African identities, Afro-Omani music, and the official constructions of a musical past

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Based on dissertation research in the port city of Sur, historically significant both for trans-oceanic seafaring and trade, and more specifically for its connection to the east coast of Africa, this article analyzes the African-derived performance genres that dominate Sur s music scene within an ever-elusive concept of Africa. The sacred healing rituals zār, mikwarā, and tambūra; and the secular genres, mdema, andfann is-sawt have been renamed funūn taqlīdīya or traditional arts, national nomenclature that collects the myriad traditions of the country while marginalizing differential identities. Rhetorically, Suri musicians not only adopt, they also emphasize their national Omani identity, while expressing their African identity as of the "other." Musically, however, their approach to performance, including the use of Swahili texts, the predominance of body movement, and multi-layered musical textures produced by a variety of instruments from East Africa, reveals, I argue, the musicians 'African identity as a "self." The seemingly binary "self" identities articulated by Suri musicians through two differing modes of expression (rhetoric and performance) illustrate not only the problematic nature of the concept of Africa in Oman, but also highlights how simplistically the African presence in Oman has been treated in the music scholarship of this country.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-129
Number of pages33
JournalWorld of Music
Volume1
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Fingerprint

Music
Africa
Musicians
Oman
East Africa
Self-identity
Body Movement
Coast
Port Cities
Ritual Healing
Rhetoric
Seafaring
Nomenclature
National Identity
Music Scene
Texture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Music

Cite this

African identities, Afro-Omani music, and the official constructions of a musical past. / Al-Harthy, Majid H.

In: World of Music, Vol. 1, No. 2, 2012, p. 97-129.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{5edbe04fbe8e4b2bba2f19f7102563d9,
title = "African identities, Afro-Omani music, and the official constructions of a musical past",
abstract = "Based on dissertation research in the port city of Sur, historically significant both for trans-oceanic seafaring and trade, and more specifically for its connection to the east coast of Africa, this article analyzes the African-derived performance genres that dominate Sur s music scene within an ever-elusive concept of Africa. The sacred healing rituals zār, mikwarā, and tambūra; and the secular genres, mdema, andfann is-sawt have been renamed funūn taqlīdīya or traditional arts, national nomenclature that collects the myriad traditions of the country while marginalizing differential identities. Rhetorically, Suri musicians not only adopt, they also emphasize their national Omani identity, while expressing their African identity as of the {"}other.{"} Musically, however, their approach to performance, including the use of Swahili texts, the predominance of body movement, and multi-layered musical textures produced by a variety of instruments from East Africa, reveals, I argue, the musicians 'African identity as a {"}self.{"} The seemingly binary {"}self{"} identities articulated by Suri musicians through two differing modes of expression (rhetoric and performance) illustrate not only the problematic nature of the concept of Africa in Oman, but also highlights how simplistically the African presence in Oman has been treated in the music scholarship of this country.",
author = "Al-Harthy, {Majid H.}",
year = "2012",
language = "English",
volume = "1",
pages = "97--129",
journal = "World of Music",
issn = "0043-8774",
publisher = "VWB - Verlag fuer Wissenschaft und Bildung",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - African identities, Afro-Omani music, and the official constructions of a musical past

AU - Al-Harthy, Majid H.

PY - 2012

Y1 - 2012

N2 - Based on dissertation research in the port city of Sur, historically significant both for trans-oceanic seafaring and trade, and more specifically for its connection to the east coast of Africa, this article analyzes the African-derived performance genres that dominate Sur s music scene within an ever-elusive concept of Africa. The sacred healing rituals zār, mikwarā, and tambūra; and the secular genres, mdema, andfann is-sawt have been renamed funūn taqlīdīya or traditional arts, national nomenclature that collects the myriad traditions of the country while marginalizing differential identities. Rhetorically, Suri musicians not only adopt, they also emphasize their national Omani identity, while expressing their African identity as of the "other." Musically, however, their approach to performance, including the use of Swahili texts, the predominance of body movement, and multi-layered musical textures produced by a variety of instruments from East Africa, reveals, I argue, the musicians 'African identity as a "self." The seemingly binary "self" identities articulated by Suri musicians through two differing modes of expression (rhetoric and performance) illustrate not only the problematic nature of the concept of Africa in Oman, but also highlights how simplistically the African presence in Oman has been treated in the music scholarship of this country.

AB - Based on dissertation research in the port city of Sur, historically significant both for trans-oceanic seafaring and trade, and more specifically for its connection to the east coast of Africa, this article analyzes the African-derived performance genres that dominate Sur s music scene within an ever-elusive concept of Africa. The sacred healing rituals zār, mikwarā, and tambūra; and the secular genres, mdema, andfann is-sawt have been renamed funūn taqlīdīya or traditional arts, national nomenclature that collects the myriad traditions of the country while marginalizing differential identities. Rhetorically, Suri musicians not only adopt, they also emphasize their national Omani identity, while expressing their African identity as of the "other." Musically, however, their approach to performance, including the use of Swahili texts, the predominance of body movement, and multi-layered musical textures produced by a variety of instruments from East Africa, reveals, I argue, the musicians 'African identity as a "self." The seemingly binary "self" identities articulated by Suri musicians through two differing modes of expression (rhetoric and performance) illustrate not only the problematic nature of the concept of Africa in Oman, but also highlights how simplistically the African presence in Oman has been treated in the music scholarship of this country.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84873588071&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84873588071&partnerID=8YFLogxK

M3 - Article

VL - 1

SP - 97

EP - 129

JO - World of Music

JF - World of Music

SN - 0043-8774

IS - 2

ER -