Website Design For Music Composers

Posted by: | Posted on: August 19, 2014

The ever-changing world of the internet, coupled with expanding technology and falling equipment costs, have made it possible for music composers to operate on their own, both in the production and marketing of their music. However, in order to take advantage of this new digital age, a musician must have a well constructed website to promote their work.

Website design is a crucial element for the freelance composer who wants to pick up work and market their music on the internet. It is the first and only thing that prospective clients and fans will see when they search for you or happen across you on the web. With this in mind, you need to make a good impression.

For a music composer, the most important aspect of a website is to have samples of your work. You need to have audio or video files that feature your music as one of the first things people get to. They should be clearly labeled and easy to find and operate.

Film composers will want to have video samples from films they have scored as well as some audio tracks. A non-film music composer may not have video samples, but it is still a good idea to have pictures that correspond to the audio tracks. Having some sort of visual elements on your site will make it seem more professional and appealing to the eye.

Besides music samples, a composers website should contain information about their musical education or experience, philosophy on music, past composing work, and other personal information. People should be able to get a good feel for you and the music you produce from what they read on your site.

Since its important to get traffic in the internet world, you will want your site to be optimized for search engines, meaning certain key words should be emphasized in the title and content of your site. Your name should obviously be featured prominently. You want someone to be able to type your name into Google and have your site come up as the first result.

The last essential part of your site is a good way for people to contact you. Try to find some kind of contact form plugin that you can install in one of your pages. The method of simply writing your email address somewhere or putting in some mail-to code is more time consuming for the people emailing you and is less impressive to potential clients.

For the modern music composer, having a presence on the internet is an important part of getting your music heard. You will not be taken as seriously without a nice site and will be preventing yourself from getting plugged into new marketing streams and networks that have risen with the growing capabilities of the web.


URBAN GROOVES MUSIC IN ZIMBABWE A case study of how American music influences other cultures and identities

Posted by: | Posted on: August 10, 2014

CHAPTER ONE

1.0 INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

In Zimbabwe music has always held a special place among the people. Zimbabwean music is always intertwined with the country’s political history. During the war of liberation, Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) launched its own private radio station called Voice of Zimbabwe, which broadcasted from Maputo, Mozambique. The party’s choirs used to sing militant songs, which were, broadcasted on the station as a moral-booster for the guerilla fighters and their peasant supporters. Music became part of the liberation war strategy2. Even after independence in 1980 many of the choirs continued to sing and record many political songs like Zvinozibwa ne Zanu and Taireva by the ZANU Choir.

Other musicians of the liberation struggle era include the likes of Thomas Mapfumo whose fame rose around 1967. Mapfumo blended traditional Shona mbira music with Western instruments and a political message with traditional metaphors. During the 1960s he used to sing very militant political songs, which were very popular among the people fighting for independence. According to Turino (2000:174), -..Some of the music was used to generate an emotional force which nationalism required-. This formed the basis for nationalist discourse.

When a musical fad called urban grooves hit the Zimbabwean market following the introduction of the 75 percent local policy on broadcasting in 2001, a number of critics whined and sentenced them to death. They were accused of being copycats of American musicians especially hip hop musicians. Though they use indigenous languages in their music, they are still branded as being unoriginal. Many urban grooves musicians have produced soul-lifting and enjoyable music which is popular among the youth . The youth of today have a burning passion for a career in music, especially when they see musicians of their age gracing important occasions and childhood friends making headlines for their stage perfomances and celebrity lifestyles. This has led many to try their luck in the music business when they realize the attention their peers attract in the streets and wish they could be the toast of their fans3. However in some cases passion has taken precedence over talent because some of them are pushed by the desire to be heard and seen when they lack talent and seriousness. In the end, they end up imitating American musicians in order to gain recognition. (The Herald: 15 feb 2004)

However urban grooves is not a Zimbabwean phenomenon. From Zimbabwe to Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania, the urban contemporary music is now the in-thing and the most talked about genre with most of it being played on African radio stations. One can now enjoy music sung in isiNdebele, KiSwahili or Bemba even if these are foreign languages.(The Herald :7 feb 2004) .In urban grooves music, local beats are fused with R&B, soul, soul, reggae and hip-hop to come out with a different blend. This new wave seems to have a contagious effect and is still spreading all over Africa. In Tanzania it is known as Bongo Flavour. (The Herald 7 Feb 2004). When the government of Zimbabwe introduced the seventy-five percent local content, the aim was to produce something which is African and home-grown. While urban grooves music is home-grown, yet effects of globalization on their music take center stage with some claiming that they lack Zimbabwean identity. With the rise of the urban grooves music genre, some traditional recording companies were not keen to sign them because they lacked experience in music production, hence the poor quality of their music. (The Sunday Mail:8 May 2004) In 2001 Elliot Manyika, the then Minister of Youth, Development and Employment Creation recorded an album Mwana wevhu (Son of the Soil) with the praise song Nora that praised President Robert Mugabe. The government started releasing a series of campaign jingles like, -Chave Chimurenga, Ramba Wakashinga, and Sendekera mwana wevhu- among others, but all meant to promote government policies.

In replacing the -banned’ songs with its own commissioned music, the government wanted to kill two birds with one stone, that is killing protest music and making sure the rebellious musicians’ music is not bought thereby forcing them into submission.This caused many ordinary people to shun national radio and television with attention swayed to international music using satellites especially in urban areas. Some people felt there was too much propaganda in national broadcasting content5. In 2005, an international website promoting the rights of musicians had this to say on the broadcasting content policy of the government:

-Zimbabwe, suffering under sanctions, shut out from the international community, responding to its own deep resonance of its own sounds, seeing plots and conspiracies all around it-.hence the need of -feel good art’ in which state radio and television are replete with propaganda jingles- ( “>http://www.freemuse.org:sep> 2005)

What was emphasized during this period was liberation struggle nationalist culture.

In 2001, the Minister of Information and Publicity had announced that it was now compulsory for all radio and television stations to allocate a staggering seventy-five percent of all programming to local productions 6.The government banned international songs on Power FM, as it introduced the one hundred percent local content on the radio station. The government hid under the banner of -reAfricanisation’ and -culture’. The Chronicle (15 Sep 2005) reported that the one hundred percent local content was later reduced to seventy-five percent on Power FM in September 2005. Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings Corporate Secretary, Jennifer Tanyanyiwa confirmed the changes and said :

– Ever since its launch in January 2004, Power FM has successfully promoted the growth of the local music industry by supporting local urban grooves produced by Zimbabwean youths and the time has now come to encourage the cross-fertilization of various types of music- (The Chronicle:15 sep 2005) However this had seen the emergence of a new genre of music called the urban grooves. It was the one hundred percent local content policy, which saw the emergency of urban grooves musicians like Rocqui (now Roki), Decibel and Leonard Mapfumo.

