1.0 INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
In Zimbabwe music has always held a special place among the people. Zimbabwean music is always intertwined with the country’s political history. During the war of liberation, Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) launched its own private radio station called Voice of Zimbabwe, which broadcasted from Maputo, Mozambique. The party’s choirs used to sing militant songs, which were, broadcasted on the station as a moral-booster for the guerilla fighters and their peasant supporters. Music became part of the liberation war strategy2. Even after independence in 1980 many of the choirs continued to sing and record many political songs like Zvinozibwa ne Zanu and Taireva by the ZANU Choir.
Other musicians of the liberation struggle era include the likes of Thomas Mapfumo whose fame rose around 1967. Mapfumo blended traditional Shona mbira music with Western instruments and a political message with traditional metaphors. During the 1960s he used to sing very militant political songs, which were very popular among the people fighting for independence. According to Turino (2000:174), -..Some of the music was used to generate an emotional force which nationalism required-. This formed the basis for nationalist discourse.
When a musical fad called urban grooves hit the Zimbabwean market following the introduction of the 75 percent local policy on broadcasting in 2001, a number of critics whined and sentenced them to death. They were accused of being copycats of American musicians especially hip hop musicians. Though they use indigenous languages in their music, they are still branded as being unoriginal. Many urban grooves musicians have produced soul-lifting and enjoyable music which is popular among the youth . The youth of today have a burning passion for a career in music, especially when they see musicians of their age gracing important occasions and childhood friends making headlines for their stage perfomances and celebrity lifestyles. This has led many to try their luck in the music business when they realize the attention their peers attract in the streets and wish they could be the toast of their fans3. However in some cases passion has taken precedence over talent because some of them are pushed by the desire to be heard and seen when they lack talent and seriousness. In the end, they end up imitating American musicians in order to gain recognition. (The Herald: 15 feb 2004)
However urban grooves is not a Zimbabwean phenomenon. From Zimbabwe to Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania, the urban contemporary music is now the in-thing and the most talked about genre with most of it being played on African radio stations. One can now enjoy music sung in isiNdebele, KiSwahili or Bemba even if these are foreign languages.(The Herald :7 feb 2004) .In urban grooves music, local beats are fused with R&B, soul, soul, reggae and hip-hop to come out with a different blend. This new wave seems to have a contagious effect and is still spreading all over Africa. In Tanzania it is known as Bongo Flavour. (The Herald 7 Feb 2004). When the government of Zimbabwe introduced the seventy-five percent local content, the aim was to produce something which is African and home-grown. While urban grooves music is home-grown, yet effects of globalization on their music take center stage with some claiming that they lack Zimbabwean identity. With the rise of the urban grooves music genre, some traditional recording companies were not keen to sign them because they lacked experience in music production, hence the poor quality of their music. (The Sunday Mail:8 May 2004) In 2001 Elliot Manyika, the then Minister of Youth, Development and Employment Creation recorded an album Mwana wevhu (Son of the Soil) with the praise song Nora that praised President Robert Mugabe. The government started releasing a series of campaign jingles like, -Chave Chimurenga, Ramba Wakashinga, and Sendekera mwana wevhu- among others, but all meant to promote government policies.
In replacing the -banned’ songs with its own commissioned music, the government wanted to kill two birds with one stone, that is killing protest music and making sure the rebellious musicians’ music is not bought thereby forcing them into submission.This caused many ordinary people to shun national radio and television with attention swayed to international music using satellites especially in urban areas. Some people felt there was too much propaganda in national broadcasting content5. In 2005, an international website promoting the rights of musicians had this to say on the broadcasting content policy of the government:
-Zimbabwe, suffering under sanctions, shut out from the international community, responding to its own deep resonance of its own sounds, seeing plots and conspiracies all around it-.hence the need of -feel good art’ in which state radio and television are replete with propaganda jingles- ( “>http://www.freemuse.org:sep> 2005)
What was emphasized during this period was liberation struggle nationalist culture.
In 2001, the Minister of Information and Publicity had announced that it was now compulsory for all radio and television stations to allocate a staggering seventy-five percent of all programming to local productions 6.The government banned international songs on Power FM, as it introduced the one hundred percent local content on the radio station. The government hid under the banner of -reAfricanisation’ and -culture’. The Chronicle (15 Sep 2005) reported that the one hundred percent local content was later reduced to seventy-five percent on Power FM in September 2005. Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings Corporate Secretary, Jennifer Tanyanyiwa confirmed the changes and said :
– Ever since its launch in January 2004, Power FM has successfully promoted the growth of the local music industry by supporting local urban grooves produced by Zimbabwean youths and the time has now come to encourage the cross-fertilization of various types of music- (The Chronicle:15 sep 2005) However this had seen the emergence of a new genre of music called the urban grooves. It was the one hundred percent local content policy, which saw the emergency of urban grooves musicians like Rocqui (now Roki), Decibel and Leonard Mapfumo.
The local content policy was received with mixed feelings by different sections of the media and varied reactions. Zimbabwean journalist Luke Tamborinyoka in Masara (2005:5) said: -While it is true that localizing the content of our media comes witH great challenges, it enables us to realize our potential, unleashing spin-offs in the creation of locally produced films and music production houses..- (Masara2005:5)
However others like this anonymous listener criticized the poor quality of the music and said this in Independent Xtra :
-One can not impose music filled with mediocrity such as the so-called urban grooves on our radios, though some artists in this genre seem to have direction..- (The independent Xtra:6 Jan 2006)
As the pop teen station Power FM was tasked with catering for the youngsters’ music, the genre grew. These were youngsters who were used to listening to gangster and sexually explicit songs coming in various genres such as hip -hop, reggae, and Rhythm and Blues (R’n'B). The songs of urban grooves musicians is mainly sung in vernacular languages like Shona and Ndebele which gives it a local feel though there are traces of popular international songs. Traditional record companies like Gramma had originally rejected the songs as not original and commercially viable.7
The music continued to be a hit among the youth in urban areas though adult listeners received it with a punch of salt. Thus how urban grooves music was born.
