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North Africa - Essay Example

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This geography paper is about North Africa - its cultural and historical aspects, geographical features, political and social issues. …
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Download file to see previous pages It is a common misconception that the clusters of nations that make up the continent of Africa are just that, and nothing more. The lack of familiarity, and hence appreciation for these uniquely diverse groups of peoples and cultures perpetuates a stigma of uniformity that belies the truth. What many fail to realize is that, approximately one billion people, made up of nearly 3000 ethnic groups speaking in 2000-3000 different languages (Kaiser 15 January 2013), inhabit this majestic continent. All general notions of uniformity dealt and disposed with, I would like to take a closer look at the specific region of North Africa in order to discuss the larger historical, cultural and social influences, and the effect that they have impressed upon the music in this subcontinent.North Africa has a very influential historical background which is distinctively composed of many civilizations, empires and kingdoms; for instance, the Nok Civilization which remained in power from 500BCE to 200CE (approximate figures) similarly the Kingdom of Ghana which maintained its authority over the continent from 830 to 1235. The African continent is inhabited by emigrants belonging to different parts of the world who until the 20th century did not even consider themselves as Africans (Kaiser, Africa and Ethnomusicology). The word ‘Africa’ is derived from Arabic term Ifriqiye which was an expression for the coastal areas of North Africa. Slavery carried diverse groups of people to the African land who were then recognized as one, which ultimately developed the basic thought of Africa among the residents of many countries. The extremely brutal form of slavery led the scholars of the black population; particularly those who had left their ancestral land and migrated to North Africa to conduct anti-slave campaigns. By the end of the 19th century the term ‘Africa’ was familiar among traders and intellectuals surrounding the coastal towns as the ‘rich diversity’. Due to this the modern day Africans are known to be the descendants of aboriginal Berber and Egyptian populace, in addition to the people of Greek, Phoenician and Roman civilizations, Moor as of Iberian Peninsula along with Arabs and Jewish. Also Sub-Saharan African who came and settled in North Africa due to distant trading and slavery. People from France, Corsica, Malta, etc. are also found in the present day North Africa (Kaiser, CD Problems?). Africans because of their rich historical background and affluent diversity among inhabitants have different religious beliefs and practices in addition to integrated music, art, drama and dance. As a result of diverse Diaspora the music of North America is influenced by their religious beliefs, spirituality, and nature; it characterizes the groups and individuals as per their prior conditions and musical abilities (Kaiser, Africa and Ethnomusicology). Material cultural Africans have their own distinctive music style which compels Westerners to recognize their special music as the ‘African Sound’. The basic idea behind their unique music style is concealed under racial unity, geographic harmony, communal politics/history/economy and above all the cultural concord. African maintain their own cultural attitude which is closely associated with the folklore and actual life events, incorporated in to routine life, active participation in music, drama, dance or visual arts. Ultimately all of these are related to their religious beliefs and nature (Kaiser, Africa and Ethnomusicology). The concept of music does not only encompass the typical music style rather it also includes education, sports and work in addition to visual art, playing instruments, poetry, singing and dancing. Furthermore it includes sounds of humans, animals and instruments as voices, there is a call and response relationship, strong link between motion and rhyme, sound, shape and feeling in the music (Kaiser, Africa a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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