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Bamako Sounds: The Afropolitan Ethics of Malian Music

Bamako Sounds: The Afropolitan Ethics of Malian Music

by Ryan Thomas Skinner

Paperback(New Edition)

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Bamako Sounds tells the story of an African city, its people, their values, and their music. Centered on the music and musicians of Bamako, Mali’s booming capital city, this book reveals a community of artists whose lives and works evince a complex world shaped by urban culture, postcolonialism, musical expression, religious identity, and intellectual property.

Drawing on years of ethnographic research with classically trained players of the kora (a twenty-one-string West African harp) as well as more contemporary, hip-hop influenced musicians and producers, Ryan Thomas Skinner analyzes how Bamako artists balance social imperatives with personal interests and global imaginations. Whether performed live on stage, broadcast on the radio, or shared over the Internet, music is a privileged mode of expression that suffuses Bamako’s urban soundscape. It animates professional projects, communicates cultural values, pronounces public piety, resounds in the marketplace, and quite literally performs the nation. Music, the artists who make it, and the audiences who interpret it thus represent a crucial means of articulating and disseminating the ethics and aesthetics of a varied and vital Afropolitanism, in Bamako and beyond.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780816693504
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
Publication date: 06/01/2015
Series: A Quadrant Book
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 248
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Ryan Thomas Skinner is assistant professor of ethnomusicology at the Ohio State University. He is the author and illustrator of a children’s book, Sidikiba’s Kora Lesson, and an accomplished kora player.

Table of Contents


Introduction: A Sense of Urban Africa
1. Representing Bamako
2. Artistiya
3. Ethics and Aesthetics
4. A Pious Poetics of Place
5. Money Trouble
6. Afropolitan Patriotism
Conclusion: An Africanist’s Query

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