Abstract

Abstract:

Lamu community members used performances of taarab, a music genre popular in East Africa, to localize experiences of social, economic, and cultural change. Performers and audience members regarded their brand of taarab as distinct from elsewhere on the coast, basing such claims on a narrative of leisure-based performances and community entertainment, which they contrasted with the imagined fame and income of urban musicians. Lyrics intellectually grounded audiences’ experiences of living in a dynamic and externally connected society into local moral discourses and community intimacies. Lamu taarab has undergone significant transformations in recent decades, reflecting shifting economic structures, audience preferences, and patterns of work and leisure. Taken together, this article underscores the regional, national, and global processes that shaped local identity and cosmopolitanism.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-1978
Print ISSN
0001-9887
Pages
pp. 82-108
Launched on MUSE
2020-03-01
Open Access
No
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