The local content policy was received with mixed feelings by different sections of the media and varied reactions. Zimbabwean journalist Luke Tamborinyoka in Masara (2005:5) said: -While it is true that localizing the content of our media comes witH great challenges, it enables us to realize our potential, unleashing spin-offs in the creation of locally produced films and music production houses..- (Masara2005:5)

However others like this anonymous listener criticized the poor quality of the music and said this in Independent Xtra :

-One can not impose music filled with mediocrity such as the so-called urban grooves on our radios, though some artists in this genre seem to have direction..- (The independent Xtra:6 Jan 2006)

As the pop teen station Power FM was tasked with catering for the youngsters’ music, the genre grew. These were youngsters who were used to listening to gangster and sexually explicit songs coming in various genres such as hip -hop, reggae, and Rhythm and Blues (R’n’B). The songs of urban grooves musicians is mainly sung in vernacular languages like Shona and Ndebele which gives it a local feel though there are traces of popular international songs. Traditional record companies like Gramma had originally rejected the songs as not original and commercially viable.7

The music continued to be a hit among the youth in urban areas though adult listeners received it with a punch of salt. Thus how urban grooves music was born.

There are other genres of music in Zimbabwe like sungura / museve, traditional mbira music,jiti , and jazz among others. Most of the sungura artists like Alick Macheso deal with social issues like infidelity in marriage, love and working hard in life in order to achieve the cravings of your heart. In Zimbabwe, generally there is this policy of trying to de-westernize the mainstream media and communication systems through various measures, including restrictions on international content in the broadcasting media, monopolization of the airwaves and a general reorientation of the country’s cultural policies.8

I.2 SEVENTY-FIVE PERCENT LOCAL CONTENT POLICY

The government of Zimbabwe has tried to minimize the effects of globalization by through enacting a number of legislations like the Broadcasting Services Act (2001) and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA). The legislation on local content policy was passed on April 4, 2001. In the same year outside global interference was evident in Zimbabwe. It was the same time, that the West especially Britain and the United States of America began a demonizing campaign against the government of Zimbabwe due to the land reform programme calling for regime change. The Broadcasting Services Act (2001) stated that:

Every week during the performance period a radio broadcasting licensee shall ensure that within six months of this Act coming into effect, (in the case of a person lawfully providing a radio broadcasting service immediately before that date) or immediately upon the issue of a licence or within such longer period as the Authority may determine, at least- (a) 75 per centum of the music broadcast consists of Zimbabwean music (b) 10 per centum of the music broadcast consists of music from Africa. Subscription radio broadcasting licensees A subscription radio-broadcasting licensee shall ensure that, in every week of the year- (a) at least 30 per centum of the music broadcast during the performance period consists of Zimbabwean music; and (b) at least 10 per centum of the music broadcast consists of music from Africa; and (c) where a portion of a subscription radio broadcasting service is unencoded, then for the duration of that unencoded portion, at least 75 per cent of the um music broadcast is Zimbabwean music and at least 10 per centum of the music broadcast is music from Africa. Minister may prescribe other content conditions (a) after notice to the licensee concerned, prescribe other local content conditions; (b) prescribe any longer period for the purposes of subparagraph (1) of paragraph 2 or paragraph 5. (www.kubatana.org)

According to The Standard ( 28 march 2004), -the Minister of Information and Publicity, Jonathan Moyo declared that only musicians with 500 of their copies recorded should be accorded airplay, but on Power FM, the numerous artists who made it into the Top-40 chart, only nine have recorded full length albums that are on the market- These are the acrimonious circumstances which urban grooves musicians grew. The seventy-five percent local content saw the emergence of young music stars. The policy saw the greatest crop of varied and diverse music and gave the youths the opportunity to showcase their music. The policy introduced the likes of Decibel (Daniel Mazhindu) with his reggae-flavoured lyrics, Stach of the Amasiko fame with his disactic lyrics and kwaito-type grooves, Tia with a Western beat and even Fungisai Zvakavapano with gospel music. (The Sunday Mail: 2 May 2004) The legislation also saw the rise of recording studios like Tonderai Music Corporation, Katlas Records, Corner Studios and Country Boy Records.

The policy gave the artists many avenues of improvement, however some artists went to the extent of -borrowing’ lyrical rhymes from Western musicians. Regarding the direction their music was taking Dino Mudondo said:

-The Department has given us reason to survive-.it’s true that we got a breakthrough, thanks to the local content programming policy and we have striven to live up to our standards despite criticism that our music lack cultural identity and that we are not being original..- (The Herald :3 may 2002)

Some critics argue that urban grooves musicians should produce music which is truly and proudly Zimbabwean because part of the music they produce was a bit on the -bubblegum’ side as it was almost a total import of Western musical styles10.

To help seal the initiative, the government started Kingstons Music, a recording and marketing company (The Herald: 7 May 2004) However some of the music which was being played on radio stations like Power FM was not found on the market prejudicing the artists of a lot of money. This prompted one music fan to complain, that: -..more people are getting exposure, thanks to the policy yet some things have to be corrected to ensure the initiative does not end up a fluke-most of the music being produced is not available on the market and quality is being compromised here and there a most of the music is produced in people’s bedrooms, where it is coming from private PCs-

1.3 ISSUES AND PROBLEMS

There have been many discerning voices as to how the urban grooves musicians present themselves to the listening public. They have been accused of lacking cultural identity as Zimbabweans. In terms of content, the thrust of broadcasting institutions has been to counter what the government calls imperialist interests and their quest for regime change in Zimbabwe. Urban grooves music emerged during a well-defined era where the government of Zimbabwe argued that the content broadcasted should reflect Zimbabwean identity, history and cultural diversity. However, it seems the urban grooves artists have been doing the opposite since the formation of the genre in Zimbabwe. This brings out many questions as to whether the youth really understand culture or even identity. Maybe cultural identity means a totally different phenomenon to them. In the Zimbabwean contemporary context, culture has got so many symbols that it is difficult to pinpoint the true culture of the Zimbabwean people in an urban context. It seems people have got different conceptions and opinions of what cultural identity is. People in the country side, those in the city and those who fought in the liberation struggle who form the nucleus of the government today have got points of departure in their description of culture. The youth may have a totally different opinion of culture shaped by the times we are living since some claim that -culture is dynamic’.11

In reference to the post-colonial Africa, Gecau (1993:46) notes that: – the leaders who emerged after independence presented themselves as -enlighteners’, and were soon suspicious of the expressions of culture which were proof of the independent-.gradually -culture’ came to be presented as past forms, national symbols and emblems associated with the struggle for independence, the achievements of ndividual leaders and so on-.

