Culture and Customs of the Congo

By Tshilemalema Mukenge | Go to book overview

8
Music and Dance

MUSIC AND DANCE are mirrors of society. In the Congo they reflect, among other social realities, the coexistence of tradition and modernity, on the one hand, and the multiethnic structure of the country, on the other hand. However, in many respects, interethnic differences are in the form rather than in the substance because of a considerable cultural overlap supported by many shared values, worldviews and practices. In either setting, music and dance fulfill many functions. This chapter examines four broad categories of traditional music based on the functions that music plays in human life: (1) activity-related music, such as that played by a working team while hoeing rhythmically; (2) ceremonial music, such as that accompanying an initiation procession; (3) praise music played at the court of a king or a paramount chief to exalt his accomplishments; and (4) entertaining music played by young people while dancing in the moonlight. Modern popular music in the Congo developed independently of domestic musical traditions. It owes its initial developments to West Indian and West African influences. Angolan influences marked its growth years followed by the giants of the golden age in Congolese music—Joseph Kabasela and Lwambo Makiadi (Franco). The proliferation of bands with none dominating, the ascent of professional women singers and the commercialization and intercontinental spread of Congolese music characterize the current phase. Dominant themes include love, male-female relationship, politics and history, satire/diatribe, death and mourning. Modern Congolese music is discussed in this chapter from two perspectives: developmental stages and dominant themes.1

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Culture and Customs of the Congo
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Series Foreword vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Chronology xi
  • 1: Introduction 1
  • 2: Religion and Worldview 35
  • 3: Literature and Media 53
  • 4: Art and Architecture 75
  • 5: Cuisine and Dress 97
  • 6: Marriage, Family, and Gender Roles 117
  • 7: Social Customs and Lifestyles 143
  • 8: Music and Dance 161
  • 9: Conclusion 179
  • Glossary 185
  • Selected Bibliography 191
  • Index 195
  • About the Author 205
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