In 2005, in Uganda, East African Breweries Limited (EABL) launched a traditional dance competition, the Senator National Cultural Extravaganza. Across the country, local groups were called upon to perform traditional-style song and dance advertisements for Senator Extra Lager, a brand of beer EABL designed specifically for poor rural markets. David G. Pier conducts an ethnographic study of this branded musical event, focusing on the rural performance groups, corporate marketers, and culture brokers who made it happen. He argues that an ascendant culture of promotion, shaped by overlapping, globalized discourses of marketing and sustainable development, is changing how Ugandans think about the power of performance. This is an illuminating and highly readable study of the shifting meanings of traditional African music and dance in the neoliberal era.
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David G. Pier offers an ethnographic study of the Senator Extravaganza traditional dance competition in Uganda, and the performers, marketers, and other actors who were involved in it. Pier illustrates the event as part of a broader moment in Ugandan and African public culture - one in which marketing is playing an increasingly dominant role.About the Author:
David G. Pier is Assistant Professor in the Department of African, African American, and Diaspora Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA. An ethnomusicologist studying music and cultural politics in Africa and the United States, his work has been published in such leading journals as Africa.
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