Audible Africanity: Ululation in Popular Music

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Event Date: 
October 18, 2019 - 5:00pm
Music Building Auditorium
1114 W. Nevada Street, Urbana

Please join us on October 18 at 5 pm in the Music Building auditorium for a colloquium presentation by ethnomusicologist Louise Meintjes (Duke U).

Audible Africanity: Ululation in Popular Music

Ululation, women’s exclamatory trilling, is a sound of the global South. I listen in to its lively inclusion in popular recordings from South Africa and beyond to ask what kind of Africanity it projects and to whom this audibility is directed. Audible Africanity produced in relation to elsewhere (and elsewhere’s ideas about history) of course returns home. I will use ethnography about Zulu ngoma production to demonstrate its reverberant reclamation.

Louise Meintjes is Associate Professor of Music and Cultural Anthropology at Duke University. Her most recent book, Dust of the Zulu: Ngoma Aesthetics after Apartheid, explores political and aesthetic significance of ngoma, a competitive form of dance and music that emerged out of the legacies of colonialism and apartheid in South Africa. She is also the author of Sound of Africa! Making Music Zulu in a South African Studio, a book which offers a rare portrait of the music recording process during South Africa’s tumultuous transition from apartheid to democratic rule.

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