100 Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and the Africa 70, Black Man Why Dey Suffer, Why Black Man Dey Suffer, 1971, 1974 by Barclay Records, LP.
what Africans received in exchange for foreign occupation. Fela sings, Our riches dem take away to their land, In return dem give us their colony.102 This verse outlines one of the key motives behind colonization, the extracting and thieving of natural resources. In return for the handing over of African oil, precious stones, and precious metals, Africans merely received the process of subordination within a colony.
The succeeding lyrics describe the loss of culture and identity African nations maintained for centuries prior to colonial occupation. The lyrics then describe the residual effects that permeated thru decolonization and independence. Fela is displaying the loss of solidarity between African people, tribes, and countries. Fela Kuti surmises, Were never together, were never together at all.103 The artist is expressing the calamitous results of colonialism as a complete loss of cohesion amongst Africans as the catalyst for the African crisis at least up until the time the song was written in 1971.
In the mid-1970s the atmosphere in most African nations shifted from colonial independence to what is termed neo colonialism. Countries such as Nigeria agonized through intense military rule not unlike colonialism twenty years previous. Within this neocolonial state, Fela and his band Africa 70 created a weekly production aimed at attacking the current oppressive state of Nigeria through lyrics and music. The assembly is called Yabis.104 Yabis nights were concerts that Fela used to voice his sometimes satirical opinion about the local military faction. [T]he protracted military rule in Nigeria coupled with the large scale embezzlement and looting of the nations treasury, undermining democratic processes as well as the promotion of large scale violence among other things, by the nations
104 Yab is the pidgin English word for the noun Yabis. Yab is defined as making fun of a person, thing, or situation.
military junta, according to Professor Michael Olatunji, provided a new theme for Felas vocal music from the mid 1970s105 Felas contemptuous indictment of the military authority during his Yabis performances added to the growing list of grievances the government had toward him. Michael Olatunji outlined Nigerian Head of State, General Olusegan Obasanjos accusations against Fela as:
(i) his resignation as a member of the National Participation Committee on the Festival of the Black People tagged Festac 77, and consequently his refusal to participate in the whole festival.
(ii) the publication in the Young African Pioneer (YAP) news, where Fela condemned the barbaric introduction of soldiers with horsewhips to direct traffic on Nigerian roads.
(iii) the sea of clenched-fist Black Power salute that surround Fela wherever he went, and
(iv) his uncompromising view on the state of nature being experienced in Nigeria at that time. All these were expressed in the lyrics of songs such as Army Arrangemnt, Overthrow, Zombie, International Thief Thief, Authority Stealing, and so forth.106
Professor Olaniyans analysis is important because it demonstrates the state of neo-colonial Nigeria, while also outlining the type of authoritarian rule suffered by Africans during colonialism. The Nigerian neo-colonial government enacted in an act of terrorism on Felas Kalakuta compound, similar to authoritative acts of terror committed in Africa over the last five hundred years.
In 1977 Fela Kuti released the album and song entitled Zombie. The lyrics to the song are a scornful attack on the Nigerian military, using the word zombie to describe the militarys violent methods. The album not only applied to the neo-colonialism African countries were suffering through after gaining independence, but could be applied to the various stages of colonialism as well. The album enraged the neo-colonial administration so much, that they deployed over one thousand soldiers to Kalakuta Republic, Felas compound.
105 Michael Olatunji, Yabis: A Phenomenon in the Contemporary Nigerian Music, The Journal of Pan African Studies, Vol. 1, No. 9, (August, 2007), p. 26. accessed March 2013. www.jpanafrican.com/docs/vol 1 no9/Yabis.pdf.
106 Ibid. p. 41-42.
Fela was viciously attacked, and his mother Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, one of his main
sources of inspiration, was thrown out of a window to her death.
Zombie no go go, unless you tell am to go (Zombie)
Zombie no go stop, unless you tell am to stop (Zombie)
Zombie no go turn, unless you tell am to turn (Zombie)
Zombie no go think, unless you tell am to think (Zombie)
Tell am to go straight Ajoro, jara, joro No break, no job, no sense Ajoro, jara, joro Tell am to go kill Ajoro, jara, joro No break, no job, no sense Ajoro, jara, joro Tell am to go quench Ajoro, jara, joro No break, no job, no sense Ajoro, jara, joro
Go and kill! (Joro, jaro, joro)
Go and die! (Joro, jaro, joro)
Go and quench! (Joro, jaro, joro)
Put am for reverse! (Joro, jaro, joro)107
The lyrics describe a system of following orders to the detriment of others. If you tell the zombie to go and kill, they will at the behest of the administration. The lyrics describe the post-colonial civil war that is the result of unresolved problems in cultural identity, modernization, and colonization.
