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West African music

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Title: West African music  
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Subject: World music, Pentatonic scale, Music of Africa, Music of the United States, Brukdown, Sub-Saharan African music traditions, World Circuit (record label)
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West African music

West Africa stretches from the Sahara Desert to the Atlantic Ocean. The region's musical heritage includes a variety of popular music styles, especially from the countries of Senegal, Ghana, Mali, Côte d'Ivoire, Niger, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. Griots, wandering musicians and praise singers, are found throughout the region, and some musical instruments (such as the kora, xalam, djembe and talking drum) are found in a majority of West African countries.

Music in Western Africa

The main types of drums in Western Africa are the Djembe and the Talking Drum. These drums are used as the most important parts of musical performances and ceremonies. They appear easy to play, however the drummers, particularly the master drummer, play complicated polyrhythms and have usually trained from childhood . These drums play a very important part of life for the people and are used all the time in everyday life, especially in festivals and ceremonies such as marriage or birth. There are also other instruments. Most of these are string instruments which are precursors to the banjo and the guitar. These include the Kora, Ngoni, and the Xalam.

Artists from Western Sahara

Some performers are tribespeople who have lived a nomadic existence, which is true of Mariem Hassan, a vocalist from the country of Western Sahara. Restless during occupation by imperialism; the 1960s saw revoluriona die not just a few countries in Africa earn their independence, but feel an uncertainty later as various factions took over. One such was Western Sahara, which had previously been a Spanish colony, with its inhabitants speaking some Spanish, Arabic, and other dialects common to the region. Those who moved to refugee camps found that most often, it was women gaining stature as the storytellers of their past, their existence, and their hopes through their songs and performances.[1]

The Cape Verde Islands have homed and/or preserved along the centuries, through being an intermediate port in the Atlantic, rhythms from Europe and the Americas, combined in very popular and rhythmic music. Many of the well-known Cape Verdian musicians have settled in Dakar, where they mingled further with musicians from West Africa.

Non-African musicians inspired by West African music

American contemporary classical composer Steve Reich learned West African drumming in Ghana in 1970; it inspired his work Drumming.[2]


External links

  • Ghana Music News Ghana Music News and a collection of video clips, audio and profiles on Ghana artists
  • Ghana Base Music Powering the Ghanaian Music Online.
  • Live from Bamako, Mali Djembe drumming from West Africa and other

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