There are other genres of music in Zimbabwe like sungura / museve, traditional mbira music,jiti , and jazz among others. Most of the sungura artists like Alick Macheso deal with social issues like infidelity in marriage, love and working hard in life in order to achieve the cravings of your heart. In Zimbabwe, generally there is this policy of trying to de-westernize the mainstream media and communication systems through various measures, including restrictions on international content in the broadcasting media, monopolization of the airwaves and a general reorientation of the country’s cultural policies.8
I.2 SEVENTY-FIVE PERCENT LOCAL CONTENT POLICY
The government of Zimbabwe has tried to minimize the effects of globalization by through enacting a number of legislations like the Broadcasting Services Act (2001) and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA). The legislation on local content policy was passed on April 4, 2001. In the same year outside global interference was evident in Zimbabwe. It was the same time, that the West especially Britain and the United States of America began a demonizing campaign against the government of Zimbabwe due to the land reform programme calling for regime change. The Broadcasting Services Act (2001) stated that:
Every week during the performance period a radio broadcasting licensee shall ensure that within six months of this Act coming into effect, (in the case of a person lawfully providing a radio broadcasting service immediately before that date) or immediately upon the issue of a licence or within such longer period as the Authority may determine, at least- (a) 75 per centum of the music broadcast consists of Zimbabwean music (b) 10 per centum of the music broadcast consists of music from Africa. Subscription radio broadcasting licensees A subscription radio-broadcasting licensee shall ensure that, in every week of the year- (a) at least 30 per centum of the music broadcast during the performance period consists of Zimbabwean music; and (b) at least 10 per centum of the music broadcast consists of music from Africa; and (c) where a portion of a subscription radio broadcasting service is unencoded, then for the duration of that unencoded portion, at least 75 per cent of the um music broadcast is Zimbabwean music and at least 10 per centum of the music broadcast is music from Africa. Minister may prescribe other content conditions (a) after notice to the licensee concerned, prescribe other local content conditions; (b) prescribe any longer period for the purposes of subparagraph (1) of paragraph 2 or paragraph 5. (www.kubatana.org)
According to The Standard ( 28 march 2004), -the Minister of Information and Publicity, Jonathan Moyo declared that only musicians with 500 of their copies recorded should be accorded airplay, but on Power FM, the numerous artists who made it into the Top-40 chart, only nine have recorded full length albums that are on the market- These are the acrimonious circumstances which urban grooves musicians grew. The seventy-five percent local content saw the emergence of young music stars. The policy saw the greatest crop of varied and diverse music and gave the youths the opportunity to showcase their music. The policy introduced the likes of Decibel (Daniel Mazhindu) with his reggae-flavoured lyrics, Stach of the Amasiko fame with his disactic lyrics and kwaito-type grooves, Tia with a Western beat and even Fungisai Zvakavapano with gospel music. (The Sunday Mail: 2 May 2004) The legislation also saw the rise of recording studios like Tonderai Music Corporation, Katlas Records, Corner Studios and Country Boy Records.
The policy gave the artists many avenues of improvement, however some artists went to the extent of -borrowing’ lyrical rhymes from Western musicians. Regarding the direction their music was taking Dino Mudondo said:
-The Department has given us reason to survive-.it’s true that we got a breakthrough, thanks to the local content programming policy and we have striven to live up to our standards despite criticism that our music lack cultural identity and that we are not being original..- (The Herald :3 may 2002)
Some critics argue that urban grooves musicians should produce music which is truly and proudly Zimbabwean because part of the music they produce was a bit on the -bubblegum’ side as it was almost a total import of Western musical styles10.
To help seal the initiative, the government started Kingstons Music, a recording and marketing company (The Herald: 7 May 2004) However some of the music which was being played on radio stations like Power FM was not found on the market prejudicing the artists of a lot of money. This prompted one music fan to complain, that: -..more people are getting exposure, thanks to the policy yet some things have to be corrected to ensure the initiative does not end up a fluke-most of the music being produced is not available on the market and quality is being compromised here and there a most of the music is produced in people’s bedrooms, where it is coming from private PCs-
1.3 ISSUES AND PROBLEMS
There have been many discerning voices as to how the urban grooves musicians present themselves to the listening public. They have been accused of lacking cultural identity as Zimbabweans. In terms of content, the thrust of broadcasting institutions has been to counter what the government calls imperialist interests and their quest for regime change in Zimbabwe. Urban grooves music emerged during a well-defined era where the government of Zimbabwe argued that the content broadcasted should reflect Zimbabwean identity, history and cultural diversity. However, it seems the urban grooves artists have been doing the opposite since the formation of the genre in Zimbabwe. This brings out many questions as to whether the youth really understand culture or even identity. Maybe cultural identity means a totally different phenomenon to them. In the Zimbabwean contemporary context, culture has got so many symbols that it is difficult to pinpoint the true culture of the Zimbabwean people in an urban context. It seems people have got different conceptions and opinions of what cultural identity is. People in the country side, those in the city and those who fought in the liberation struggle who form the nucleus of the government today have got points of departure in their description of culture. The youth may have a totally different opinion of culture shaped by the times we are living since some claim that -culture is dynamic’.11
In reference to the post-colonial Africa, Gecau (1993:46) notes that: – the leaders who emerged after independence presented themselves as -enlighteners’, and were soon suspicious of the expressions of culture which were proof of the independent-.gradually -culture’ came to be presented as past forms, national symbols and emblems associated with the struggle for independence, the achievements of ndividual leaders and so on-.
