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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"Ugandan Music in the Marketing Era is an exemplary African case study of social entrepreneurship. International companies exploit local artists while replicating empowerment and public health discourse. NGO advocates, politicians, emerging entrepreneurs, and businessmen invest in music, drama, and dance. They negotiate their well-being in the world through marketing Ugandan performance, while performers try to self-promote and cultural brokers labor to preserve local expressive forms. I hope we will see more ethnographies like this in the future." - Louise Meintjes, author of Sound of Africa!: Making Music Zulu in a South African Studio "Here is a pearl of Africanist scholarship that will foster new conversations among scholars of performance, development studies, and commodity history. Pier's multi-faceted study weaves together meticulous ethnography, economic critique, and musical analysis in a timely account of cultural production in the era of trade-not-aid. He shows how Ugandan musicians and marketers imbue 'promotion' with complex valences in the interlocking registers of traditional laudatory forms, NGO-driven demands for an entrepreneurial ethos, and globalized professional advertising." - Tsitsi Jaji, author of Africa in Stereo: Modernism, Music, and Pan-African SolidarityÜber den Autor:
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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