In trying to define what is culture and their identity, the youth hit a brick wall. In Zimbabwe there seems to be a misrepresentation of culture with the ruling elites trying to define culture in terms of past liberation war struggle and the culture being brought out through globalization. This is through movies, international music and satellite dishes. This is what the youth of today is exposed to. The youth have a restricted cultural mediation role.

The government was keen to establish control over communication processes and distribution networks for cultural commodities but this has failed mainly because the world has become too small a global village. The older generation has too many difficulties on their shoulders to understand the youth mainly because of generational gaps. It is now difficult to understand the true cultural identity of the youth mainly because of the emergence of sophisticated and technologically advanced gadgets. Therefore the youths’ consumption reference tends to be outside Zimbabwe, from global media images in other parts of the world. 12

What urban grooves music stands for in our social hierarchy is the question at stake. Music actually develops within certain political, social and cultural parameters. The older generations’ concerns have been, what are the youths of tomorrow going to be like considering what the youths of today values, but however no single urban grooves musician is a true the representative of the genre as a whole. Personal experiences can affect one’s music in a completely different way from the other13. Though the researcher chose to study the music of Maskiri, he is hardly a complete representative of urban grooves music. Each urban grooves musician has got his own style of expression. One has to look at music without imposing individual ideas inappropriately.

It is difficult to classify them because; some like Portia Njazi (Tia) do not consider themselves urban grooves musicians. Decibel and Christy-B’s music is too reggae-flavoured. This begs the question; What is urban grooves music? Decibel was recently quoted as saying that he actually hates urban grooves music. 14These are some of the controversies of urban grooves music. Some question the genre’s originality.

1.3.1 RESEARCH QUESTIONS

The following research questions will guide this study: 1. What themes do urban grooves musicians dwell on , vis–vis hip-hop musicians in America and Europe? 2. To what extent does urban grooves music reflect the influence of foreign cultures?

3. To what extent is urban grooves music local?

1.4 AIMS / OBJECTIVES

Since its inception, urban grooves music has generated a lot of controversy. Among the defects of the genre which the listening public pointed out are that, the music is divorced from our cultural identity as Zimbabweans, and that the music is meaningless among other things. This is an inquiry into the differences between urban grooves music and mainly hip-hop music in America focusing on similarities and differences in terms of themes in order to ascertain urban grooves loyalty to our culture and identity or whether they are just another cultural transplant of American hip-hop music. The study will also show the aspects of American culture inherent in urban grooves music. The researcher will also highlight the relevance of urban grooves music to our society, whether they sing about sensible or senseless issues divorced from social reality in Zimbabwe. Aspects of urban grooves music that are -borrowed’ from Western musicians will be discussed.

However, after looking at all this, the researcher felt the main burning issue against urban grooves music was whether they are being innovative or imitative in their approach to music. The researcher felt a thorough analysis of the genre was needed as whether to dispel or validate these accusations, hence the study of the music of Maskiri and the group Xtra Large. This is a close analytical insight into the factors, which influenced urban grooves music through the textual analysis of their music’s lyrics.

The researcher will look at various aspects of urban grooves music, including their similarities and differences with international artists like Eminem and Mariah Carey whom the listening public says they copycat. Urban grooves music has got something positive which it is contributing to society, but it seems people are just keeping a blind eye and a deaf ear to that. It is a product of society and this means there are many aspects of society reflected in their music. This means aspects of our culture, history and social life are reflected. However this is not to say urban grooves music is wholly Zimbabwean or not, aspects of globalization and cultural imperialism will be analyzed vis–vis our cultural identity.

Though music is universal, its meaning is not, in the Zimbabwean context one has to look at whether urban grooves music is useful or is potentially harmful, and what differentiates good from bad music.

1.5 JUSTIFICATION OF STUDY

While traveling from Harare to Zvishavane by bus, on 23 January 2006, there was a heated debate as to whether urban grooves music in particular is senseless or sensible. Many seemed to have listened to the songs of Decibel (Daniel Mazhindu), Betty Makaya, Maskiri (Alishias Musimbe), Xtra Large and Nasty Trix among others. Some thought it was a waste of time listening to their type of music since it is just a copycat of Western music. These were mainly the older generation, but there was general appreciation from the younger generation.

What I found out is that many people do not understand music and urban grooves music in general. Urban grooves musicians were disparaged as hopeless, and there were suggestions that they should do what they called the -African sound’ or -Zimbabwean music’. It was clear most of them had never listened to urban grooves music but were basing their arguments on hearsay. This concept of what can be termed Zimbabwean music is very problematic, because there is nothing in Zimbabwean music today which is not affected by something exotic. The youths who sing this type of music are actually a product of society, so why it is then that society is refusing to recognize what is part of it?

Though the older generation has a point it seems they do not realize the social context, situation, influence and the environment in which these musicians are operating. Sometimes what the public see and hear are just lyrics and the singers but refuse to see the force behind all this. In this case, urban grooves music will be studied in the context of globalization and cultural imperialism. The researcher will take a neutral view in order to have a fair analysis of the whole issue.

There is very little literature on the analysis of urban grooves music, except from newspapers but this research will be a detailed, close analysis of the music of Maskiri and Xtra Large of which they will be given a chance to defend their views also.

The above incident prompted me to embark on a scholarly study of urban grooves music.

1.6 DEFINITION OF KEY CONCEPTS

This section briefly discusses the key terms that are central to this study. These are culture, cultural imperialism, globalization and identity.

1.6.1 Culture

This year the culture week ran from 19 to 26 May 2007. At the official opening of the culture week in Kadoma, the Minister for Policy Implementation in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Mr. Webster Shamu, described culture as; -Culture is the sum total of the way of life of a society from traditions, customs, value systems, life styles, arts, social institutions, and spiritual , intellectual and economic features that characterize society or nation. This defines us as a people. It is these values, symbols, interpretations and perspectives that distinguishes us from other peoples- (The Herald: 24 May 2007)

The culture week in Zimbabwe is a reminder of the need for communities to preserve their traditions and values that define us as a people. According to Gwanjera (1984:13, culture can be defined as -the totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought, religious culture, musical culture, oral culture and so on-. Culture can include the predominating attitudes and behavior that characterize the functioning of a group or organization15. To some culture is a way of life, which means culture must stimulate creativity, enhancement of cultural identity and contribute to national consciousness and identity to promote different cultural activities people are engaged in16. Zimbabwean cultural values include positive morals, values and ethics. However, it should be noted that blending cultures is not the same as giving way to cultural imperialism.