In trying to define what is culture and their identity, the youth hit a brick wall. In Zimbabwe there seems to be a misrepresentation of culture with the ruling elites trying to define culture in terms of past liberation war struggle and the culture being brought out through globalization. This is through movies, international music and satellite dishes. This is what the youth of today is exposed to. The youth have a restricted cultural mediation role.
The government was keen to establish control over communication processes and distribution networks for cultural commodities but this has failed mainly because the world has become too small a global village. The older generation has too many difficulties on their shoulders to understand the youth mainly because of generational gaps. It is now difficult to understand the true cultural identity of the youth mainly because of the emergence of sophisticated and technologically advanced gadgets. Therefore the youths’ consumption reference tends to be outside Zimbabwe, from global media images in other parts of the world. 12
What urban grooves music stands for in our social hierarchy is the question at stake. Music actually develops within certain political, social and cultural parameters. The older generations’ concerns have been, what are the youths of tomorrow going to be like considering what the youths of today values, but however no single urban grooves musician is a true the representative of the genre as a whole. Personal experiences can affect one’s music in a completely different way from the other13. Though the researcher chose to study the music of Maskiri, he is hardly a complete representative of urban grooves music. Each urban grooves musician has got his own style of expression. One has to look at music without imposing individual ideas inappropriately.
It is difficult to classify them because; some like Portia Njazi (Tia) do not consider themselves urban grooves musicians. Decibel and Christy-B’s music is too reggae-flavoured. This begs the question; What is urban grooves music? Decibel was recently quoted as saying that he actually hates urban grooves music. 14These are some of the controversies of urban grooves music. Some question the genre’s originality.
1.3.1 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions will guide this study: 1. What themes do urban grooves musicians dwell on , vis–vis hip-hop musicians in America and Europe? 2. To what extent does urban grooves music reflect the influence of foreign cultures?
3. To what extent is urban grooves music local?
1.4 AIMS / OBJECTIVES
Since its inception, urban grooves music has generated a lot of controversy. Among the defects of the genre which the listening public pointed out are that, the music is divorced from our cultural identity as Zimbabweans, and that the music is meaningless among other things. This is an inquiry into the differences between urban grooves music and mainly hip-hop music in America focusing on similarities and differences in terms of themes in order to ascertain urban grooves loyalty to our culture and identity or whether they are just another cultural transplant of American hip-hop music. The study will also show the aspects of American culture inherent in urban grooves music. The researcher will also highlight the relevance of urban grooves music to our society, whether they sing about sensible or senseless issues divorced from social reality in Zimbabwe. Aspects of urban grooves music that are -borrowed’ from Western musicians will be discussed.
However, after looking at all this, the researcher felt the main burning issue against urban grooves music was whether they are being innovative or imitative in their approach to music. The researcher felt a thorough analysis of the genre was needed as whether to dispel or validate these accusations, hence the study of the music of Maskiri and the group Xtra Large. This is a close analytical insight into the factors, which influenced urban grooves music through the textual analysis of their music’s lyrics.
The researcher will look at various aspects of urban grooves music, including their similarities and differences with international artists like Eminem and Mariah Carey whom the listening public says they copycat. Urban grooves music has got something positive which it is contributing to society, but it seems people are just keeping a blind eye and a deaf ear to that. It is a product of society and this means there are many aspects of society reflected in their music. This means aspects of our culture, history and social life are reflected. However this is not to say urban grooves music is wholly Zimbabwean or not, aspects of globalization and cultural imperialism will be analyzed vis–vis our cultural identity.
Though music is universal, its meaning is not, in the Zimbabwean context one has to look at whether urban grooves music is useful or is potentially harmful, and what differentiates good from bad music.
1.5 JUSTIFICATION OF STUDY
While traveling from Harare to Zvishavane by bus, on 23 January 2006, there was a heated debate as to whether urban grooves music in particular is senseless or sensible. Many seemed to have listened to the songs of Decibel (Daniel Mazhindu), Betty Makaya, Maskiri (Alishias Musimbe), Xtra Large and Nasty Trix among others. Some thought it was a waste of time listening to their type of music since it is just a copycat of Western music. These were mainly the older generation, but there was general appreciation from the younger generation.
What I found out is that many people do not understand music and urban grooves music in general. Urban grooves musicians were disparaged as hopeless, and there were suggestions that they should do what they called the -African sound’ or -Zimbabwean music’. It was clear most of them had never listened to urban grooves music but were basing their arguments on hearsay. This concept of what can be termed Zimbabwean music is very problematic, because there is nothing in Zimbabwean music today which is not affected by something exotic. The youths who sing this type of music are actually a product of society, so why it is then that society is refusing to recognize what is part of it?
Though the older generation has a point it seems they do not realize the social context, situation, influence and the environment in which these musicians are operating. Sometimes what the public see and hear are just lyrics and the singers but refuse to see the force behind all this. In this case, urban grooves music will be studied in the context of globalization and cultural imperialism. The researcher will take a neutral view in order to have a fair analysis of the whole issue.
There is very little literature on the analysis of urban grooves music, except from newspapers but this research will be a detailed, close analysis of the music of Maskiri and Xtra Large of which they will be given a chance to defend their views also.
The above incident prompted me to embark on a scholarly study of urban grooves music.
1.6 DEFINITION OF KEY CONCEPTS
This section briefly discusses the key terms that are central to this study. These are culture, cultural imperialism, globalization and identity.