107 Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and the Africa 70, Zombie, Zombie, 1977 by Barclay Records, LP.
VICTOR JARA AND THE POWER OF NUEVA CANCION
"We should, with our song, dance, and poetry, confront the sinister campaign of terror that scares especially the simple people of the isolated neighborhoods...because that is our mission...We believe that social-artistic expression has as its mission to indicate the road to liberation for the pueblos. At the same time, we know that art elevates the spirit and sharpens intelligence...Viva Popular Unity and Salvador Allende."108
A representative of the leftist Popular Unity Party gave this striking proclamation at
the Festival de la Cancion de la UP in Chile, during the 1970 Chilean Elections. The
festival was one of many held by the musicians of Chiles Nueva Cancion Chilena, and the
Popular Unity movement. The occasions were political rallies in support of Popular
Unity president, Salvador Allendes reelection. Artists such as Victor Jara, Quilapayun,
Inti-Illimani, Angel Para, Isabel Parra, Daniel Viglietti, and Silvio Rodriguez used the
festivals, pledging their commitment and solidarity to use art and music as a means to
combat a political turn to right-winged dictatorship.
Victor Jaras 1971 album is entitled El Derecho de Viviren Paz (The Right to Live
in Peace). In many ways Jaras chosen title is symbolic of the struggles and tensions
found in jazz and afrobeat. The albums title is also an illustration of the personal social
action and fights for survival experienced by the purveyors of jazz, afrobeat, and Jaras
artistic approach, nueva cancion. The albums song titles that include, "El derecho de
vivir en paz," "A la Molina no voy mas (I wont go back to the mill)," and "Plegaria a un
labrador (Prayer to a laborer) are not only written for the working class of Chile, but
108 Folkoristas de la UP trabajan en Santiago, El Siglo, August 17, 1970. Quoted in Jedrek Mularski, Music, Politics, and Nationalism in Latin America: Chile During the Cold War (Amherst, New York: Cambria Press, 2014), 112.
the politically and socially disenfranchised globally. Victor Jaras wife Joan Jara, the
author and biographer of An Unfinished Song: The Life of Victor Jara, reestablishes the
impact of his life and music. Joan Jara recalls the song "El derecho de vivir en paz" by
stating it was "a title which emphasized his feelings about the situation we were living
in, although the actual song from which it came was dedicated to Ho Chi Minh and the
people of Vietnam and had been written while he was producing Vietrok.109 Victors
dedication to Vietnamese Communist Revolutionary Ho Chi Minh demonstrates his
political allegiance as well as the power and political application of his songs. Victor was
a sometime member and producer of the nueva cancion folk band Quilapayun.
Quilapayuns visionary song titled "Cancion del soldado (Song of the soldier)" cries,
"Soldier, dont shoot me, dont shoot me, soldier!
Who pinned those medals on your chest?
How many lives did they cost?
I know that your hand is trembling, dont kill me,
I am your brother.110
The artists words have a prophetic theme that discusses the military-backed violence that the right-winged led armed forces were to execute against the Chilean people. "Cancion del soldado" also reiterates the literature of scholars such as Albert Memmi and Frantz Fanon who dictated that the path to decolonization is through violent anticolonization. In the case of Victor Jara and his fight for Chile, an insurrection was imminent.
109 Joan Jara, An Unfinished Song: The Life of Victor Jara, (New York: Jonathan Cape, 1983), 156.
110 Quilapayun, Cancion del soldado, Quilapayun N3, 1969. Quoted in Joan Jara, An Unfinished Song: The Life of Victor Jara, (New York: Jonathan Cape, 1983), 118.
Many historians conclude that American imperialism began with the westward expansion of the United States. The Mexican-American War of 1846-1848 resulted in the annexation of Texas from Mexico. The Mexican and American governments additional negotiations following the war occasioned the enactment of the Treaty of Guadalupe de Hidalgo. Through this peace treaty, the United States was given vast territories that included Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. The American governments 1898 annexation of Hawaii is a classic example of American imperialism. In 1893, a group of American business men aided by the American minister to Hawaii engaged in a coup detat, overthrowing Queen Lydia Kamehameha Liliuokalani from the throne.111 Heavily armed U.S. soldiers backed the pineapple-growing businessmen. The Queen was imprisoned and the islands were seized. Additionally in 1898, the Philippines were ceded to the United States due to the Spanish defeat in the Spanish-American War. In 1902 the U.S. backed the Panamanian Revolt in Panamas attempt to gain separation from Columbia.112 Their success resulted in American control over the Panama Canal Project. The United States governments purchase of Alaska from the Russians is an exception to more aggressive forms of empire building, however, it is nevertheless an example of American-expansion ideology that was developing in the nineteenth century.
