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New Music Concepts 2019

The Dagbon Hiplife Zone in Northern Ghana Contemporary Idioms of Music Making in Tamale

Part of the New Music Concepts book series (NMC volume 6)
ISBN: 978-88-944350-0-9

Author(s): Dominik Phyfferoen

Abstract: In this paper we discuss the results of a survey study we conducted in the cosmopolitan city of Tamale on the local urban informal popular music industries we called the Dagbon Hiplife Zone in Northern Ghana. By means of music examples, we show how traditional African idioms of music-making creatively blend with cross-cultural and cross-musical components that stem from Africa, Afro-American, Bollywoodish and Western inspired idioms of music making. The aim of the survey study was to map the radius, location, and organization of the local informal popular urban music industries in and around Tamale, including its artists, stakeholders and various distribution channels. We conducted a survey research on the consumption of music in this city in both the digital idioms and the traditional idioms of music making and a survey on transformational processes, continuity and change in the traditional and contemporary idioms of music making in several Senior High Schools in and around Tamale. The paper starts with a small introduction on the dynamics of music making in the traditional and contemporary idioms in Dagbon society with the emphasis on the Dagbon Hiplife Zone in Tamale. The Hiplife Zone is an intangible cultural in-betweenness where transformational processes are taking place. It as a mindset where new forms of idioms of music making are developed. Traditional idioms of music making are blended and merged new idioms of music making. The contemporary idioms of music making in Dagbon are represented in "The Hiplife Zone", an intangible liminal imaginary creative time space zone were music components coming from the traditional idiom of music making interact with components coming from the local, regional and global contemporary idioms of music making. It is a mindset of the young talented creative artists working and exploring new ways, methods and ideas of making and creating music by interacting with each other on the level of the local informal music industry in Tamale. The concept of the "Northern Ghanaian Artists" as a cultural cosmopolitan identity by artists is Tamale is a very interesting phenomenon and a good example how cultural identities are blended, created and represented in the city and in cyberspace.

Keywords: Hiplife Zone, The Intensity Factor, The Sahelian Factor, Cultural ambivalence, Embodied music interaction