This year the culture week ran from 19 to 26 May 2007. At the official opening of the culture week in Kadoma, the Minister for Policy Implementation in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Mr. Webster Shamu, described culture as; -Culture is the sum total of the way of life of a society from traditions, customs, value systems, life styles, arts, social institutions, and spiritual , intellectual and economic features that characterize society or nation. This defines us as a people. It is these values, symbols, interpretations and perspectives that distinguishes us from other peoples- (The Herald: 24 May 2007)
The culture week in Zimbabwe is a reminder of the need for communities to preserve their traditions and values that define us as a people. According to Gwanjera (1984:13, culture can be defined as -the totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought, religious culture, musical culture, oral culture and so on-. Culture can include the predominating attitudes and behavior that characterize the functioning of a group or organization15. To some culture is a way of life, which means culture must stimulate creativity, enhancement of cultural identity and contribute to national consciousness and identity to promote different cultural activities people are engaged in16. Zimbabwean cultural values include positive morals, values and ethics. However, it should be noted that blending cultures is not the same as giving way to cultural imperialism.
Even though, these definitions of culture are sometimes too broad to be understandable, such that the definition of culture becomes very relative. However in Zimbabwe, the locus point of our culture is wholly defined in the concept of -unhu’.
Many scholars give different and sometimes contradictory definitions of culture. According to Titon (2005:25), -culture is a way of life, learned and transmitted through centuries of adapting to the natural and human world. Porter (1999:19), argues that, -the social environment is culture and the characteristics of culture are that, culture is learned, culture is selective, facets of culture are interrelated and that culture is ethnocentric. Therefore culture represents a limited choice of behaviour. Every society has its own way of viewing the universe with coherent set of values and behaviour. But there comes the erosion of cultural values through technology and globalization. Its debatable, whether people should redefine their culture or not. In my research I will use -unhu’ or -ubuntu’ as the locus definition of culture in our society.
1.6.2 Cultural Imperialism
According to Tomlison (1991:8),this refers to a kind of cultural domination by powerful nations over weaker nations. It is viewed as purposeful and intentional because it corresponds to the political interests of the United States of America and other capitalist societies. The effects of cultural domination is reflected in attitudes and values of Western, particularly American capitalist societies. According to Sollonzo (2007:78), the transmission and diffusion across national boundaries, of various forms of information in the form of cultural products of other nations has led to the displacement and marginalization of the original cultures of the local people such that the dominant ideologies becomes those of the foreign cultures. In the end the local culture loses its independence to grow and sustain itself in an autonomous way.
Assuming that all forms of culture construct and deconstruct social identities cultural imperialism raises many important questions about the loss of cultural identity, especially in the music of urban youth in Zimbabwe17. Though to learn about other cultures is not bad, the main problem comes when foreign values are internalized by many in our society.
Globalization can be simply described as something which started somewhere and has spread all over the world. It has also been described as an aggregation of cultural flows or networks in a less coherent and unitary process than cultural imperialism and one in which cultural influences move in many different directions. The effects consist of media, technology, ideologies and ethnicities on recipient nations and the likely result is cultural hybridization. Tomlinson (1999:35) refers to globalization as the rapidly developing network of interconnectedness and the interdependencies that characterize modern social life. This already exist in telecommunication systems that link the world through satellite dishes, aircrafts which move people faster and computers which disgorge information at any time.
Tomlinson (1997:34), describes globalization in the social context as, the transmission or diffusion across national boundaries of various media and the arts. Generally the circulations of cultural products or artifacts originate from many different nations and regions. Globalization raises more important and controversial issues concerning its effects on local and national cultures and their responses to it.
The spread of the English language generates a preferential market for commercial and cultural products which operate in English. (Hertz 1999:45). An obvious example would be in popular music where English is used as a medium of expression and communication in advertising and marketing in many parts of the world. According to Sollonzo (2007:39), globalization mutually reinforces and embodies a set of cultural and political assumptions about, for instance, the inculcation of the uniqueness of individual identity, superiority of the historical role, political systems and cultural products of the United States of America and Britain.
In the context of culture and society, globalization influences the way people view their world, such that they see it through the European eyes.
The issue of identity is always centered on Zimbabweans who adopt -Western culture’ and those who are of the -indigenous culture’. Indigenous beliefs remain powerful in rural areas and working-class townships. However there is a sharp distinction especially with those who are of a black middle class background who usually have a say in the country’s media policies. According toTurino (2000:32), regardless of class, when Shona people in Zimbabwe speak of -our culture’ or -our customs’, the vast majority point to the rural village. This shows that they owe their identity to Shona cultural practices and ethics of living. However shifts in church and state education policy and media policies ?have produced a diluted identity18. So, identity is a controversial subject in its description, people develops their identity through interaction with their culture and others in it, if that culture changes so is the identity it fosters. (Zimmerman 1965:67)
Chezet (2007:31), refers to identity as people as they are, as cultural beings, finding space, free opportunity to make their own schemes using their own experts and resources whose knowledge they can interpret or reject as befits their reality, both technical and perceptual, and such space is the venue for positive undisruptive change.
Even though, identity is rooted in having a name, a place and a setting. To have a name means having a history that has got its values, customs, regulated and accepted social behaviuor and a future based on those values. In other words identity does not change with situations.
In trying to define culture, cultural imperialism, globalization, and identity, it has got its limitations and generalizations since there are no universally accepted definitions of these terms. Sometimes the difference between globalization and cultural imperialism is not understandable but the researcher has tried to give objective discussion of the terms. Culture is also linked very much to identity.
1.7 CONCLUSION AND SUMMARY
This chapter outlined how the urban grooves genre of music started, and the environment in which the genre started. The long background of music in Zimbabwe points out the socio-political situation behind the emergence of the genre including the situational context.
