The Field Band Foundation
(FBF) is a South African national nonprofit organization that has reached more
than 40,000 youth since its inception in 1997. Modeled initially on the
American-style marching band, the FBF’s performance style, choreography,
rehearsal techniques, and uniforms draw on local traditions and practices
resulting in a uniquely South African musical phenomenon.
As local musicking, FBF rehearsals support the locally defined values of discipline and empathy. The distinctions that FBF members and leaders make between local or global processes or qualities are discernible in the military associations and echoes of local cultural expressions manifested in rehearsal management techniques, uniforms, and choreography. The localizations of musical processes and products and the meanings and values to which these link contribute to the achievement to the FBF’s goals, which the organization aims to articulate in terms of local values.
This according to “Rehearsing values: Processes of
distinction in the Field Band Foundation of South Africa” by Laryssa
Whittaker, an essay included in The Routledge companion to the study of
local musicking (New York: Routledge, 2018, pp. 251–63).
Above and below, FBF groups in action.
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In the mid-1990s South African apartheid ended, and the country’s urban black youth developed kwaito—a form of dance music (redolent of North American house) that came to represent the post-struggle generation. Kwaito developed alongside the democratization of South Africa, a powerful cultural phenomenon that paradoxically engages South Africa’s crucial social and political problems by, in fact, seeming to ignore them.
Politicians and cultural critics criticize kwaito for failing to provide any meaningful contribution to a society that desperately needs direction, but these criticisms are built on problematic assumptions about the political function of music. Artists and fans aren’t escaping their social condition through kwaito, but are using it to expand their sensory realities and generate new possibilities. Resisting the truism that music is always political, kwaito thrives on its radically ambiguous relationship with politics, power, and the state.
This according to Kwaito’s promise: Music and the aesthetics of freedom in South Africa by Gavin Steingo (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016).
The Directory of South African Music Collections collates information on special music collections in South Africa in order to stimulate music research on South African materials in South Africa and internationally. In an effort to cover the widest possible spectrum in music research, the directory provides the location and status of documents and collections.
Although only a number of national, provincial and tertiary institutions are currently represented in the directory, the aim is to expand it by including further institutions in the aforementioned categories and private collections.
Above, Stellenbosch University Library, the host institution of this free online database, viewed from the rooiplein. Below, a work by the South African composer Hubert du Plessis, who taught at Stellenbosch University.
Launched in 2011 by the School of Dance at the University of Cape Town, South African dance journal examines past, present, and future perspectives on dance, and aims to create a space for established and emerging dance academic voices in South Africa, Africa, and the international community.
The journal is peer-reviewed, and its preferred language is English; however, contributions in indigenous South African languages will be accommodated at the discretion of the editors, who are also cognizant of the many forms English assumes on this continent, and who endeavor to give them a voice.
Created by Daniel Gritzer in 2000, Southern African & Zimbabwean music connection provides annotated and unannotated bibliographic listings for writings on music from Angola, Botswana, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, as well as links to Internet resources for most of these countries.
This post is part of our series of celebrating Black History Month. Throughout February we will be posting about resources and landmark writings in black studies. Click here or on the Black studies category on the right to see a continuously updated page of links to all of our posts in this category.
Established by Flat International in September 2010, South African audio archive is a not-for-profit visualarchive of rare and sometimes unusual South African audio documents. The project aims to provide a resource for those researching South African audio history.
The database is searchable by artist, label, company, and genre, and the website includes a bibliography and a chronology of sound recording in South Africa. High-quality reproductions of album covers or record labels are provided for each entry, along with full discographic notes and annotations.
This post is part of our series celebrating Black History Month. Throughout February we will be posting about resources and landmark writings in black studies. Click here or on the Black studies category on the right to see a continuously updated page of links to all of our posts in this category.
Near the end of his visit to Rome in 1933, the Hindustani vocalist Omkarnath Thakur (1887–1968) received an invitation to dine with Mussolini; Il Duce had caught wind of Thakur’s theories and experiments regarding the inducement of emotional states by … Continue reading →
Musicforcats.com presents music by David Teie that is based on feline vocal communication and environmental sounds that pique the interest of cats, written in a musical language that is uniquely designed to appeal to the domestic cat. The pieces … Continue reading →
Debussy first heard Javanese gamelan music from a relatively small group at the 1889 Paris Exposition Universelle; he finally heard a full ensemble at the 1900 Exposition. While he generally disapproved of the Orientalism of earlier Romantic-era composers, he found … Continue reading →
The first piano ever to be carried on a passenger aircraft was created by the Julius Blüthner Pianofortefabrik for the ill-fated Hindenburg airship. The lightweight aluminum alloy grand piano weighed only 162 kg (356 lbs). The frame, rim, fallboard, and … Continue reading →