Americas fear of communist subversion from the period that included the 1950s through the 1970s resulted in anti-leftist activity in Latin America. Soviet Union and
111 Thomas J. Osborne, Empire Can Wait: American Opposition to Hawaiian Annexation, 1893-1898, (Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1981), xi-xv.
John Lindsay-Poland, Emperors in the Jungle: The Hidden History of the U.S. in Panama, (Durham NC: Duke University Press, 2003), 45.
American tension during the Cold War years propelled the U.S. into several Latin American-government overthrows, in what they felt were preventative measures to Soviet expansion. Americas military and political action brought about the 1954 Guatemalan Coup, the 1964 Brazilian Coup, the 1973 Chilean Coup, involvement in the 1979 El Salvadoran Civil War, and support of the Contra-rebels in Nicaragua during the 1980s. During the 1970s and 1980s, the U.S. also began shifting its focus towards corporations and the divergence of political election systems in various Latin American nations. Chiles problems during 1971 derived from United States-backed political, social, and economic disruption, and President Richard Nixon famously declaring to "make the economy scream.113 Nixons announcement signifies the magnitude of the opposition facing the Chilean working class before the 1973 coup. Nixons remark also demonstrates that in addition to the American governments internal colonization of African Americans, they also had their sights on imperialistic endeavors outside of the United States. The American government was active in offering military and political support to Latin American countries and governments they felt were at risk of communist subversion. Chile was one such country.
Marxist-Leninist and former Cuban leader Fidel Castros revolutionary-guerilla army toppled Fulgencio Batistas government on January 1,1959. Castros actions inspired the people of Chile to enact their own form of political and social change. [C]uba was an omnipresent reminder of what could transpire if Chile did not adequately address its class tensions," according to author Jedrek Mularski, "fueling
1 1 "5
United States Senate, Church Report, Quoted in Jedrek Mularski, Music, Politics,
and Nationalism in Latin America: Chile During the Cold War (Amherst, New York:
Cambria Press, 2014), 173.
diverse responses that ranged from intense fear to a desire for a more peaceful and democratic route to substantial transformations."114 Christian Democrat Eduardo Frei Montalva became Chiles new president from 1964 to 1970. Frei implemented changes during his administration that appealed to the poor-working class, but also wetted their appetite for more transformations at a faster rate. Although the political and social landscape of Chile was different than Castros Cuba, Chileans learned that widespread immediate change was possible.
During the first years of Eduardo Freis presidency, his government administered a campaign deemed Chileanization.115 This government program sought to redefine the national identity of Chilean people to represent its folk roots via cultural expression. The governments emphasis was on national unity over past class divisions.116 Music became a significant source of Chileanization similar to the national identity that the afrobeat music of Nigeria spawned, and the identity jazz provided for African Americans. Previously in 1943, a committee of scholars, musicians, and folklorists founded the Instituto de Investigaciones del Folklore Musical in cohesion with the Facultad de Bellas Artes of the Universidad de Chile to bring the true essence of Chilean identity to the people.117 These organizations were important because, since they were essentially middle-class associations, it demonstrated a push for a more inclusive cultural and social society, even before Freis administration. However, the
114 Jedrek Mularski, Music, Politics, and Nationalism in Latin America: Chile During the Cold War (Amherst, New York: Cambria Press, 2014), 2.
115 Ibid., 7.
117 Ibid., 8.
divide between the classes, especially the poor continued to be more than apparent,
leading artists to adopt the music of nueva cancion in the 1960s. Chilean Folklore singer
Violeta Parra, who is often credited for originating nueva cancion, sings
"The Chilotes all in black Inside more than out With their plate of hope And their blanket of sky Asking the mountain For their bitter rye bread,
At the mercy of the wind,
Im going Im going.118
Violeta Parra cries out for the working class of Chile, gently but powerfully expressing her unity. Unlike the later years of nueva cancion, Parras words seek a non-violent means to social change.119 She would prove to be one of Victor Jaras biggest influences second to his activism for the subjugated people of Chile.
