Music and new frontiers

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There was a time when it seemed as if music made by folks of African heritages was going to focus only on electronic sounds inspired by American ‘urban’ genres, intended for clubs and parties. Now it is clear that this is not the case.

On social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram many young musicians are presenting images of themselves playing orchestral instruments. This is an encouraging trend.

To reach desired levels of proficiency, everyone who learns to play music in the traditional or formal sense engages with music that was created in the past for his or her instrument, naturally.

Does this mean that these musicians emerging from various African cities should aim for careers of playing mainly European and American repertoire? One would hope not.

Pioneering African composers from previous generations created a body of work which should serve as a template to inspire those of us who are still around to broaden the range of our canon. Art music with an African aesthetic has a promising future.