The chapter also highlights the transition from militant music of the liberation struggle, the celebratory music after independence in 1980, protest music of the middle and late 1990s. Mainly the music of Thomas Mapfumo represents this period. The new millennium brought with it new genres of music, this was the phase of the urban grooves musicians. This was also coupled with the change in legislation of Zimbabwe with the promulgation of the Broadcasting Services Act in 2001.
Urban grooves music has given a whole new face to music in Zimbabwe and great strides have been made in a very short time amid verbal attacks from the public due to some controversial issues which will be dealt with fully in the next chapters. The chapter also highlighted the issues and problems in the study of urban grooves music in the context of globalization and cultural imperialism.
In the next chapter I will look at the theoretical assumptions of the study.
LITERATURE REVIEW AND THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
2.1 LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1.1 WHY LITERATURE REVIEW
Literature Review mainly assists in attacking the problem for research because the research problem is always central. In knowing what the others have done, one is prepared to attack with deeper insight and more complete knowledge the problem one has chosen to investigate.
According to Paton (1986:28) Literature Review provides the following benefits:
1)It can reveal investigations that are similar to mine, and how those collateral researchers handled those situations.
2)It can suggest a method or technique of dealing with a problematic situation which may also suggest avenues of approach to the solution of similar difficulties I may face.
3)It can reveal sources of data, which one may have never known they existed.
4)It can introduce one to significant research personalities of whose research efforts and collateral writings one may have had no knowledge.
5)It helps one to see the study in historical and associational perspective and in relation to earlier and more primitive attacks on the same problem.
6)It also provides new ideas and approaches, which may have never occurred to me. 7)Literature review helps in evaluating my own research efforts by comparing them with related efforts by others.
The exploration of other researchers cannot be a haphazard undertaking because around every researcher there is a vast sea of literature and countless reports of what others have done. A careful consideration of the research problem should suggest relevant areas of discussion and indicate the direction that the discussion of the related literature should take. According to Paton (1986), a discussion of related literature should begin with a comprehensive perspective, like a pyramid: broad end first, then one can deal with more specific and more localized studies which focus closer and closer to the specific problem.
In the literature review relatedness should be emphasized and the reader must be constantly aware of the manner in which the discussed literature is related to the research problem. Points of departure should also be emphasized to show differences. In my research I used approaches used before by other scholars.
2.1.2 DISCUSSION OF LITERATURE USED
There has been no scholarly study of urban grooves in Zimbabwe. This study, therefore is a groundbreaking one on this subject, however there are several studies that have inspired my research, and this include Alice Dadirai Kwaramba (1997) and Thomas Turino (2000) and Gray (2001)
Kwaramba’s analysis of songs is similar to what the researcher would be doing since it involves the analysis of linguistic selections of musicians’ lyrics vis–vis corresponding social influences and relation analysis and the study of meaning in texts. Therefore Kwaramba uses critical linguistic approaches, which are very necessary in the study of song texts by urban grooves musicians. Kwaramba studies the music of Thomas Mapfumo, and this serves as a reference point in issues of comparative analysis of music and social identity in Zimbabwe. The publication is also a critical examination of music in Zimbabwe, before and after independence.
One of the literature sources which inspired this study is the study on Zimbabwean music done by Thomas Turino (2000).Reviewing the book Veit Erlman notes that the -focus on Turino’s study is the development of revolutionary music sung by Thomas Mapfumo and other Zimbabwean artists, the development of this music from its roots in early Rhodesian era to the emergence of the cosmopolitan culture among the black middle-class in independent Zimbabwe and how this gave rise to urban popular styles modeled on influences from the Mills Brothers to Elvis Presley-. Turino explains the combination of -foreign’ and indigenous elements that so-often define nationalist and cultural projects. It is in this contextual view that urban grooves music should be studied especially if people say they must be loyal to our culture and identity in their music. It is worth to comparatively analyze other aspects of Zimbabwean music and find out if it does not have traces of global cultural influence. No type of music in Zimbabwe can then be said to be original.
Turino explains the focus of his publication as, -..from the point of view of people in Zimbabwe, or people like myself who view Capitalism as a negative force in relation to ecological and social health it is important to see how globalization progresses at the level of values and life ways-. Turino clarifies the continuities and cultural effects of colonialism, nationalism and cosmopolitanism. Directly paralleled to my study of urban grooves music is the medium of value, this is our values as Africans, identity and social relations in music making which actually provides a useful window in conceptualizing the historical background and some other issues concerning music in Zimbabwe.
However his research is different from mine because he does not go deeper into analyzing the lyrics of the artists he writes on while mine is a textual analysis of urban grooves music centering on selected artists. Turino only deals with influences which changed the face of music in Zimbabwe before and after independence, but does not analyze the effects, probably because there was no computer-generated music during his time.
According to Gray (2001), one challenge that is confronting Africa today, is that of mental enslavement, psychological incarceration and the imprisonment of the African mind. In this publication, Gray (2001), clarifies and defines the history of African-centered thoughts and evaluating them to create a creative tool towards codifying them, to fit present and future directions. Reviewing the publication, J B. Stewart writes, -it assists African people in their historical-intellectual and practical-transformational journey from where they are to where they need to be’. The publication examines African movements and ideas from antiquity to the present. Urban grooves music can also be studied in relation to these views, especially on analyzing whether they give a eurocentric or afrocentric world -view in their music.
