Songs and Politics in Eastern Africa

Songs and Politics in Eastern Africa

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Kimani Njogu; Hervé Maupeu
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Songs and Politics in Eastern Africa brings together important essays on songs and politics in the region and beyond. Through an analysis of the voices from the margins, the authors (contributors) enter into the debate on cultural productions and political change. The theme that cuts across the contributions is that songs are, in addition to their aesthetic appeal, vital tools for exploring how political and social events are shaped and understood by citizens. Urbanization, commercialization and globalization contributed to the vibrancy of East African popular music of the 1990s which was marked by hybridity, syncretism and innovativeness. It was a product of social processes inseparable from society, politics, and other critical issues of the day. The lyrics explored socials cosmology, worldviews, class and gender relations, interpretations of value systems, and other political, social and cultural practices, even as they entertained and provided momentary escape for audience members. Frustration, disenchantments, and emotional fatigue resulting from corrupt and dictatorial political systems that stifle the potential of citizens drove and still drive popular music in Eastern Africa as in most of Africa. Songs and Politics in Eastern Africa is an important addition to the study of popular culture and its role in shaping society.