Journal of World Popular Music, Vol 6, No 1 (2019)

From Worldbeat to Localbeat: Towards a Theory of the Transformation of Music from the Borrowed to the Local

Wonderful Godwin Bere
Issued Date: 18 Jun 2019

Abstract


The article sets out to understand the processes through which urban grooves, a localized version of hip hop, has been accepted as a local music form in Zimbabwe, even when it has clear foreign sources. It specifically sets out to answer the question: what are the conditions that have resulted in the acceptance of urban foreign musics as being Zimbabwean urban grooves? In answering this question and presenting a genealogy of the music, this article invariably proffers a theory of the formation of urban grooves. It problematizes "worldbeat" as a musical category in the West in order to deploy it in understanding urban grooves. The research used autoethnography, content analysis of collected urban grooves songs, interviews of relevant artists and participant-observation of relevant shows, recording sessions and other events to arrive at the conclusions. The researcher is implicated in the study, as he is an urban grooves artist who examines his own work together with that of others. The article demonstrates the concept of worldbeat and argues that the term ubiquitously refers to any music foreign to a particular place. When foreign music is localized through internalization, it then becomes, what the author calls, "localbeat". The research also argues that foreign music becomes local when local languages, local lyrical content, and sound accompaniment recognized as local are used in the music.

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DOI: 10.1558/jwpm.28024

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