Even though, these definitions of culture are sometimes too broad to be understandable, such that the definition of culture becomes very relative. However in Zimbabwe, the locus point of our culture is wholly defined in the concept of -unhu’.

Many scholars give different and sometimes contradictory definitions of culture. According to Titon (2005:25), -culture is a way of life, learned and transmitted through centuries of adapting to the natural and human world. Porter (1999:19), argues that, -the social environment is culture and the characteristics of culture are that, culture is learned, culture is selective, facets of culture are interrelated and that culture is ethnocentric. Therefore culture represents a limited choice of behaviour. Every society has its own way of viewing the universe with coherent set of values and behaviour. But there comes the erosion of cultural values through technology and globalization. Its debatable, whether people should redefine their culture or not. In my research I will use -unhu’ or -ubuntu’ as the locus definition of culture in our society.

1.6.2 Cultural Imperialism

According to Tomlison (1991:8),this refers to a kind of cultural domination by powerful nations over weaker nations. It is viewed as purposeful and intentional because it corresponds to the political interests of the United States of America and other capitalist societies. The effects of cultural domination is reflected in attitudes and values of Western, particularly American capitalist societies. According to Sollonzo (2007:78), the transmission and diffusion across national boundaries, of various forms of information in the form of cultural products of other nations has led to the displacement and marginalization of the original cultures of the local people such that the dominant ideologies becomes those of the foreign cultures. In the end the local culture loses its independence to grow and sustain itself in an autonomous way.

Assuming that all forms of culture construct and deconstruct social identities cultural imperialism raises many important questions about the loss of cultural identity, especially in the music of urban youth in Zimbabwe17. Though to learn about other cultures is not bad, the main problem comes when foreign values are internalized by many in our society.

1.6.3 Globalization

Globalization can be simply described as something which started somewhere and has spread all over the world. It has also been described as an aggregation of cultural flows or networks in a less coherent and unitary process than cultural imperialism and one in which cultural influences move in many different directions. The effects consist of media, technology, ideologies and ethnicities on recipient nations and the likely result is cultural hybridization. Tomlinson (1999:35) refers to globalization as the rapidly developing network of interconnectedness and the interdependencies that characterize modern social life. This already exist in telecommunication systems that link the world through satellite dishes, aircrafts which move people faster and computers which disgorge information at any time.

Tomlinson (1997:34), describes globalization in the social context as, the transmission or diffusion across national boundaries of various media and the arts. Generally the circulations of cultural products or artifacts originate from many different nations and regions. Globalization raises more important and controversial issues concerning its effects on local and national cultures and their responses to it.

The spread of the English language generates a preferential market for commercial and cultural products which operate in English. (Hertz 1999:45). An obvious example would be in popular music where English is used as a medium of expression and communication in advertising and marketing in many parts of the world. According to Sollonzo (2007:39), globalization mutually reinforces and embodies a set of cultural and political assumptions about, for instance, the inculcation of the uniqueness of individual identity, superiority of the historical role, political systems and cultural products of the United States of America and Britain.

In the context of culture and society, globalization influences the way people view their world, such that they see it through the European eyes.

1.6.4 Identity

The issue of identity is always centered on Zimbabweans who adopt -Western culture’ and those who are of the -indigenous culture’. Indigenous beliefs remain powerful in rural areas and working-class townships. However there is a sharp distinction especially with those who are of a black middle class background who usually have a say in the country’s media policies. According toTurino (2000:32), regardless of class, when Shona people in Zimbabwe speak of -our culture’ or -our customs’, the vast majority point to the rural village. This shows that they owe their identity to Shona cultural practices and ethics of living. However shifts in church and state education policy and media policies ?have produced a diluted identity18. So, identity is a controversial subject in its description, people develops their identity through interaction with their culture and others in it, if that culture changes so is the identity it fosters. (Zimmerman 1965:67)

Chezet (2007:31), refers to identity as people as they are, as cultural beings, finding space, free opportunity to make their own schemes using their own experts and resources whose knowledge they can interpret or reject as befits their reality, both technical and perceptual, and such space is the venue for positive undisruptive change.

Even though, identity is rooted in having a name, a place and a setting. To have a name means having a history that has got its values, customs, regulated and accepted social behaviuor and a future based on those values. In other words identity does not change with situations.

In trying to define culture, cultural imperialism, globalization, and identity, it has got its limitations and generalizations since there are no universally accepted definitions of these terms. Sometimes the difference between globalization and cultural imperialism is not understandable but the researcher has tried to give objective discussion of the terms. Culture is also linked very much to identity.

1.7 CONCLUSION AND SUMMARY

This chapter outlined how the urban grooves genre of music started, and the environment in which the genre started. The long background of music in Zimbabwe points out the socio-political situation behind the emergence of the genre including the situational context.

The chapter also highlights the transition from militant music of the liberation struggle, the celebratory music after independence in 1980, protest music of the middle and late 1990s. Mainly the music of Thomas Mapfumo represents this period. The new millennium brought with it new genres of music, this was the phase of the urban grooves musicians. This was also coupled with the change in legislation of Zimbabwe with the promulgation of the Broadcasting Services Act in 2001.

Urban grooves music has given a whole new face to music in Zimbabwe and great strides have been made in a very short time amid verbal attacks from the public due to some controversial issues which will be dealt with fully in the next chapters. The chapter also highlighted the issues and problems in the study of urban grooves music in the context of globalization and cultural imperialism.

In the next chapter I will look at the theoretical assumptions of the study.

CHAPTER TWO

LITERATURE REVIEW AND THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

2.1 LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1.1 WHY LITERATURE REVIEW

Literature Review mainly assists in attacking the problem for research because the research problem is always central. In knowing what the others have done, one is prepared to attack with deeper insight and more complete knowledge the problem one has chosen to investigate.

According to Paton (1986:28) Literature Review provides the following benefits:

1)It can reveal investigations that are similar to mine, and how those collateral researchers handled those situations.

2)It can suggest a method or technique of dealing with a problematic situation which may also suggest avenues of approach to the solution of similar difficulties I may face.

3)It can reveal sources of data, which one may have never known they existed.

4)It can introduce one to significant research personalities of whose research efforts and collateral writings one may have had no knowledge.

5)It helps one to see the study in historical and associational perspective and in relation to earlier and more primitive attacks on the same problem.

6)It also provides new ideas and approaches, which may have never occurred to me. 7)Literature review helps in evaluating my own research efforts by comparing them with related efforts by others.

