5 Matching Annotations
  1. Jun 2023
    1. My attempt to answer the question “What is mbaqanga?” in terms ofits musical influences is that it is a vocal and instrumental genre of music that emerged in the early 1960s from a fusion between kwela, marabi, isicathamiya and jazz coupled with indigenous and traditional melodies of the Zulu-speaking people of South Africa. My attempt to answer the question “What is mbaqanga?” as it relates tomusical performance is that it is a vibrant, punchy genre of music where the drum set, bass guitar and electric guitar or electric organ are the primary instruments. A basic description of a mbaqangasong is where the drum set plays a kick drum and snare drum (rim) on all four beats while the hi-hats play up-beats or in an eighth-note division. The electric bass plays the root on the first beat of the bar while interjecting small melodic phrases within the harmonic rhythm. The electric guitar or electric organ plays the main melodic and cyclical phrase that the song will be based on. The basic harmonic rhythm has a chord changing at four beat intervals and the chord structure is based on a I-IV-V-I chord progression.
    2. Contextualizing and Defining Mbaqanga and Ghoema
    1. Like that of itsantecedents, the harmonic base of mbaqanga is the cyclical repetition of four primary chords. Shortmelodies, usually the length of the harmonic cycle, are repeated and alternated with slight variations, andcall-and-response generally occurs between solo and chorus parts. The characteristics that differentiatembaqanga from previous styles are a driving, straight beat, rather than swung rhythms; melodicindependence between instrumental parts, the bass and lead guitars providing particularly strongcontrapuntal lines; and electric rather than acoustic guitars and bass guitar
    2. Mbaqanga
    1. From the fusion of marabi music and the American element ofswing, developed a style sometimes referred to as “African Jazz”, a term which Ballantineuses interchangeably with “mbaqanga” (Ballantine, 1993:6; Ballantine 2012:7). However,there is some discrepancy about the interchangeable use of these terms. Authors, such asAllen (1993: 26) and Thorpe (2018:36), distinguishes between the two terms, mentioning thatthe former developed before the latter as a description of a style of music that contain elementsof both African music and jazz. According to Allen, mbaqanga was also used to describe acompletely different musical style, which became popular during the 60s, and therefore Allenprefers the term “African jazz” to avoid confusion. She states, however:The most popular and long-lasting name for this style (African jazz), however, wasmbaqanga, which is Zulu for the maize bread which constitutes the staple diet of themajority of South Africans. (Allen 1993:26, 27).Thorpe mentions, the name developed as an expression of “an independent and valuableblack South African urban identity” (Thorpe, 2018:36; Allen, 1993:26, 27). Since marabi wasalready waning in popularity and performance, this new style acted almost as a “regenerationof marabi” (Ballantine 1993:61). Ballantine, similarly, describes the ideological importance ofthis style:The explicit and conscious acceptance of aspects of a social and political philosophy – inthis case New Africanism – into the very constitution of music, was a turning-point in thehistory of black South African jazz (Ballantine 1993:62)