The stage and the auditorium are darkened. Suddenly a noise of clinking glasses in the audience is to hear. The stage light is slowly moved in, it remains dimmed considerably. The room is bare, dark and corresponds to a black box theatre. One can see a mountain of white cups on the right half of the stage.
The solo violin playing of Isaac Molelekoa is so impressive, melancholic and space pervading that the viewers are dispelled. Extremely slow a dancer becomes visible, who stands in a narrow cone of light in the center of the stage. It is a quiet, strong and contrastive picture - this disturbing music of the violinist, that encourages you to move either internally or externally, and the continued structural integrity of the dancer Maqoma on stage.
For four days last month, tens of thousands of fans from around the world descended on Essaouira, Morocco, for an African musical extravaganza: the annual festival Gnaoua et Musiques du Monde, now in its 14th edition. The protagonist of this musical feast was as usual Gnawa music: when to Gnawa masters like Mustapha Baqbou, Mohammed Guinea, and Hassan Boussou were not on the main public stages, they were performing lilas (night of healing) that began at midnight at different riads (traditional style Moorish house with a courtyard); and that is where true European aficionados went to trance and to learn the specifics of daqa marrakchiya (the percussive clap associated with the city of Marrakesh).
This paper explores Lisbon’s contemporary music scenes within the perspective of music and cultural circulation. It discusses the various ways in which music and cities interact, in a context of increased inter-connectedness between the local and the global. It suggests that music creation and performance (and more broadly, cultural innovation), cannot be reduced to neither grassroots nor institutional initiatives. On the premises of the existence of a so-called “global culture”, cities tend to reinvent themselves by promoting various (and eventually competing) self-definitions. In the case of Lisbon, this tendency is accompanied by a seemingly increased desire to connect (or re-connect) with the Lusophone world, eventually informing Lisbon’s self-images as an inclusive and multicultural city. In this process, new forms of ethnicity may gain visibility in the marketing of Luso-World music (or World music as practiced in the Portuguese-speaking countries). At the horizon of imagined cities as “transcultural megacities”, music tends to gain agency in the promotion of senses of place and belonging in, and to the city.
Even today, an analysis of the complex role of music in film is often forgotten by critics, many of whom remain prostrate before the dictatorship of the image. Yet as a manifestation of culture, music has a privileged position with respect to the study of representations of identity and ideology; moreover, in its subversive and dialogic aspects, it can reveal significant directorial decisions related to dynamics of power and exclusion.
Musseque residents would likely have said, “my suffering, yes, but ours as well.”
Music, in late colonial Angola took private grief and by performing it publicly made it collective. The sound, and perhaps even the process, was attractive to whites as well and in an ironic twist on the lusotropical narrative, by the early 1970s, whites made their way to the musseques in sizeable numbers to hear Ngola Ritmos and other popular bands play.
Her compositions were first known only in a small inner circle, but with the Luanda Song Festival, her work became known to a wider public. In the 60s she had formed a duo with the Portuguese journalist Adelino Tavares da Silva, who had just arrived in Angola. They composed four or five songs together and then registered in the Portuguese Writers’ Association, with Adelino as songwriter and Ana Maria as composer. It can be said that the duo revolutionised the Song Festival, when Maria Provocação was performed by Sara Chaves and Mulata é a Noite by Concha de Mascarenhas. They were both accompanied by Ngola Ritmos, the Angolan rhythm group.