The exploration of other researchers cannot be a haphazard undertaking because around every researcher there is a vast sea of literature and countless reports of what others have done. A careful consideration of the research problem should suggest relevant areas of discussion and indicate the direction that the discussion of the related literature should take. According to Paton (1986), a discussion of related literature should begin with a comprehensive perspective, like a pyramid: broad end first, then one can deal with more specific and more localized studies which focus closer and closer to the specific problem.

In the literature review relatedness should be emphasized and the reader must be constantly aware of the manner in which the discussed literature is related to the research problem. Points of departure should also be emphasized to show differences. In my research I used approaches used before by other scholars.

2.1.2 DISCUSSION OF LITERATURE USED

There has been no scholarly study of urban grooves in Zimbabwe. This study, therefore is a groundbreaking one on this subject, however there are several studies that have inspired my research, and this include Alice Dadirai Kwaramba (1997) and Thomas Turino (2000) and Gray (2001)

Kwaramba’s analysis of songs is similar to what the researcher would be doing since it involves the analysis of linguistic selections of musicians’ lyrics vis–vis corresponding social influences and relation analysis and the study of meaning in texts. Therefore Kwaramba uses critical linguistic approaches, which are very necessary in the study of song texts by urban grooves musicians. Kwaramba studies the music of Thomas Mapfumo, and this serves as a reference point in issues of comparative analysis of music and social identity in Zimbabwe. The publication is also a critical examination of music in Zimbabwe, before and after independence.

One of the literature sources which inspired this study is the study on Zimbabwean music done by Thomas Turino (2000).Reviewing the book Veit Erlman notes that the -focus on Turino’s study is the development of revolutionary music sung by Thomas Mapfumo and other Zimbabwean artists, the development of this music from its roots in early Rhodesian era to the emergence of the cosmopolitan culture among the black middle-class in independent Zimbabwe and how this gave rise to urban popular styles modeled on influences from the Mills Brothers to Elvis Presley-. Turino explains the combination of -foreign’ and indigenous elements that so-often define nationalist and cultural projects. It is in this contextual view that urban grooves music should be studied especially if people say they must be loyal to our culture and identity in their music. It is worth to comparatively analyze other aspects of Zimbabwean music and find out if it does not have traces of global cultural influence. No type of music in Zimbabwe can then be said to be original.

Turino explains the focus of his publication as, -..from the point of view of people in Zimbabwe, or people like myself who view Capitalism as a negative force in relation to ecological and social health it is important to see how globalization progresses at the level of values and life ways-. Turino clarifies the continuities and cultural effects of colonialism, nationalism and cosmopolitanism. Directly paralleled to my study of urban grooves music is the medium of value, this is our values as Africans, identity and social relations in music making which actually provides a useful window in conceptualizing the historical background and some other issues concerning music in Zimbabwe.

However his research is different from mine because he does not go deeper into analyzing the lyrics of the artists he writes on while mine is a textual analysis of urban grooves music centering on selected artists. Turino only deals with influences which changed the face of music in Zimbabwe before and after independence, but does not analyze the effects, probably because there was no computer-generated music during his time.

According to Gray (2001), one challenge that is confronting Africa today, is that of mental enslavement, psychological incarceration and the imprisonment of the African mind. In this publication, Gray (2001), clarifies and defines the history of African-centered thoughts and evaluating them to create a creative tool towards codifying them, to fit present and future directions. Reviewing the publication, J B. Stewart writes, -it assists African people in their historical-intellectual and practical-transformational journey from where they are to where they need to be’. The publication examines African movements and ideas from antiquity to the present. Urban grooves music can also be studied in relation to these views, especially on analyzing whether they give a eurocentric or afrocentric world -view in their music.

2.1.3 ARCHIVAL RESEARCH

There is little literature on urban grooves music, most issues that deal about urban grooves music can be found in newspapers and on the Internet. A number of articles have appeared in newspapers analyzing urban grooves music. I used many articles from newspapers and on the Internet. This means analyzing the different views of many journalists in the print media from 2001 to the present. Some of the newspapers which were used in this study, include, The Herald, Chronicle, The Standard, The Daily and Sunday Mirror and The Independent. Some daily newspapers, especially The Herald, wrote many articles which promoted urban grooves music as a genre. Interviews were also carried out with urban grooves musicians, it is those kinds of interviews which will be used by the researcher. The Sunday Mail (8 May 2004), has an interview by Robert Mukondiwa, where he interviewed Maskiri, and this is the same interview in which Maskiri claimed to have dated a mermaid. Biographical data about the emergence of urban grooves music as a genre of music can be found in the entertainment sections of these newspapers, together with views from the public. The Herald and The Sunday Mail are state-owned newspapers.

However, there are some newspapers like, The Standard and The Independent, which saw the emergence of urban grooves music as a government-created propaganda tool. These are newspapers which are independently-owned and they usually have negative perceptions of media policies done by the government. Their views will be also taken into consideration without any bias. The Standard (7 June 2004), disparages the poor quality and imitations done by many urban grooves musicians who do not have any album to their credit, yet their music was played daily on Power FM. There are many other articles, some are on the seventy-five percent local content, and some on the use of vulgar language by many urban grooves musicians.

2.2 THEORETICAL AND CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK

A number of theories and concepts inspired this study. These include globalization, cultural imperialism and identity. These theoretical concepts contextualize my study to these three concepts.

2.2.1 Globalization

Harvey (1989) describes globalization .as -the rapidly developing process of complex interconnections between societies, cultures, institutions, and individuals worldwide.- Even though globalization simply means something, which started somewhere and has spread all over the world. Capitalism is even globalized.

With the liberalization of telecommunications corporate culture seems to rule the world mainly because the whole world is wired and plugged into television programmes, music, lifestyles and entertainment among other things, which come from Western countries. This has made the youths’ especially in Third World countries to find their role models from Western countries. Now most youths want to wear trendy clothes, designer boots and shoes, with a chain stretching from one belt loop to a front pocket of the jeans, a style similar to that adopted by international artists like Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears or Eminem. Music has a role to play in the creation of such identities.

Satellite cables, phones, Video Compact discs (VCDs) and other marvels and wonders of entertainment technology are creating the mass marketing of culture since US corporate culture is available everywhere, it has now commodified. Young people are now exposed to the same music and glamorous lifestyle, which they aspire to achieve. According to Tomlinson in Mohammadi (1997):

-Young people in third world countries are the largest consumers of global culture. Sony has developed its range of toy-like toys kids music labels and videos for this age-group-

Urban grooves musicians grew up in this kind of society and exposed to global culture. This means that foreign pop brands are changed into local versions and renditions synthesized with a local language. This has led many to ask that, apart from language what is so local about urban grooves music. Local artists especially urban grooves musicians belt out -localized’ songs popularized by the likes of Mariah Carey, Eminem and Westlife with similar costumes, rhythm, dances and maneuvers but with a touch of a local language.