2.1.3 ARCHIVAL RESEARCH
There is little literature on urban grooves music, most issues that deal about urban grooves music can be found in newspapers and on the Internet. A number of articles have appeared in newspapers analyzing urban grooves music. I used many articles from newspapers and on the Internet. This means analyzing the different views of many journalists in the print media from 2001 to the present. Some of the newspapers which were used in this study, include, The Herald, Chronicle, The Standard, The Daily and Sunday Mirror and The Independent. Some daily newspapers, especially The Herald, wrote many articles which promoted urban grooves music as a genre. Interviews were also carried out with urban grooves musicians, it is those kinds of interviews which will be used by the researcher. The Sunday Mail (8 May 2004), has an interview by Robert Mukondiwa, where he interviewed Maskiri, and this is the same interview in which Maskiri claimed to have dated a mermaid. Biographical data about the emergence of urban grooves music as a genre of music can be found in the entertainment sections of these newspapers, together with views from the public. The Herald and The Sunday Mail are state-owned newspapers.
However, there are some newspapers like, The Standard and The Independent, which saw the emergence of urban grooves music as a government-created propaganda tool. These are newspapers which are independently-owned and they usually have negative perceptions of media policies done by the government. Their views will be also taken into consideration without any bias. The Standard (7 June 2004), disparages the poor quality and imitations done by many urban grooves musicians who do not have any album to their credit, yet their music was played daily on Power FM. There are many other articles, some are on the seventy-five percent local content, and some on the use of vulgar language by many urban grooves musicians.
2.2 THEORETICAL AND CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK
A number of theories and concepts inspired this study. These include globalization, cultural imperialism and identity. These theoretical concepts contextualize my study to these three concepts.
Harvey (1989) describes globalization .as -the rapidly developing process of complex interconnections between societies, cultures, institutions, and individuals worldwide.- Even though globalization simply means something, which started somewhere and has spread all over the world. Capitalism is even globalized.
With the liberalization of telecommunications corporate culture seems to rule the world mainly because the whole world is wired and plugged into television programmes, music, lifestyles and entertainment among other things, which come from Western countries. This has made the youths’ especially in Third World countries to find their role models from Western countries. Now most youths want to wear trendy clothes, designer boots and shoes, with a chain stretching from one belt loop to a front pocket of the jeans, a style similar to that adopted by international artists like Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears or Eminem. Music has a role to play in the creation of such identities.
Satellite cables, phones, Video Compact discs (VCDs) and other marvels and wonders of entertainment technology are creating the mass marketing of culture since US corporate culture is available everywhere, it has now commodified. Young people are now exposed to the same music and glamorous lifestyle, which they aspire to achieve. According to Tomlinson in Mohammadi (1997):
-Young people in third world countries are the largest consumers of global culture. Sony has developed its range of toy-like toys kids music labels and videos for this age-group-
Urban grooves musicians grew up in this kind of society and exposed to global culture. This means that foreign pop brands are changed into local versions and renditions synthesized with a local language. This has led many to ask that, apart from language what is so local about urban grooves music. Local artists especially urban grooves musicians belt out -localized’ songs popularized by the likes of Mariah Carey, Eminem and Westlife with similar costumes, rhythm, dances and maneuvers but with a touch of a local language.
Penetration of global music has resulted in the marginalisation of local cultures and traditional music in Zimbabwe. Young people have lost touch with traditional harmonies, tunes and dances, which are culturally specific to Zimbabwe. Global entertainment has become so addictive to the youths such that that it seems even to affect the psyche. For the young musicians it is a selling an experience and an image.
It seems global entertainment fills the vacuum emptied by the collapse of traditional institutions, communities, clans, family, life and authority. Through Hollywood movies, films, global advertising and some programmes, values and lifestyles are internalized by the youths. Through globalization, the meaning of community and the notion of self is distorted as television creates artificial needs.
In urban grooves music there are many -footprints’ of systematic ideas articulated mainly by Western musicians. Certain ideologies indicate how reality is distorted, especially in the music of Maskiri under the imitation of international superstars like Eminem. Maskiri provides a partial and selective view of reality.
Likewise computers have become substitutes for human interactions, community and civic life. Marneweck in Alexander et al (2006:243), argues that cyberspace has created virtual communities where mass messages are personalized for greater impact. The anonymity of participants and freedom of expression found in Internet chat rooms is taken too far such that, though urban grooves music becomes a multiple representation of identities. Sometimes what urban grooves musicians sing is not what they actually do in their real life. However computers and the Internet provides an -idealized’ world, anonymity, fantasy and dreaming. (Reid 1991)
It is in this context that Urban grooves music should be studied, the influence of globalization in their music in terms of themes of their music, rhythm and instrumentation, dances and attire. This has made many to say they look American instead of Zimbabwean. This actually begs more answers because some of them have never been to America, they are Zimbabweans and they are a product of this contemporary society. This research will look at differences between urban grooves artists and Western musicians, that is points of departure and similarity in a globalized world, and also the reasons why people say they lack our African or Zimbabwean identity.
2.2.2 Cultural Imperialism
Tomlinson in Mohammadi (1997:175), cultural Imperialism refers to the process of domination in which the West (America or transnational capitalism) draws all cultures into its ambit. This involves the diffusion of American values, consumer goods and lifestyle to third world countries. In simpler terms, cultural imperialism refers to the adoption of American or Western cultural values by other people in other countries. This study examines the aspects of American culture, which are reflected in urban grooves music especially the music of Maskiri and Xtra Large. Cultural Imperialism is also linked to globalization.
According to Sollonzo (2007:45) :
-People sit in their homes watching a bunch of White people in Dallas, standing around their swimming pools, drinking martinis, and plotting to destroy each other or steal from each other or get their partners’ wives into bed..-
The effect is that when the youths see these kind of images on their television, they try to imitate and sometimes this through music. Behaviors and values that are poisonous to life are glamorized. Community cooperation, sharing, and non-materialism are subverted and substituted with individualism. Material values rather than moral or spiritual values are made important. Consumerism of American cultural values through music has caused many youths to -live’ the life of superstars in their music whereby they run away from the reality of their own situations.
