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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Making the case for popular songs in East Africa: Samba Mapangala and Shaaban Robert
Author:Rosenberg, Aaron L.ISNI
Periodical:Research in African Literatures
Geographic terms:East Africa
Congo (Democratic Republic of)
popular music
Swahili language
About persons:Samba Mapangala
Shaaban bin Robert (1909-1962)ISNI
External link:http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/research_in_african_literatures/v039/39.3.rosenberg.pdf
Abstract:The relative exclusion of popular song vis--vis other forms of expression in scholarship on African literature and oral verbal art is a serious oversight that needs to be reconsidered and rectified. This article constitutes a comparative analysis of two wordsmiths from East Africa whose works embody the salient relationships and overlapping tendencies of works considered 'high' literary art and popular songs, which are thought to constitute a different type of artistic productivity. A consideration of the poetry and prose of Shaaban Robert (Tanzania, 1909-1962), one of the giants of Swahili literature, in conjunction with the songs of Samba Mapangala, a popular singer who has become a household name in East Africa, reveals that there are significant points of contact between both popular songs and other forms of verbal art in the region. The article deals largely with the verbal content of the works in question, both songs and literature, and their activation in different social contexts. Samba Mapangala hails from the Democratic Republic of Congo, but has travelled to Uganda, Kenya and the United States, where he presently resides. His songs are sung in a combination of Swahili, Lingala and French, with the occasional phrase in English. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract]