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Sound of Africa!: Mediating Difference in a South African Music Studio

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Sound of Africa!: Mediating Difference in a South African Music Studio Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Boosting the bass guitar, blending the vocals, overdubbing percussion while fretting over shoot-outs in the street. Grumbling about a producer, teasing a white engineer, challenging an artist to feel his African beat. Sound of Africa! is a riveting account of the production of a mbaqanga album in a state-of-the-art recording studio in Johannesburg. Made popular internationally by Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens, mbaqanga's distinctive style features a bass solo voice and soaring harmonies of a female frontline over electric guitar, bass, keyboard, and drumset. Louise Meintjes chronicles the recording and mixing of an album by Izintombi Zesimanje, historically the rival group of the Mahotella Queens. Set in the early 1990s during South Africaandrsquo;s tumultuous transition from apartheid to democratic rule, Sound of Africa! offers a rare portrait of the music recording process. It tracks the nuanced interplay among South African state controls, the music industry's transnational drive, and the mbaqanga artists' struggles for political, professional, and personal voice.

Focusing on the ways artists, producers, and sound engineers collaborate in the studio control room, Meintjes reveals not only how particular mbaqanga sounds are shaped technically, but also how egos and artistic sensibilities and race and ethnicity influence the mix. She analyzes how the turbulent identity politics surrounding Zulu ethnic nationalism impacted mbaqanga artists' decisions in and out of the studio. Conversely, she explores how the global consumption of Afropop and African images fed back into mbaqanga during the recording process. Meintjes is especially attentive to the ways the emotive qualities of timbre (sound quality or tone color) forge complex connections between aesthetic practices and political ideology. Vivid photos by the internationally renowned photographer TJ Lemon further dramatize Meintjesandrsquo; ethnography.

Synopsis:

An ethnography of the recording of Mbaqanga music, that examines its relation to issues of identity, South African politics, and global political economy.

Synopsis:

Focusing on the ways artists, producers, and sound engineers collaborate in the studio control room, Meintjes reveals not only how particular mbaqanga sounds are shaped technically, but also how egos and artistic sensibilities and race and ethnicity influence the mix. She analyzes how the turbulent identity politics surrounding Zulu ethnic nationalism impacted mbaqanga artists' decisions in and out of the studio. Conversely, she explores how the global consumption of Afropop and African images fed back into mbaqanga during the recording process. Meintjes is especially attentive to the ways the emotive qualities of timbre (sound quality or tone color) forge complex connections between aesthetic practices and political ideology. Vivid photos by the internationally renowned photographer TJ Lemon further dramatize Meintjes' ethnography.

About the Author

"What fun it was reading Louise Meintjes’s Sound of Africa! It’s an amazing work, almost magical at moments. I know of no other account in print of life in a sound studio. That Meintjes also takes on contemporary South Africa, questions of ethnic and national identity, and world culture and provides an entree into current ethnomusicological thinking is all the more remarkable."—John F. Szwed, author of Space Is the Place: The Lives and Times of Sun Ra
”Louise Meintjes's Sound of Africa! is a very in-depth but philosophical look at how the common thread of music brings African traditions and culture and modern western technology together across the stormy backdrop of South African politics.”—John Lindemann, recording engineer, Big Ears Music c.c., South Africa
”Well researched and unbiased, Sound of Africa! is an authentic account of three decades of South African music—live and in the studio. It stands as a testimony to the changing struggles and constant inventiveness of South Africa's producers, musicians, and engineers who worked in the music industry during apartheid.”—Koloi Lebona, record producer and Zomba label manager, South Africa
“Sound of Africa!, the first serious study of musicmaking in an African recording studio, is a pathbreaking contribution to the scholarly literature on popular music. Louise Meintjes's research demonstrates, in the most specific terms, that the 'production' of popular music is a complex, multistranded process, penetrated by economic and aesthetic considerations, identity politics writ large and small, and the global traffic in cultural forms and technologies.”—Christopher Waterman, author of Juju: A Social History and Ethnography of an African Popular Music

Product Details

ISBN:
9780822330141
Author:
Meintjes, Louise
Publisher:
Duke University Press
Author:
Meintjes
Location:
Durham
Subject:
Popular
Subject:
Popular music
Subject:
Sound recording industry
Subject:
Genres & Styles - Pop Vocal
Subject:
Popular music - South Africa - Social aspects
Subject:
Sound recording industry - South Africa
Subject:
Music-Popular Performers
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Series Volume:
1332
Publication Date:
20030231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
31 illus., incl. 9 in color
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.13 in

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Music » African
Arts and Entertainment » Music » Ethnomusicology
Arts and Entertainment » Music » Genres and Styles » Pop Vocal

Sound of Africa!: Mediating Difference in a South African Music Studio New Trade Paper
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$25.95 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Duke University Press - English 9780822330141 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
An ethnography of the recording of Mbaqanga music, that examines its relation to issues of identity, South African politics, and global political economy.
"Synopsis" by , Focusing on the ways artists, producers, and sound engineers collaborate in the studio control room, Meintjes reveals not only how particular mbaqanga sounds are shaped technically, but also how egos and artistic sensibilities and race and ethnicity influence the mix. She analyzes how the turbulent identity politics surrounding Zulu ethnic nationalism impacted mbaqanga artists' decisions in and out of the studio. Conversely, she explores how the global consumption of Afropop and African images fed back into mbaqanga during the recording process. Meintjes is especially attentive to the ways the emotive qualities of timbre (sound quality or tone color) forge complex connections between aesthetic practices and political ideology. Vivid photos by the internationally renowned photographer TJ Lemon further dramatize Meintjes' ethnography.
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