For Your Daily Dose of MbA

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"Culture is the heritage of us all. some may be more interested than others in the treasures of the past, but no one can fail to take a pride in his country's participation in the story of mankind, as represented in carvings, sculpture, music, paintings and the other arts. And there is a personal commitment to this, for no man can really say he is alone: we are all joined through our identity, with the cultures which are part of the mainstream of life"
- Simon Kapwepwe, Zambian Independence Freedom Fighter

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm" - Winston Churchill

"Try to be the rainbow in someone else's cloud" - Maya Angelou

"Your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinion drown out your inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition" - Steve Jobs

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Music With A Message

I have been noticing that there are quite a lot of songs emanating from the very soul of the African continent and the diaspora with an empowering or moral tone to them.  When I think about songs with a mission I think of the sixties and seventies when John Lennon asked the world to "give peace a chance" and Marvin Gaye asked "what's going on?" Those questions can still be asked today, but I don't really hear them being asked with the passion that was done in those days in the musical realm.

Here are a few songs I have come across in the last couple of months that are asking questions of us and/ or hope to inspire us:

Shedding light on Diabetes:

Abuse and empowerment:




Do these songs have as much of an impact today as they did then?  The last song I can really think of that had any kind of impact was Hugh Masekela's "Bring Back Nelson Mandela" in the 80s. Are we so jaded now that songs can no longer stir us into action, providing the soundtrack to change?  Does music no longer have political and/ or social clout? Or have we not found a way to expose these songs in the 21st Century digital world we live in, where everything is accessible but access is thwarted by the way our lives are constantly being fragmented into tiny pieces that it is hard to see the links sometimes? A lot to ponder, hmmmmmmm..........


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  2. I'm a Reggae Lover and there have been a number of great new and old artists tackling important issues of late. This is definitely a respite from the Sean Paul Dacehall days of the early part of the last decade. I love the Mr. Vegas' song and video. Nothing touches a parent than to see their child emulating their negative behavior. Also check out other artists such as Morgan Heritage, Queen Ifrica, Itana, Duane Stephenson, Tarrus Riley to start :). For many people across Caribbean, music still has political and social clout. Especially since their is a genre--calypso (mostly in the eastern Caribbean)--for that. For every good sexually charged Soca rhythm, there is another great social commentary from a Calypso musician. Great Post!

  3. I just love FreshlyGround and Marsha!

    It was great to see Waje as well, i've always wondered why there is such disparity in the numbers of male and female artists in much of Africa (not respectable!?)

    Off topic. I wanted to get in touch with you regarding a project i'm doing. Please email me .

  4. @Diane, thanks for the heads up on other Carribean artists :)

    @Mwanabibi I agree, there is a disparity between male and female artists on the continent in the pop music genre (in world music as the grammies like to refer to more traditional fare we represent well I think) both in terms of numbers and quality. I keep seeing a lot of girl groups with really watery music and to make it worse trying to be sexy unsuccessfully in the videos which is very un-african. Our music is full of flavour and our dancing is sensual while maintaining respectability. Sending you an email to hear about the project :)