Victor Jara was born in 1932 in Lonquen, Chile, a village near Santiago. Victor was the youngest, at the time of four children to his poor-peasant parents Manuel and Amanda. Victors father was an abusive drunk who normally left the family to the care of Victors mother Amanda. Victor and his family lived on the land and surrounding area of a wealthy family named Ruiz-Tagle.120 Victor existed within the divisions of class and socioeconomic disparity early on. When Victors older sister Maria, who assisted his mother in running the household, was hospitalized, his mother moved to Santiago with the rest of the children to earn a better living. Victors first guitar lessons were the
1 1 o
Violeta Parra, Segun el favor del viento.
119 Ibid., 42.
Joan Jara, An Unfinished Song: The Life of Victor Jara, (New York: Jonathan Cape, 1983), 24.
product of a neighbor in his new-urban upbringing. As a teenager in Theatre School approximately 1957, Victors relationship with an older woman landed him his first guitar. "The Chilean Communist Party was just coming out of hiding after being banned for almost a a decade by a law known as the 'Ley Matilda ('the Accursed Law). To the mass of working people who made up its membership and support," determines Joan Jara, "it had a heroic image.121 The momentum of nueva cancion commenced at the same time young Chileans began to adopt Communist leanings. Victor frequented the Cafe Sao Paulo in Calle Huerfanos in the center of Santiago where he was first exposed to the music, friendship, and influence of Violeta Parra.122 Victor had always been a talented and fast-learning performer and musician, prompting Violeta to encourage him to perform at the Cafe Sao Paulo. Although Victor would go on to have an illustrious and successful career as a dancer and playwright, it was his music that began at places such as Cafe Sao Paulo that made a political and social impact.
Penas, which are meeting places for musicians and artists in Spain or South American countries, became very popular in Chile during the 1960s. Violet Parras children, Angel and Isabel Parra, developed one of the most famous and important penas in Santiago. La Pena de los Parra was opened in 1965 and quickly evolved into a nightly packed room of musicians, intellectuals, journalists, and left-leaning members of the middle class.123 Chilean music transformed in the penas from folklore music to music with social and political commentary. The development of institutions such as La
121 Ibid., 41.
122 Ibid., 45.
Jedrek Mularski, Music, Politics, and Nationalism in Latin America: Chile During
the Cold War (Amherst, New York: Cambria Press, 2014), 45.
Pena de los Parra ignited the coalescing of progressive middle-class people with influential working class folk to exchange stories and ideas. "Moreover, this music both responded to and further encouraged the excitement that many Chileans felt about the reforms occurring around them," affirms author Jedrek Mularski, "and the notion that both country and region were experiencing a moment of exhilarating and positive change."124 Chileans social interactions in the penas combined with political progression of Chilean music set the stage for a shift in leadership. Chileans began opening penas at universities, in factories, and all over the rest of the country. The Communist and Socialist Parties, that included Victor Jara and most of his friends and associates, were priming for ascension with the help of shifting social spaces and cultural components.
Victor sang the song entitled, "El aim llena de banderas (Our hearts are full of
banners)" at the 1970 Second Festival of Chilean Song. Jara croons
"There, under the earth, are not asleep, brother, mate.
Your heart hears spring sprout who, like you, will the winds blowing.
There I buried facing the sun, the new land cover your seed, the deep root sink and flower born new day.
At your feet wounded arrive, the hands of the humble, come sowing.
Your death will bring many lives, and where you were going, march, singing.
Where the criminal is hiding
your name gives the rich many names.
That burned your wings to fly will not quench the fire of the poor.
Here brother, here on earth,
the soul fills us with flags
The song was written after the death of Miguel-Angel Aguilera, an eighteen-year-old man who was shot and killed at an anti-violence demonstration held to protest rightwinged aggression. By the 1970 election, Salvador Allende supporters could sing the words, propelling the song to be the hymn of Popular Unity.126
Salvador Allende and the Popular Unity party won the 1970 election, toppling the conservative administration of Eduardo Frei Montalva, by utilizing nueva cancion as a significant mobilizing political tool.
"Why so many names? Lets stick with one: "popular song." Popular because the fundamental objective of its existence is to interpret the pueblo, the working class in its group, narrating its individual and collective histories that the official history has ignored and ignored. A song is politically committed when the work and the action of the creator identify themselves with popular sentiments. It is revolutionary because it fights against the penetration of cultural imperialism and looks to rescue and revitalize the cultural values that are our own and that give us an identity as a country. And it is new because submerged in the environment of these values, there is also destiny to create a new society where music is removed from commerce and realizes, in the form and content, the most noble modifications of the human family."127
1 9 S
Victor Jara, El aim llena de banderas, ElDerecho de Vivir en Paz. La Discoteca del Cantar Popular, 1970.
