An existential approach to popular music in Africa

Rock and Metal in Antananarivo (Madagascar)

Thinking of music in Africa, most still have an image dominated by rather traditional African styles or “Africanized” versions of western sounds. Accounting for the striking role of Rock and Metal music in a foreign setting, it is the central aim of this anthropological research project to rethink the meaning and relevance of popular music in Africa. Based on the interpretation of ethnographic data on Rock and Metal music in Madagascar’s capital city, the project strives for the establishment of an “existential” approach to popular music in Africa that is clearly based on aesthetic experience. Combining theoretical reflections from anthropology, philosophy, musical aesthetics (both of “high” and of popular music) and the ethnomusicology of Africa, the project aims at substantially contributing to cutting-edge debates not only on popular music in Africa, but also on the role of popular culture in anthropology and, subsequently, on the nature of culture more generally.

Fotos © Markus Verne