Verbal-Text as a Process of Compositional and Improvisational Elaboration in Litungu Music

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VERBAL-TEXT AS A PROCESS OF COMPOSITIONAL AND IMPROVISATIONAL ELABORATION IN BUKUSU LITUNGU MUSIC

by

ABIGAEL NANCY MASASABI

Submitted in accordance with the requirements for the degree of

DOCTOR OF MUSICOLOGY

at the

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH AFRICA

SUPERVISOR: DR MARIE R. JORRITSMA

CO- SUPERVISOR: DR FLORENCE NGALE MIYA

MAY 2011

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DECLARATION

Student number: 3658-166-6

I declare that VERBAL-TEXT AS A PROCESS OF COMPOSITIONAL AND IMPROVISATIONAL ELABORATION IN BUKUSU LITUNGU MUSIC is my own work and that all sources that I have used or quoted have been indicated and acknowledged by means of complete references.

________________________ SIGNATURE (Miss A N Masasabi)

______________ DATE

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DEDICATION To the late Japheth Muia Mutangili and my daughter Grace Buyanzi.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This work would not have been accomplished without the moral and professional support of a number of individuals. I am particularly grateful to my supervisors for their patience, support and guidance. I thank Dr Marie Jorritsma for her perceptiveness in matters of theoretical content, language and organization. Her careful reading and criticisms led to substantial improvement in the quality of this thesis. I am also indebted to my second supervisor Dr Florence Ngale Miya whose comments and suggestions were a source of inspiration. Dr Miya‘s encouragement and her confidence in my ability kept me going throughout my work. I thank Dr Kidula for taking time to critique my thesis, directing me to books relevant to my study and for sending me a number of articles that enhanced my thesis. I thank Dr and Prof Tamusuza for insightful criticisms to the theory, method and terminologies used in my thesis. I also thank Dr Kilonzo for her encouragement and for proofreading my thesis. In addition I would like to appreciate Dr Omondi Okech for editing my thesis.

I would also like to acknowledge the assistance of Fred Wekesa Kusienya and Isaac Shitubi who made my fieldwork much easier. They helped me to identify interviewees and escorted me during my fieldwork. Shitubi was instrumental during the interview process and Kusienya assisted me by verifying the translations of songs from Lubukusu to English. I appreciate the cooperation I received from my interviewees who included members of the Jackson Kisika Band, the Namatete Band, the Sinani Group Band, the Lugulu Bumusika Band and the Kwane Band.

Many thanks go to my parents Cleophas Masasabi and Grace Masasabi, my brothers Richard and Wellington, and sisters Catherine and Dorcas for their support and inspiration. Special thanks to my mother for taking care of my baby Grace as I was busy collecting data.

Finally, I appreciate the almighty God for giving me strength and the sound mind to undertake this study.

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ABSTRACT The Bukusu community is predominantly found in Bungoma district of Western Kenya. The Litungu is a word referring to a lyre among the Bukusu community. Music accompanied by this instrument is what is referred to as Litungu music. This music makes use of sung text and “verbal-text”/ silao-sikeleko (speech and speech-melody) and silao-sikeleko is the focal point of this study. Silao-sikeleko is performed in alternation with sung text in Litungu music. This study seeks to identify the cultural and compositional role of silao-sikeleko in the music. To achieve the objectives of this study I used a qualitative approach to collect and analyze data. Data collection included the use of interviews and observation. The interviewees included performers of Litungu music, whose music was audio recorded and video recorded for analysis. In addition, I made observations of the performance sites and performance behaviour, taking notes and making audio and video recording. Music for analysis was then selected on the basis that it had the silao-sikeleko component. The Bukusu cultural view of silao-sikeleko is discussed in relation to their customs...
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