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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Islam and Popular Music in Senegal: The Emergence of a 'New Tradition'
Author:McLaughlin, FionaISNI
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic term:Senegal
popular music
praise poetry (form)
Religion and Witchcraft
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Architecture and the Arts
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/1161108
Abstract:This article explores the influence of Islam on popular music in Senegal. Almost every Senegalese popular musician has a repertoire that includes several songs that could be characterized as Islamic, but the vast majority of them take the form of praise songs not to God, but to a marabout or Sufi religious leader. The author suggests that such songs represent the emergence of a 'new tradition' in which the form of the griot's praise song, originally sung to honour ruling families and nobility all over the western Sahel, converges with the reality of a social order that is based on a uniquely Senegalese variety of Sufism. The trend is new insofar as 'pop' music is a relatively recent phenomenon; it reflects tradition insofar as it borrows from pre-existing forms of verbal art. The analysis places the emergence of this hybrid form of praise song in its social context by examining the dynamics and entailments of two patron-client relationships, one secular - the relationship between griots and the people they praise, the other religious - the relationship between Sufi leaders and their disciples. The author suggests that the recent adaptation of the praise-singing tradition to Islam represents the opening of a middle ground in which a multiplicity of cultural, religious and commercial factors converges to shape the nature of contemporary Senegalese popular music. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French.