• Contemporary Art Music: A Sociological Discourse on the Colonial and Post-Colonial Struggles for Cultural Relevance and Preservation in the Nigerian Experience

    Chinedum N. Osinigwe, Ph.D.
    Department of Performing Arts & Music, Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo State, Nigeria


    Colonialism has remained a widely discussed phenomenon, especially within the political and academic spheres of countries of the African continents whose experience of the subject matter has remained indelible in their socio-cultural consciousness. It has been a widely held view that colonialism was a calculated attempt by European imperialists to have invaded the socio-cultural lives of Africans to accomplish their capitalist agenda. This study, however, discusses the expressive and evolutionary compositional trends of the musical genre (art music) practised within the colonial and post-colonial eras by some European-trained musicians of Nigerian descent. The conscious efforts by these musicians in advancing their ethnic and cultural solidarities using the platform of their musical vocation also foreshadow the intent and purpose of this study. The study adopts a descriptive approach in discussing the primary data (art music) and also periodizing the compositional styles and philosophical positions taken by these Nigerian composers and music practitioners within the colonial dispensation and beyond. Key musical influences on the composer’s philosophical and musical approaches come under scrutiny and are discussed in perspective within the period under study. Furthermore, the historical approach of this study especially on colonialism and its antecedents creates the need to anchor the theoretical framework on the post-colonial theory which evaluates socio-cultural struggles for freedom, liberty, identity, and relevance, especially within the art music tenets. Online Advocacies by music enthusiasts and practitioners in Nigeria within the twenty-first century period were discussed and their different modus operandi and objectives were highlighted. Furthermore, the researcher’s experience as an art musician in Nigeria and his musical contributions towards the development of the art music scene were adequately shared.

    Keywords: Art music, post-colonial, cultural relevance, preservation, periodization.

    Pages: 19 – 29 | Full PDF Paper