Penetration of global music has resulted in the marginalisation of local cultures and traditional music in Zimbabwe. Young people have lost touch with traditional harmonies, tunes and dances, which are culturally specific to Zimbabwe. Global entertainment has become so addictive to the youths such that that it seems even to affect the psyche. For the young musicians it is a selling an experience and an image.

It seems global entertainment fills the vacuum emptied by the collapse of traditional institutions, communities, clans, family, life and authority. Through Hollywood movies, films, global advertising and some programmes, values and lifestyles are internalized by the youths. Through globalization, the meaning of community and the notion of self is distorted as television creates artificial needs.

In urban grooves music there are many -footprints’ of systematic ideas articulated mainly by Western musicians. Certain ideologies indicate how reality is distorted, especially in the music of Maskiri under the imitation of international superstars like Eminem. Maskiri provides a partial and selective view of reality.

Likewise computers have become substitutes for human interactions, community and civic life. Marneweck in Alexander et al (2006:243), argues that cyberspace has created virtual communities where mass messages are personalized for greater impact. The anonymity of participants and freedom of expression found in Internet chat rooms is taken too far such that, though urban grooves music becomes a multiple representation of identities. Sometimes what urban grooves musicians sing is not what they actually do in their real life. However computers and the Internet provides an -idealized’ world, anonymity, fantasy and dreaming. (Reid 1991)

It is in this context that Urban grooves music should be studied, the influence of globalization in their music in terms of themes of their music, rhythm and instrumentation, dances and attire. This has made many to say they look American instead of Zimbabwean. This actually begs more answers because some of them have never been to America, they are Zimbabweans and they are a product of this contemporary society. This research will look at differences between urban grooves artists and Western musicians, that is points of departure and similarity in a globalized world, and also the reasons why people say they lack our African or Zimbabwean identity.

2.2.2 Cultural Imperialism

Tomlinson in Mohammadi (1997:175), cultural Imperialism refers to the process of domination in which the West (America or transnational capitalism) draws all cultures into its ambit. This involves the diffusion of American values, consumer goods and lifestyle to third world countries. In simpler terms, cultural imperialism refers to the adoption of American or Western cultural values by other people in other countries. This study examines the aspects of American culture, which are reflected in urban grooves music especially the music of Maskiri and Xtra Large. Cultural Imperialism is also linked to globalization.

According to Sollonzo (2007:45) :

-People sit in their homes watching a bunch of White people in Dallas, standing around their swimming pools, drinking martinis, and plotting to destroy each other or steal from each other or get their partners’ wives into bed..-

The effect is that when the youths see these kind of images on their television, they try to imitate and sometimes this through music. Behaviors and values that are poisonous to life are glamorized. Community cooperation, sharing, and non-materialism are subverted and substituted with individualism. Material values rather than moral or spiritual values are made important. Consumerism of American cultural values through music has caused many youths to -live’ the life of superstars in their music whereby they run away from the reality of their own situations.

It is so sad that nowadays some parents do not even speak with their children in indigenous languages like Shona and Ndebele. They themselves cannot speak English fluently, but to the children now it means they become -cultural amputees’, neither able to speak English fluently, or fluent Shona or Ndebele. In the end there is juxtaposition of both local and exotic way of speaking, which is also exacerbated by what they see on computers and Internet chat rooms. This results in juxtaposition of foreign types of rhythm, which is transformed and reinterpreted in their own terms. This interconnectedness of the local and the global is evident in the rising phenomenon of urban grooves music. Can this be talked of as cultural hybridity or hybridization of identities through globalization, this is very problematic. It is difficult to pinpoint what is Zimbabwean culture since culture is dynamic. Culture is sometimes shaped by individual actions. In the world today there are many forces regulating behavior since social and cultural spaces are now shaped by modernity and capitalism.

However when one fails to articulate the difference between self and other that becomes the problem of identity. In urban grooves music our difference from the Western culture must be emphasized. Each genre of music has got its background influences but if other musicians take out something wholesale from another genre of music there becomes a problem of identity. Genres of music like hip-hop are intrinsic to American culture, but if somebody who is not American starts singing the same things that becomes a problem of cultural identity. This notion of -want-to-be-noticed’ has compromised urban grooves music’s credibility and quality. According to Tomlinson (1997), hip-hop culture has brought out new forms of collective identity, whereby the youths redefine their lifestyle and identity through parallel media spaces.

Identity itself is a contested term because it is shaped by social, cultural and economic conditions in which people live in. It seems identities can actually change, though there are some aspects of identity which may not change. It is difficult to say, whether identity means being rooted in our village customs or identity in an urban context. It is also difficult to delineate the yardstick which people use when they speak of cultural alienation, since culture means different things to different people.

Cultural Imperialism can be an issue of generational differences. Blending cultures is different from cultural imperia;ism. According to Tomlinson (1997:167-168) : -..what the cultural argument does is to bring the globalization process into immediate critical focus-it is a general and elastic concept, gathering notions of domination in terms of hegemonic cultural formations (the West, Western modernity, consumer culture) and third world countries absorbing peripheral cultures into a homogenized, commodified -globalized future’

So, cultural imperialism is very contradictory term, whether it is actually cultural globalization or cultural imperialism, since cultural imperialism is too historical. -Americanization’ or -Westernization’ of music can be a just term.

2.3 CONCLUSION

This chapter touched on the broader framework on which I will base my study on. The study leans mainly on the theoretical concepts of globalization and cultural imperialism. However there are also some local influences to the genre of music that will be analyzed in the next chapters. External influences also include also many ideological movements. The Literature Review shows the literature that has helped the researcher in his study.

The next chapter will focus on the methods of data collection, inquiry and textual analysis.

CHAPTER THREE

3.0 METHODOLOGY

3.1 INTRODUCTION This chapter identifies methods used, and justifies their use. Methods of data collection and analysis will be discussed. These include the qualitative research method, interviews, archival research, textual analysis of songs, critical language analysis, spoken and written texts and meaning in texts and language use.