126 Joan Jara, An Unfinished Song: The Life of Victor Jara, (New York: Jonathan Cape, 1983), 145.
Una cancion vale mas que diez discursos, archive, Fundacion Victor Jara, Santiago. Quoted in Jedrek Mularski, Music, Politics, and Nationalism in Latin America: Chile During the Cold War (Amherst, New York: Cambria Press, 2014), 182-183.
Victor gave this interview in 1972 after being asked a question concerning the amalgamation of nueva cancion and the current Chilean political system. Jaras answer demonstrates the fundamental reason why certain types of music and art are often banned from various societies. When music is applied to certain theoretical components of social and cultural history, such as imperialism, colonization, or politics, it transcends from merely an artistic vehicle, into being a source of global transformation. This transformation can instigate fear and retaliation.
Salvador Allendes government and the nueva cancion movement used the political victory to initiate Chilean socialist doctrine through a program of global peace and unity. In 1972 Chilean nueva cancion artists assisted in creating the Encuentro de Musica Latinoamerican in Havana, Cuba, with other Latin American artists to decide the trajectory Latin American music, and its application to social, cultural, and political premises.128 This seminar was successful in creating a cohesion between progressivethinking musicians and intellectuals who were interested in improving the lives of Latin Americans through cultural, social, and political causes. Participants signed a document and mission statement.129 Artists and musicians felt that a binding agreement cemented their global causes. "Those who signed the document pledged their dedication to the promotion of music that would," according to Mularskis research, "remove the penetration of imperialism and colonization" through collaborative tours, exchanges,
Jedrek Mularski, Music, Politics, and Nationalism in Latin America: Chile During
the Cold War (Amherst, New York: Cambria Press, 2014), 188.
129 Ibid., 188-189.
festivals, concerts, recordings, classes, and scholarships."130 In theory proper measures were being put in place to create a more harmonious existence for Latin Americans. The musicians of nueva cancion, Victor Jara especially, began touring all over Europe.
Similar to American Jazz musicians in the fifties, Jara and other Popular Unity supporting artists toured communist countries, such as Czechoslovakia, East Germany, and the Soviet Union receiving support and praise.
Victor created the song entitled, "Vientos del pueblo (Winds of the people)" singing,
"Again they want to stain my land with workers blood those who speak of freedom and they have black hands.
Those who want to divide the mother of his children and they want to rebuild the cross that Christ dragged.
They want to hide the infamy bequeathed centuries, but the color of murderers not deleted from your face.
They were already thousands those who gave their blood and generous flow They multiplied the loaves.
Now I want to live
with my son and my brother
we are building daily.
I'm not afraid threat,
Cuba: declaracion del encuentro de musica latinoamericana, El Siglo, November
patterns of poverty,
Star of Hope will remain ours.
Winds of people call me,
Winds of people take me,
I spread the heart and I winnowed throat.
So sing the poet while the soul sound me the roads of the village now and forever."131
Victors lyrics speak of the political and social turmoil that would ultimately lead to the Chilean Coup of 1973. The Chilean conservative right-wing faction of society used the media and assistance from the United States to create havoc during Allendes presidential term. The United States feared Chiles Marxist regime and wielded diplomatic, economic, and covert military tension on Allendes socialist government. Joan Jara discusses Chiles newspaper when commenting, "El Mercurio, for example received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the CIA to maintain its propaganda campaign against Allendes government.132 The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was instrumental in establishing sabotage and upheavals in many Latin American countries to combat communist subversion. A covert conspiracy had been enacted in order to overthrow Allende and anyone else deemed a political threat. CIA-backed Latin American agents began a violent unofficial seizing of property, factories, and farmland
Victor Jara, Vientos del pueblo, 1973. Quoted in Joan Jara, An Unfinished Song: The Life of Victor Jara, (New York: Jonathan Cape, 1983), 215-216.
Joan Jara, An Unfinished Song: The Life of Victor Jara, (New York: Jonathan Cape, 1983), 170.
in Chile at the onset of Allendes govern.133 This extent of CIA-supported agitation and violence spilled out into the streets of Chile. On September 11,1973, Allendes appointed military chief Augusto Pinochet executed a coup detat and overthrew Allendes civilian led government. Allende was thought to have committed suicide upon the capture of La Moneda Palace, his followers believe he was murdered.