It is so sad that nowadays some parents do not even speak with their children in indigenous languages like Shona and Ndebele. They themselves cannot speak English fluently, but to the children now it means they become -cultural amputees’, neither able to speak English fluently, or fluent Shona or Ndebele. In the end there is juxtaposition of both local and exotic way of speaking, which is also exacerbated by what they see on computers and Internet chat rooms. This results in juxtaposition of foreign types of rhythm, which is transformed and reinterpreted in their own terms. This interconnectedness of the local and the global is evident in the rising phenomenon of urban grooves music. Can this be talked of as cultural hybridity or hybridization of identities through globalization, this is very problematic. It is difficult to pinpoint what is Zimbabwean culture since culture is dynamic. Culture is sometimes shaped by individual actions. In the world today there are many forces regulating behavior since social and cultural spaces are now shaped by modernity and capitalism.
However when one fails to articulate the difference between self and other that becomes the problem of identity. In urban grooves music our difference from the Western culture must be emphasized. Each genre of music has got its background influences but if other musicians take out something wholesale from another genre of music there becomes a problem of identity. Genres of music like hip-hop are intrinsic to American culture, but if somebody who is not American starts singing the same things that becomes a problem of cultural identity. This notion of -want-to-be-noticed’ has compromised urban grooves music’s credibility and quality. According to Tomlinson (1997), hip-hop culture has brought out new forms of collective identity, whereby the youths redefine their lifestyle and identity through parallel media spaces.
Identity itself is a contested term because it is shaped by social, cultural and economic conditions in which people live in. It seems identities can actually change, though there are some aspects of identity which may not change. It is difficult to say, whether identity means being rooted in our village customs or identity in an urban context. It is also difficult to delineate the yardstick which people use when they speak of cultural alienation, since culture means different things to different people.
Cultural Imperialism can be an issue of generational differences. Blending cultures is different from cultural imperia;ism. According to Tomlinson (1997:167-168) : -..what the cultural argument does is to bring the globalization process into immediate critical focus-it is a general and elastic concept, gathering notions of domination in terms of hegemonic cultural formations (the West, Western modernity, consumer culture) and third world countries absorbing peripheral cultures into a homogenized, commodified -globalized future’
So, cultural imperialism is very contradictory term, whether it is actually cultural globalization or cultural imperialism, since cultural imperialism is too historical. -Americanization’ or -Westernization’ of music can be a just term.
This chapter touched on the broader framework on which I will base my study on. The study leans mainly on the theoretical concepts of globalization and cultural imperialism. However there are also some local influences to the genre of music that will be analyzed in the next chapters. External influences also include also many ideological movements. The Literature Review shows the literature that has helped the researcher in his study.
The next chapter will focus on the methods of data collection, inquiry and textual analysis.
3.1 INTRODUCTION This chapter identifies methods used, and justifies their use. Methods of data collection and analysis will be discussed. These include the qualitative research method, interviews, archival research, textual analysis of songs, critical language analysis, spoken and written texts and meaning in texts and language use.
3.1.1 QUALITATIVE RESEARCH METHOD
Textual analysis involves many things, collecting data, organizing it and analyzing the data. The emphasis on qualitative document analysis is on capturing definitions, meaning, process and types. Paton (1980:45), defines qualitative research as:
-grounded in a philosophical position which is broadly -interpretive’ in the sense that it is concerned with how the social world is interpreted, understood and experienced-it is based on detail, context, discourses or constructions in a multi-layered social world-
This means reliance on text, narrative and descriptions. The goal of qualitative research is to understand the process and character of social life and to arrive at meaning and process as we seek to understand types, characteristics and organizational aspects of the documents as social products in their own right as well as what they claim to represent (Altheide 1996:42)
Qualitative research involves an in-depth understanding of human behaviour and the reasons that govern human behaviour. Unlike quantitative research, qualitative research relies on reasons behind various aspects of behaviour. Simply put, it investigates the why and how of decision making, as compared to what, where, and when of quantitative research. Hence, the need is for smaller but focused samples rather than large random samples, which qualitative research categorizes data into patterns as the primary basis for organizing and reporting results. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qualitative_method)
This study mainly emphasizes on textual analysis of the lyrics by Maskiri and Xtra Large. Media materials like newspapers, magazines, and electronic documents will be used.
The researcher will use the standard-open-ended type of interview. The standard-open-ended interview consists of a set of questions carefully worded and arranged with the intention of taking each respondent through the same sequence and asking the respondent the same questions with especially the same words to find out different views on the same matter. This reduces the possibility of bias that comes from having different set of questions for different respondents including the problem of getting more comprehensive data from certain musicians and producers while getting less systematic information from others.
However questions can be altered and individualized a bit, in order to establish in-depth communication with the person being interviewed. This allows the interviewer to be highly responsive to individual differences and situational changes.
An interview guide (a list of questions or issues that are to be explored in the course of the interview) will be used to make sure the interview the interview is highly focused and interviewee time is carefully used.
3.1.3 ARCHIVAL RESEARCH
Archival research consists of using -already existing information’ to answer research questions analyse existing data such as statistics that are part of public records reports of anthropologists, letters to the editor, computer data bases. There are many newspapers in Zimbabwe with many articles which focus on urban grooves music since the year 2001. Many other interviews were done with musicians like Maskiri and Xtra Large in newspaper articles. This is dealt with in newspapers like The Herald, Chronicle, The Sunday Mail, The Standard, The Independent, The Daily and Sunday Mirror. Lifestyles of certain musicians are commented about in these newspapers and this can be ideal for comparative analysis with Western musicians in terms of lifestyle, behaviour, and attire.
