An existential approach to popular music in Africa: rock and metal in Antananarivo, Madagascar
Funding: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft / German Research Council (DFG), 2009 – 2015; European Union (CORDIS, FP7, Marie Curie Actions), 2010 – 2012
Thinking of music in Africa, the persisting images are those of either (neo-) traditional African styles or “Africanized” versions of Western sounds. It is the central aim of this project to challenge this view and rethink the nature of popular music in Africa by exploring the striking role of rock and heavy metal music in Madagascar’s capital Antananarivo. Based on long-term fieldwork and highlighting the importance of the aesthetic experience of music, the project follows an “existential” approach to understanding metaly gasy and popular music more broadly, asking about the role this music plays for constructing and managing actual lives and lifeworlds. In bringing together theoretical approaches from anthropology, philosophy, (musical) aesthetics, ethnomusicology, and the study of popular music in Africa, the project aims at contributing a “music centered” perspective to social constructivist approaches to popular music in Africa that takes its start not from local conditions, but from the sound of the music itself.