Joan Jara stated that "Manifesto" was Victors testament.134 Victor Jaras final song states,
"I dont sing for love of singing, or because I have a good voice.
I sing because my guitar has both feeling and reason.
It has heart of earth and the wings of a dove,
It is like holy water, blessing joy and grief.
My song has found a purpose as Violeta would say.
Hardworking guitar, with a smell of spring.
My guitar is not for the rich no, nothing like that.
My song is of the ladder
we are building to reach the stars.
For a song has meaning when it beats in the veins of a man who will die singing, truthfully singing his song.
My song is not for fleeting praise nor to gain foreign fame, it is for this narrow country to the very depths of the earth.
1 "3 "3
Jedrek Mularski, Music, Politics, and Nationalism in Latin America: Chile During the Cold War (Amherst, New York: Cambria Press, 2014), 174.
134 Joan Jara, An Unfinished Song: The Life of Victor Jara, (New York: Jonathan Cape, 1983), 225.
There, where everything comes to rest and where everything begins, song which has been brave song will be forever new."135
Victor Jara, the revolutionary activist, actor, playwright, singer, and communist-party member was tortured and murdered after his capture during the Chilean Coup of 1973. Victors music and politics had reached its final moment.
Victor Jara, Manifesto, 1973. Quoted in Joan Jara, An Unfinished Song: The Life of Victor Jara, (New York: Jonathan Cape, 1983), 225-226.
CHAPTER VI CONCLUSION
The purpose of my research is to demonstrate and verify the idea that music is a political event that delineates history because of its influence over themes such as colonization, imperialism, and the processes of anti-colonization. In the process, historical agency is given to otherwise subjugated peoples. My use of culturally polarizing figures such as Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Victor Jara, and the various musicians who comprise the American jazz movement, is essential in order to position theoretical components to something physical. The governments of countries that include the United States, Nigeria, and Chile, have situated musical output into their historical and cultural narratives. In the case of the United States, jazz was used as a political tool during the Cold War to enhance their global perception as being culturally and socially advance, and as a defense to the communist threat of the Soviet Union. Jazz musicians such as Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington employed their status as American cultural ambassadors to demarcate the system of internal colonialism they were experiencing at the hands of their government. In Nigeria, artist and activist Fela Kuti employed his music as a apparatus to discuss the processes of colonialism, post colonialism, and anti-colonialism. Kutis music was developed during a time when people of African descent, globally, were attempting to enhance their political, social, and economic status through intense activism and political action. Victor Jara and the musicians of the nueva cancion movement applied music filled with social and political commentary to assist political elections, spread socialist doctrine, and improve the living conditions of all Latin American people.
The theoretical element of my research examines prominent authors and scholars within the studies of Colonialism, African Diaspora, Imperialism, and comparisons of music and political ideology. Albert Memmi and Frantz Fanon open the dialogue of colonialism by addressing the violent and oppressive nature of colonialism, and the subsequent shifst to decolonization. The episodes of violence and oppression are evident throughout my body of work. Author Paul Gilroy examines the theory of "double-consciousness" that many colonized and subjugated people experience while attempting to navigate two variable social and/or political constructs. Professors Darlene Clark Hine and Jacqueline McLeod, as well as Ruth Sims Hamilton, buttress Gilroys examinations by discussing the transferences of culture as a result of diasporic communities. These professors investigate social formations as a result of people being displace globally. I observe the topic of American Imperialism to give academic validity to the area of South America. Authors Greg Grandin and and Jedrek Mularski are instrumental in providing analysis in regards to the United Statess imperialistic endeavors.
The overarching foundation of this research is music. The lives and musical output of African musician Fela-Anikulapo Kuti and South American singer Victor Jara are the significant elements due to their direct activism for social and political change that can be studied in their lyrics. However, it is important to include the American jazz since it is considered to be the symbolism of life in America for black people. African Americans in the years after slavery, suffered through a system of internal colonization, comparable to the European colonialism Kutis predecessors suffered in Africa, and the
poor-peasant life and violence endured by South Americans. In the end, music becomes the soundscape that defines history, and politics.
Scholars can continue to research these and other topics involving the political application of cultural mechanisms. Researchers can examine European forms of music such as the European Avant-Garde, or Englands Punk Rock Movement to see how they would apply in regards to delineating dominated and disenfranchised groups.
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