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Last Updated: Friday, 10 February 2006, 16:11 GMT
Do you enjoy modern music?
Crowds enjoying the music: photo courtesy of zanzibar.net
Are you happy with the direction music is taking in your region?

The Swahili Music Festival in Zanzibar incorporates traditional and modern, taraab and rap. The crowds who turn out to enjoy the music are mostly local, although there are also tourists.

Whilst the wealth and diversity of music is on show, there is also tension between the old and the new.

What is happening in your locality? How do you feel about new styles of music? Which ones are going down well? Has something been lost? Is technology taking over from talent?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Your comments:

Abdulahi and Uche, I beg to disagree with your condemnation of young Nigerian musicians. Talents are born every day and they continue to do us proud. From the 'Plantashun Boys' era, Tu Face Idibia has epitomised good music. Last year, he won the MTV African prize. Wouldn't you agree with me that his 'You are my African Queen' song is a masterpiece?
Emeka Obiodu, London UK

I was in Zanzibar during the shows and I really enjoyed the event. I prefer both modern and old music if it is done in right way. If the new generations are not taught about their roots then nothing old will stay. So we need to take both seriously and put them together in a positive way. I call upon all elders to come out and teach young people about the footsteps of their origins and be sure that the NEW will be in OLD taste.
Gwalugano, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Before the advent of African hip hop nearly all Kenyan musicians were paupers
Willie Chopa, USA
The good thing about modern music is that it has given Kenyan musicians an opportunity to earn a living from music. Before the advent of African hip hop, nearly all Kenyan musicians were paupers. Very few could sell a records.
Willie Chopa, Ruston, USA

I think every piece of music - soukous, merenge, chacha, salsa, combia, pop, rock and roll, rap, blues, jazz, gospel, - all have a meaning and a message. It is the message in every music that I listen to. The world would be an empty place if we didn't have music. Is just like politicians, it is not what they say, but what they mean by what they say. God bless all our musicians
Frank Agudah, Grand Prairie, tx usa

In the old days, our elderly parents used to say that music is language whatever its content. I have no specific choice between old and modern music, but I enjoy any music if its purpose is to reflect nature, society's way of thinking and life.
Dandawe, US

Jazz was once considered modern music. In Europe it was once considered black music: foreign, and morally corrupting. I'm glad the youth of the day didn't listen to their conservative elders. Jazz, reggae, blues, r&b but also rhumba, high-life and many other African sounds now add spice and colour to my culture. Long live diversity!
Melle, Den Haag, Netherlands

Technology is not taking over from talent but acts as an amplifier
Darius Ndyomugyenyi Omushambo, Uganda
Yes, I do enjoy modern music. A drastic and far-reaching change in ways of thinking and innovation is happening in our locality. New styles of music have proved their worthiness. Though some old styles must not fade, at least the revolution has put new ones above the sea level. Surely, they are applicable and relevant to the issues at hand locally. Technology is not taking over from talent but acts as an amplifier in the process of implementing it.
Darius Ndyomugyenyi Omushambo, Kampala, Uganda

It's quite difficult these days to differentiate the so- called contemporary music from noise.
Pascal, Nigerian in Bournemouth, UK

In recent times Ghana has seen a blend of indigenous highlife and US urban hip hop producing a new "genre" dubbed "hip-life". A few young artistes have made excellent strides in this new arena attracting "full houses" during performances at home as well as for Ghanaians in the diaspora. They are, however, yet to cut it on the international music scenes as did Osibisa, E.T Mensah and others. Hip life is modern music and I should admit that I enjoy it.
Rex Asare, Amsterdam, NL

I quite agree with Abdulai from Lagos. Music today has lost its meaning! The ruckus called hip-hop and grunge or alternative is constantly blaring from radio stations, no talents, no direction, a complete inferno if i dare say. The Nigerian so-called talents have done nothing but duplicate works from America and Britain...reckless xeros! A complete damage to our youths, culture and a disgrace to real African musicians.
Uche, London, England

I hate the so-called modern music. What is modern music? It is the destruction of our African heritage and it is polluting our culture. Modern music is corrupt and has nothing to offer to the public especially the young ones. The lyrics of modern music is full of obscenity. Please Africa, do not allow the foreign to pollute your sweet tune.
Christy, Grand Cayman

Music like culture is continually evolving. It is a dynamic phenomenon. In Zimbabwe there has been a fusion of old and new music. Some artists like Thomas Mapfumo have fused the mbira (traditional hand piano) and modern instruments to come up with a truly Zimbabwean tune. I do feel that music in Zimbabwe has improved rather than lost something. Technology can never take over African music because music is a way of life and Africans express how they live via music.
Farai Zichawo, Reading, UK

We now have music we can call our own and it has changed the listening habits of the youth especially
Wairimu, Kenyan in US

I am extremely pleased with the direction Kenyan and East African music has taken. We have a lot of artistes that are speaking for the youth yet older music is not entirely forgotten. In Kenya the mixture of traditional music and pop/hip hop etc can be heard on the airwaves all the time. We now have music we can call our own and it has changed the listening habits of the youth especially. In the past, most of the music heard on Kenyan radio was Reggae, Lingala or Western music. Today, there is a drastic turn with people listening to a lot more of 'local' music than other styles.
Wairimu, Kenyan in US

Music today is packaged, in the past it was an art.
Joe Abey, Cameroon/Chicago

New styles of music accompanied by new technology are fine as long they preserve the musical culture of the society. Artists can accomplish this by associating cultural and modern instruments. A good example in this regard is Youssou D'Nour.
Mohamed Edris, Toronto, Canada

I don't think we will have future memories like the "oldies goldies" we have today!
Ronald Nsubuga Tash, Kampala
Nice topic. In Uganda technology is taking over from the talent. Trust me, lots of instruments are missing but as long as you get a sound today that's all. Basically a few of today's styles of music are good and others are needed just to fill the tape so that they can release their tapes, CDs, etc. Being real, I don't think we will have future memories like the "oldies goldies" we have today!
Ronald Nsubuga Tash, Kampala, Uganda

Today's music lacks any direction and the talent is poor. Trash all!
Abdulai Musa, Lagos

Where is the music? I am 48. In my youth, I listened to exquisite music from various parts of the world, and was thrilled. Music by OK Jazz of the now DR Congo, E.T. Mensah of Ghana, our own plethora of musicians: Ebenezer Obey, Sunny Okosun, Sunny Ade, not to forget the inimitable king of them all - Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, with music whose lyrics were meaningful, philosophical, music that was danceable, rhythmic. A measure of their lasting quality can still be found in the fact that they are still selling in their millions today. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of music of today's music. It lacks any direction and the talent is poor. To hide these facts, these musicians christian their music with all kinds of funny names: rap, hip-hop, a rehash of recycled gospel music. Trash all! In Nigeria, not a single remarkable talent has emerged in the last 15 years or so. What we have now are musicians responding to the prevailing poverty in the land - they produce work that responds to the fad of the moment, and disappears almost immediately. No Nigerian music of today can survive three months before its extinction.
Abdulai Musa, Lagos, Nigeria


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