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South African Popular Music

From the storied ache of mbube harmonies of the '40s to the electronic boom of kwaito and the amapiano and house explosion of the '00s, this book explores vignettes taken from across South Africa's popular music history. There are moments in time where music can be a mighty weapon in the fight for freedom. Disguised in a danceable hook or shouted for the world to hear, artists have used songs to deliver important truths and bring listeners together in the face of a segregated reality. In the grip of the brutal apartheid era, South Africa crafted its own idiosyncratic popular musical vernacular that operated both as sociopolitical tool and realm of escape. In a country with 11 official languages, music had the power to unite South Africans in protest. Artists bloomed a new idyll from the branches of countless storied musical traditions, and in turn found themselves banned or exiled - the profound epiphany that music can exist both within the pleasure of itself and for serving a far greater purpose.

South African Popular Music

  • Lior Phillips

    Demonstrates the split personalities of South African popular music, and how it spread around the world and yet retained a full suite of unique and original languages, both literally and figuratively.
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  • Book Details

    Imprint: Bloomsbury Academic
    Publication Date: 04-05-2023
    Format: Paperback | 5 x 7 3/4 | 192 pages
  • About the Author

    Lior Phillips is a South African music and culture journalist originally from Cape Town, now based in Chicago, USA. She writes about music, film, art, and more for international publications, including Dazed and Confused Magazine, The Recording Academy, Variety, Billboard, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, The Quietus, NPR, The Guardian, Consequence of Sound, and GQ South Africa. In addition, she is the creator, producer, and host of This Must Be the Gig, a podcast dedicated to artists' vital memories of their first gigs and passion for live music and performance.

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