Kanyeleng Women Musicians and Public Healing in The Gambia
Kanyeleng women musicians in the Muslim West African context of The Gambia declare proudly that they “have no shame” (i buka malu). Comprised of infertile women and women whose children have died, kanyeleng performance groups are renowned for ridiculing authority, cross-dressing, and entertaining crowds with their flamboyant and outrageous performance style. In this talk, I investigate complex dynamics of transgression and accommodation in kanyeleng performances of “public healing” (Berger 2014). Drawing on ethnographic research with performers and health workers in The Gambia (2012-2013), I show that kanyeleng women have adapted indigenous musical healing practices in order to address emerging public health problems in contemporary Gambia. I argue that kanyeleng women have used musical performance strategically in order to transform their position in society and assert their continued relevance in twenty-first century Gambia.
Bonnie McConnell is a lecturer in ethnomusicology at the Australian National University. She received her PhD from the University of Washington in 2015. Bonnie has been involved in collaborative research and performance projects in The Gambia since 2006. Her primary research interests include music, gender and health; music and Islam; and music of Africa and the African diaspora. Her research has been published in the journals Ethnomusicology, Social Science & Medicine, Voices: A World Forum for Ethnomusicology, Africa Today, and Popular Music and Society.
Dates & times
|Date||Time||Add to calendar|
|14 Feb 2018||12:00pm - 1:30pm|
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