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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Music, memory and meaning: the Kiswahili recordings of Siti binti Saad
Author:Fair, LauraISNI
Periodical:Afrikanistische Arbeitspapiere: Schriftenreihe des Kölner Instituts für Afrikanistik
Geographic term:Zanzibar
Abstract:Siti binti Saadi (or Saad), a famous 'taarab' musician who performed in Zanzibar during the 1920s and 1930s, was the first East African to have her voice captured and reproduced on 78 rpm gramophone disks. Examination of the recorded music of Siti binti Saadi as well as the memories surrounding her songs and histories of her career suggests that the 'capture' and production of her music granted her an authority, at least in the minds of some, that she might otherwise never have attained. However, interpretations regarding the ultimate sources of this authority as well as its meaning were highly contested. As metaphors for the past, Siti's songs continue to serve as important tools for local agents as they recall and construct their own versions of Zanzibar's past. Elderly men and women who lived through these times frequently draw on Siti's music as mnemonics of memory. Bibliogr., notes, ref. (Also published in: African words, African voices: critical practices in oral history, ed. by Luise White, Stephan F. Miescher, and David William Cohen, Bloomington, IN., cop. 2001, p. 246-263.)