3.1.1 QUALITATIVE RESEARCH METHOD

Textual analysis involves many things, collecting data, organizing it and analyzing the data. The emphasis on qualitative document analysis is on capturing definitions, meaning, process and types. Paton (1980:45), defines qualitative research as:

-grounded in a philosophical position which is broadly -interpretive’ in the sense that it is concerned with how the social world is interpreted, understood and experienced-it is based on detail, context, discourses or constructions in a multi-layered social world-

This means reliance on text, narrative and descriptions. The goal of qualitative research is to understand the process and character of social life and to arrive at meaning and process as we seek to understand types, characteristics and organizational aspects of the documents as social products in their own right as well as what they claim to represent (Altheide 1996:42)

Qualitative research involves an in-depth understanding of human behaviour and the reasons that govern human behaviour. Unlike quantitative research, qualitative research relies on reasons behind various aspects of behaviour. Simply put, it investigates the why and how of decision making, as compared to what, where, and when of quantitative research. Hence, the need is for smaller but focused samples rather than large random samples, which qualitative research categorizes data into patterns as the primary basis for organizing and reporting results. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qualitative_method)

This study mainly emphasizes on textual analysis of the lyrics by Maskiri and Xtra Large. Media materials like newspapers, magazines, and electronic documents will be used.

3.1.2 INTERVIEWS

The researcher will use the standard-open-ended type of interview. The standard-open-ended interview consists of a set of questions carefully worded and arranged with the intention of taking each respondent through the same sequence and asking the respondent the same questions with especially the same words to find out different views on the same matter. This reduces the possibility of bias that comes from having different set of questions for different respondents including the problem of getting more comprehensive data from certain musicians and producers while getting less systematic information from others.

However questions can be altered and individualized a bit, in order to establish in-depth communication with the person being interviewed. This allows the interviewer to be highly responsive to individual differences and situational changes.

An interview guide (a list of questions or issues that are to be explored in the course of the interview) will be used to make sure the interview the interview is highly focused and interviewee time is carefully used.

3.1.3 ARCHIVAL RESEARCH

Archival research consists of using -already existing information’ to answer research questions analyse existing data such as statistics that are part of public records reports of anthropologists, letters to the editor, computer data bases. There are many newspapers in Zimbabwe with many articles which focus on urban grooves music since the year 2001. Many other interviews were done with musicians like Maskiri and Xtra Large in newspaper articles. This is dealt with in newspapers like The Herald, Chronicle, The Sunday Mail, The Standard, The Independent, The Daily and Sunday Mirror. Lifestyles of certain musicians are commented about in these newspapers and this can be ideal for comparative analysis with Western musicians in terms of lifestyle, behaviour, and attire.

Comments from the public can also be found in newspapers, especially the ordinary people’s views towards the music.

The internet is also an important source of information. Internet forums are important because views from the youths mainly, are easily accessible.

3.2 TEXTUAL ANALYSIS OF SONGS

3.2.1 INTRODUCTION

Language often reflects society as Cameroon (1990) claims. Therefore if one has to look at language used by urban grooves singers it must reflect society. However it is society which exists first before language, but language reproduces and transforms society such that language use changes. (Stubbs 1996:90) According to Fairclough (1990,1992), shifts in the meaning of individual words are part of a more general extension of the discourses of consumerism, marketing, management, counseling into educational discourses in which students are represented as clients or customers. Therefore language and what it contains has a role to play as a child grows up till he or she becomes a teenager. This forms the basis of social stereotypes whom we call urban grooves today.

In this case textual analysis involves the analysis of the lyrics used by urban grooves artists like Maskiri and Xtra Large vis–vis globalization and cultural imperialism.

3.2.2 CRITICAL LANGUAGE ANALYSIS

-For every writer, speaker or musician there is a finite set of possibilities that are available linguistically to express and talk about a subject or topic in a given social context- (Kwaramba 1997:12)

The language used by an artist denotes a lot, as in relation to the artist’s background, social concerns and his or her position in the social structure. There is no such thing as neutral data, therefore ultimately all musical text is related to life experiences and situations. Music is the prime instance of the traffic of ideas up and down modes of representation. Discourse is actually shaped by power relations in society and therefore contributes to social continuity and change. Musical discourse is mainly configured in the domain of sound, language and metaphors of expressive gestures with the capacity to engage us in exploring structural change and new ways of construing the world.

Musical lyrics can be transcribed and be read as poetry. When sounds powerful enough to threaten existing situations emerge, interpretations, choices, tastes are made. However, going back to language, when an artist uses certain aspects of language, it is for a purpose.

Language use also brings out a world view, and in this case it can be a European or African world view. In urban grooves music, there is a way in which they use language which is different from other genres of music. According to Kwaramba (1997:9), words do not carry the same meanings outside of the cultural and social contexts in which the texts are produced. Musicians use carefully chosen modes of expression which excludes other possibilities.

Choice of phrases, repetition of same words, mixture of both English and Shona or Ndebele languages, choice of titles of songs and albums gives interpretation of the musician’s intended message and ideology. This includes selection of certain linguistic expressions, keywords, social context, thematic concerns, symbolism and lexicalization. As social relations change, music also changes and this is reflected in urban grooves music. English is used as a medium of communication in schools and the media, and this also has got consequences in expressions used in music by the youths. Urban grooves musicians’ medium of expression will be examined.

3.2.3 SPOKEN AND WRITTEN TEXT ANALYSIS

-A spoken text is simply what is said in a piece of spoken discourse and the written text can be used to refer to a written transcription of what is said- (Fairclough 2001:20)

Discourse refers to the whole process of social interaction of which a text is part and a text is product of the process of text production. Songs can be transcribed from spoken texts to written texts and therefore the text becomes a resource for text interpretation. People interpret texts through their knowledge of the language, representations of the natural and social worlds they inhabit, values, beliefs and assumptions.

Texts produced have -footprints’ of social relations and the struggles generated. Different strategies are used by artists to put their ideas across. This includes the social conditions of production and social conditions of interpretation. (Fairclough 2001:21)

However texts are interwoven with facial expressions and gestures. In this case the researcher will use videos of some songs by urban grooves musicians to analyze gestures and facial expressions. These are the extra-linguistic features.

After the transcription of songs into written texts, Fairclough (2001) distinguishes three stages of critical discourse analysis which are:

i) Description of the formal properties of a text ii) Interpretation which is categorized into six levels which include situational context, intertextual context, surface of utterance, meaning of utterance, local coherence and text structure. iii) Explanation concerns itself with the social determination of the process of production and interpretation and the social effects. Intertextual context can also refer to the historical series of society, and deciding which series a text belongs to. Explanations can also be drawn into three levels, that is explanation at society level, explanation at institutional level and at situational level mainly because people see or look at the same thing with different perspectives.

