Mhambi has been redeployed.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Kwaito is too Western

According to the Financial times, the reason why there are few new South African stars in the international music world is that South African music has become too Western.

What went wrong with South African music? The unpalatable answer may be the elections of 1994. Apartheid gave South Africans something to sing about, and the cultural boycott, wrongheaded as it was, shielded musicians from the pressures of globalisation. As in any island ecology, diversity flourished. Today, too many sing from a western songbook, whether aping gangstas or serenading tourists.

I can't agree. In the article Kwaito is compared to rap. Kwaito is not akin to rap, although recent exponents of it, like Zola, have produced Kwaito which resembles it more. Kwaito has its roots firmly in music that has been around South African cities for decades.

soweto fashion
Originally uploaded by REPRESENT.CO.ZA.
Kwaito is urban south Africa

Truth be told South African black music has been influenced by Western music for a long time, and their are few examples of Mali-like indigenous music. The South African music that made it world-wide in the 50's to 80's came from its cities, where it absorbed American influences like jazz and gospel.

Kwaito is a South African music genre which reflects its dynamic urban culture. It was not made for export. It is mass music genre for the young and energetic urban South African, and interestingly, it crosses South African colour lines. So while it might not appeal to the International market, it is more significant than its predecessors.

Read more here

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