The music culture in any given society has impacted society in diverse ways unknown to mankind. It’s valued effect can not be easily deduced but has history will have it, cultural occurrences and behavioural patterns have been in multiples.
Definition of Music
One definition of music that appears to me is this…
Music is a vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) combined in such a way as to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion.
If we regard music as an expression of emotions, then there is a possibility that individual expression varies. Be it a singer, musician or not of the above, the way and method in which an individual will relate with a particular song will be absolutely distinct from another. Therefore, if there are no precise procedures of expressing an emotion, then the significance of music will be based on unique appreciations.
The effect of music
- Music brings out an intuition, an ideology of a person and a people.
- Music informs and gives reforms to societal culture.
- It brings about transformation and togetherness.
There may be times when the world will be in distress like this present pandemic, and everyone looks up high. For a brighter and better day — music can stand in the void to give that hope.
It can also be the standard of living in a country, the combat for justice, peace, love for humanity, and sovereignty. These crises can as politely be met through music. The Jamaica singer Bob Marley addresses the issue of racism in his country through his song. He made references as to how humans of all race should live and behave. I quote in his words.
If you’re white and you’re wrong, then you’re wrong; if you’re black and you’re wrong, you’re wrong. People are people. Black, blue, pink, green – God make no rules about colour; only society make rules where my people suffer, and that why we must have redemption and redemption now.”
With his music, he has been able to convey his dissatisfaction on the ill-treatment on the black race and to help amend this ill attitude that is becoming a norm, he made a clarion call to all humanity for redemption.
He believes society has a role to play but who is the society? What makes up a society? What are the norms governing a society? These are the questions we should ask ourselves. A society can not exist without its culture and culture can not stand without a society.
What makes up a society
Society can not be defined from one aspect because it encompasses a larger population. Nonetheless, a narrowed definition of society can be observed as collective opinions and behaviours of a set of people. The ways in which Africans perceive certain things are absolutely going to be different from the way the western world view it.
Opinions and beliefs vary. Religious worship and educational practices also vary. Even if they all fall under one model, their cultural differences set them apart. Nevertheless, music has helped to bridge that gap. It has been proven over time to cross borders. That is why is worth can not be overrated.
The popular musician from South Africa Lucky dube said…
Look at me you see BLACK
I look at you I see WHITE
Now is the time to kick that away
And join me in my song
So far so good we still living today
But we don’t know what tomorrow brings
In this crazy world
People dying like flies every day
You read about it in the news
But you don’t believe it
You’ll only know about it
When the man in the long black coat
Knocks on your door
‘Cause you’re his next victim
As you are living in this
Oh Lord Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
And if I die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take.”
The world is changing
Take your time, look around
Make the right decision
Take a look at those lines again. Does it make any sense to you? Can it fit into today’s world? Is it a prayer you think will all should make?
Lucky is not living in our times yet he has left us with words to ponder upon. That last statement really crowned it all “make the right decision”. At any given time and moment, make the judgment that will be a footprint to others in years to come.
Music culture in Nigeria
The music culture in Nigeria has also discovered limelight. It has not only impacted the nation but also gained significance in other countries. For a better understanding, we should take a glimpse at culture.
Culture can be referred to as the ideas, customs, and behaviour of a particular people or society.
Having seen the definition of culture, can you recognize how intertwined it is to society? Every society has a basic and that foundation is the culture.
Before the colonial era, Africans have had ways and behavioural traditions in which society is been run. For example, songs were not just made for entertainment sake but were performed, to teach, admonish, worship and shame any bad conduct. However, during the colonial era, the norms where changed or either amended to suit the dictators. Post-colonial era nonetheless, birthed a new form of society which I call a hybrid society. Africa is now a hybrid society. Because in every African country that was colonies, you will always see their imprint in every sector – be it music, language, politics, education and dress code. So it is a society with a mix of the European ideologies.
Some Africans are however beginning to learn about their root and accept their true identity. An identity and culture that is devoid of western influence.
Another notable musician who challenges the status quo of his country is Fela Anikulapo Kuti. This name means “he who carriers death in his pouch”. Like in a typical African society a child’s name is a living journal.
Fela was irritated by the unending oppression suffered by Nigerians from the then military rule and in protest to that, he left his mark with this song written in pigin language. He said…
The time wey I dey for prison, I call am inside world
The time wey I dey outside prison, I call am outside world
Na craze world, no be outside world
No be outside the police dey
No be outside the soldier dey
No be outside the court dem dey
No be outside the magistrate dey
No be outside the judge dem dey
Na craze world be dat
No be outside Buhari dey
In summary, what he was trying to say is that they say prison is made for those who did not follow the rules governing the society but in retrospect, it is the outside world that is full of crazy people and not the prison.
Outside the world, you see police who kill unjustly and they walk freely on the street. Also, you see judges who take bribes an President who do not care about the lives of his citizens. Crazy world.
In other words, the prison is just a fraction of the larger community of crazy and inhumane people walking along the street.
Musical culture has empowered the lives of individuals and society. Its positive impact on the diverse sector can not be overestimated. Regardless of these, the importance and ways it is related it’s based on individual preferences.
At the end of the day, we should strive to make the right ruling anywhere we find ourselves. How do you express yourself through music? And what does it mean to you?