Comments from the public can also be found in newspapers, especially the ordinary people’s views towards the music.
The internet is also an important source of information. Internet forums are important because views from the youths mainly, are easily accessible.
3.2 TEXTUAL ANALYSIS OF SONGS
Language often reflects society as Cameroon (1990) claims. Therefore if one has to look at language used by urban grooves singers it must reflect society. However it is society which exists first before language, but language reproduces and transforms society such that language use changes. (Stubbs 1996:90) According to Fairclough (1990,1992), shifts in the meaning of individual words are part of a more general extension of the discourses of consumerism, marketing, management, counseling into educational discourses in which students are represented as clients or customers. Therefore language and what it contains has a role to play as a child grows up till he or she becomes a teenager. This forms the basis of social stereotypes whom we call urban grooves today.
In this case textual analysis involves the analysis of the lyrics used by urban grooves artists like Maskiri and Xtra Large vis–vis globalization and cultural imperialism.
3.2.2 CRITICAL LANGUAGE ANALYSIS
-For every writer, speaker or musician there is a finite set of possibilities that are available linguistically to express and talk about a subject or topic in a given social context- (Kwaramba 1997:12)
The language used by an artist denotes a lot, as in relation to the artist’s background, social concerns and his or her position in the social structure. There is no such thing as neutral data, therefore ultimately all musical text is related to life experiences and situations. Music is the prime instance of the traffic of ideas up and down modes of representation. Discourse is actually shaped by power relations in society and therefore contributes to social continuity and change. Musical discourse is mainly configured in the domain of sound, language and metaphors of expressive gestures with the capacity to engage us in exploring structural change and new ways of construing the world.
Musical lyrics can be transcribed and be read as poetry. When sounds powerful enough to threaten existing situations emerge, interpretations, choices, tastes are made. However, going back to language, when an artist uses certain aspects of language, it is for a purpose.
Language use also brings out a world view, and in this case it can be a European or African world view. In urban grooves music, there is a way in which they use language which is different from other genres of music. According to Kwaramba (1997:9), words do not carry the same meanings outside of the cultural and social contexts in which the texts are produced. Musicians use carefully chosen modes of expression which excludes other possibilities.
Choice of phrases, repetition of same words, mixture of both English and Shona or Ndebele languages, choice of titles of songs and albums gives interpretation of the musician’s intended message and ideology. This includes selection of certain linguistic expressions, keywords, social context, thematic concerns, symbolism and lexicalization. As social relations change, music also changes and this is reflected in urban grooves music. English is used as a medium of communication in schools and the media, and this also has got consequences in expressions used in music by the youths. Urban grooves musicians’ medium of expression will be examined.
3.2.3 SPOKEN AND WRITTEN TEXT ANALYSIS
-A spoken text is simply what is said in a piece of spoken discourse and the written text can be used to refer to a written transcription of what is said- (Fairclough 2001:20)
Discourse refers to the whole process of social interaction of which a text is part and a text is product of the process of text production. Songs can be transcribed from spoken texts to written texts and therefore the text becomes a resource for text interpretation. People interpret texts through their knowledge of the language, representations of the natural and social worlds they inhabit, values, beliefs and assumptions.
Texts produced have -footprints’ of social relations and the struggles generated. Different strategies are used by artists to put their ideas across. This includes the social conditions of production and social conditions of interpretation. (Fairclough 2001:21)
However texts are interwoven with facial expressions and gestures. In this case the researcher will use videos of some songs by urban grooves musicians to analyze gestures and facial expressions. These are the extra-linguistic features.
After the transcription of songs into written texts, Fairclough (2001) distinguishes three stages of critical discourse analysis which are:
i) Description of the formal properties of a text ii) Interpretation which is categorized into six levels which include situational context, intertextual context, surface of utterance, meaning of utterance, local coherence and text structure. iii) Explanation concerns itself with the social determination of the process of production and interpretation and the social effects. Intertextual context can also refer to the historical series of society, and deciding which series a text belongs to. Explanations can also be drawn into three levels, that is explanation at society level, explanation at institutional level and at situational level mainly because people see or look at the same thing with different perspectives.
3.2.4 MEANING IN TEXTS AND LANGUAGE USE
Language use reproduces culture from generation to generation, and the language used by urban grooves artists makes assumptions of their listeners or customers. All language is intertextual, it is shaped by prior texts, oriented to conventions and interpreted against the background of a very large corpus of linguistic experience (Stubbs 1996:92) It is against this background that the researcher will analyze word meaning and context used since all words are open to new uses and are flexible in their meanings to some extent. For a word to be branded obscene, there are reasons for that in our cultural context. There are therefore changing relations between occurrences in a text and the underlying language system. (Stubbs 1996). It is therefore necessary to identify linguistic mechanisms which convey ideologies and other things. Such analysis will show how grammar can help to explain the discourse of society, how different points can be explained by stylistic choices and how they can embody different ideologies.
The thematic concerns of the music of Maskiri and Xtra Large will therefore be analyzed vis–vis those of Western musicians, especially hip-hop music. They may use similar grammar to convey their ideas about women, life and many ethics about morality and society in general in the context of our Zimbabwean culture. Aspects of American culture, like rebelliousness, use of vulgarities and obscene language, will be analysed and examined in comparison with the thematic concerns of urban grooves music. Similarities in attire, types of dances, rhythm and lifestyle will also be analysed. These are the extra-linguistic features. (LOOK IN MY NEXT ARTICLE, FOR IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS)