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Territoires musicaux mis en scène

Monique Desroches
Marie-Hélène Pichette
Claude Dauphin
et al.

III. Performances traditionnelles et actuelles

Divided Kingdom Republic’s Zimbabwean hip-hop in London

Andrew Mark


Hip-hop group the Divided Kingdom Republic (dkr) present a fascinating opportunity to examine how the struggle for creative authenticity and signature sounds within the boundaries of pop music can push artists to engage their indigenous heritage. This paper examines the dkr’s creative process while problematizing their use of the mbira dzaVadzimu musical instrument. Through transcription analysis and conversations with the dkr, it unpacks layers of meaning within their songs as they relate to their transnational lives. Ultimately it argues that by successfully challenging authenticities of mbira and hip-hop performance through unique musical endeavor, Munyaradzi and Kudakwashe have established visions and goals that offer an impressive reinterpretation of mbira music for Zimbabwean musicians to gather behind.

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Extrait du texte

The subject of authenticity, conformity and innovation within tradition and genre has piqued the concern of academics for centuries, and today, diasporic communities created through globalization present fascinating case studies of these issues. The following discussion stems from a long history of North American academic and popular interest in and documentation of Zimbabwean musical practices, and my place as a North American in this history is evidence of a continuing fascination. My regard for Zimbabwean mbira dzaVadzimu music led me to the Divided Kingdom Republic hip-hop crew (hereafter the dkr). The dkr, including mcs Kudakwashe Musasiwa and Munyaradzi Murenga Nota, are a part of a minority of Zimbabwean musicians who use mbira in a way that, on first listening, seems completely removed from the ancient traditions of the instrument. Examining the dkr’s use of the instrument provides an entry point for appreciation of the challenge their music presents to North American, tradi...


Andrew Mark is a Ph.D, student at York University in the Faculty of Environmental Studies. Having finished his Ethnomusicology M.A. on the role of ethnomusicology in spreading Zimbabwean music to North America, he is now turning his focus towards the social practice of music as it contributes to sustainability in rural and utopian communities. In particular, he is planning to move ahead with participatory ethnographic research with musicians on Hornby Island in British Columbia.

© Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 2011

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