3.2.4 MEANING IN TEXTS AND LANGUAGE USE

Language use reproduces culture from generation to generation, and the language used by urban grooves artists makes assumptions of their listeners or customers. All language is intertextual, it is shaped by prior texts, oriented to conventions and interpreted against the background of a very large corpus of linguistic experience (Stubbs 1996:92) It is against this background that the researcher will analyze word meaning and context used since all words are open to new uses and are flexible in their meanings to some extent. For a word to be branded obscene, there are reasons for that in our cultural context. There are therefore changing relations between occurrences in a text and the underlying language system. (Stubbs 1996). It is therefore necessary to identify linguistic mechanisms which convey ideologies and other things. Such analysis will show how grammar can help to explain the discourse of society, how different points can be explained by stylistic choices and how they can embody different ideologies.

The thematic concerns of the music of Maskiri and Xtra Large will therefore be analyzed vis–vis those of Western musicians, especially hip-hop music. They may use similar grammar to convey their ideas about women, life and many ethics about morality and society in general in the context of our Zimbabwean culture. Aspects of American culture, like rebelliousness, use of vulgarities and obscene language, will be analysed and examined in comparison with the thematic concerns of urban grooves music. Similarities in attire, types of dances, rhythm and lifestyle will also be analysed. These are the extra-linguistic features. (LOOK IN MY NEXT ARTICLE, FOR IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS)


Tips The Best Way To Repair A Cracked Music Box

Posted by: | Posted on: August 10, 2014

One of the mainly charming gifts that somebody may give another person, particularly a wife or daughter, is a music box. With the gift of music, they shall be able to remain a person’s memory alive with the music from the music box, which can play on for decades.

Music boxes, unfortunately, can break down. Therefore, to keep the music that will mean so much to the one who received the musical reward, it maybe required that you begin to learn about repairing a music box.

Mainly troubles in music boxes are attributable to a malfunction from the starter of the music box. Fortunately, can easily often be repaired in your own home without having to have it repaired at a shop. There are three various kinds of starters for music boxes, and knowing how to mend each will make you very versatile. As well, always remember for being very delicate as you can trigger more spoil with a music box to your effort to revamp it.

Wire Starter

This kind of music box plays as the lid is opened and pressure is released over a metal stick, and stops when the lid is closed. As soon as the burden is released on the metal stick, a coil pushes the spring up and strikes a tied wire down, that releases an air brake and causes the music box to play. These are the categories of music box movements you need to get alert to to repair it.

It is advisable to try changing the angle of the spring with pliers. You might have to regulate it a lot, up and down, left and right, based on if the music starts, doesn’t start, or starts but won’t stop.

You can also pull the metal stick, which may be caught on something or slightly bent. If bent, it needs to be replaced.

Button Starter

Every time a button is pressed on the box, a metal plate strikes the starter mechanism, which releases a key from the wheel of the cylinder in music boxes. This releases the air brake that permits the box to play.

In these, verify to make sure that the button mechanism does not have a loose nut, if it does, tighten it. This can hopefully let it to connect with the metal plate to start the music. You may also adjust the plate and move it closer to the starter button.

Pin Starter

These are utilised in toy music boxes, where the pin blocks the air brake. As pulled, the music plays, when pushed, the music stops.

If the box does not play, make sure that the pin blocks the air brake and that when it is pulled, it releases the air brake. The pin should not be too long and if it is, it may need to be filed down. If it won’t stop playing, then correct the position from the movement and ensure that the pin is not too short. If it is, put some tape on the end to elongate it.

Summary

Music boxes are magnificent treats for someone you love, but like anything, they could break down and it is important that when you have a music box, you understand how to repair it. Fortunately, several are easy to restore and all it takes is mostly a basic knowledge of the inner-workings of music boxes and other kinds of musical gifts.

It is simple to do, people love them and you may really shine having a well-made music box, so why are you not building music boxes yet? You may find that whenever you give a musical gift like music boxes, you have developed a love for putting music boxes together but it could change into something you do a lot more. It could end up being one of your favorite hobbies in fact.

Everyone loves music, everyone loves the product of music and there isn’t people on the planet who will not realize the gift you have given them when you take the time to place it together for them. Two centuries after they began to be mass produced, it remains a gift that warms the hearts of millions.


Drum Music For Yoga

Posted by: | Posted on: August 6, 2014

Yoga practice and music are almost two inseparable entities. Yoga is an ancient spiritual practice that synthesizes the mind, body and spirit through proper breathing techniques, practice of different asanas and meditation. Music has the universal charisma of directing a human mind and body towards a a serene and amiable state. The sound and the tones of the music can delve deep into the human consciousness and evoke many moods and thoughts. Since early periods, music has been aptly complementing yoga and meditation practice. In contemporary times, there has been a little variation in the kinds of music that is played, yet, the essence has remained unchanged. There are many yoga DVDs and Yoga CDs available from which a yoga aspirant can benefit himself. The soothing melodies and the instrumental music pieces guides a yoga practitioner to a higher realms of tranquility and calmness.

Drums and the beats evolving out of yoga music plays a key role in regards to the connection of yoga practice. The beats of drums are far more than mere entertainment music. Rather, drums, in the realms of yoga, is an active tool created to assist a yoga practitioner in discovering effective ways. The profound effects of the drum beats aid a person to achieve mental clarity, emotional balance and deep relaxation. The music created by the drums when blended with ancient art of chanting mantras, evoke a deep spiritual feeling. This sensation and realization of the mystic insight will bring you close to self enlightenment.

Like yoga and meditation, the beat and rhythm of the drums calm, soothe and strengthen the body, mind and soul. The binaural beats and periodic tones of drums coupled with yoga asanas result in stunning outcome. With specific frequencies and various rhythms, the music of the drum relax the body and liberates the soul from the inner inhibitions. Sounds and tones of the drums and the practice of yoga together helps an individual attain a deeper spiritual experience. You can simply put in your headphones and listen to the drums beats as you practice yoga. This symbiosis of drum music and yoga can create the most desired brainwave pattern. In the process, these binaural beats result in very deep meditation. It can be thus derived that the drum beats also acts as an effective meditation music.

Drumming and yoga have been used since years. This duo awakens the energy, passion and drives the individual to attain spiritual goals. Drum beats that are used in yoga practice leave an impression which evoke mystic insight and the greater feeling of well-being. The senses are stimulated and relaxed and the practitioner experiences stress free and alert state. In the process, his creativity, clarity and intellect is enhanced. The unique sound experience of drums is further enriched by the drum music collection by Spirit Voyage. Spirit Voyage is an US based record label company which offers different CDS and DVDs for practice of yoga and meditation. The Drum music collection of Spirit Voyage includes artistes like David and Steve Gordon, James Asher, Suphala and others.

The myriad of yoga and meditation music collection of Spirit Voyage includes music for Kundalini yoga to Down Tempo and Chill Music, New Age Celtic Music to Instrumental Yoga Music for relaxation. The meditation music for Spirit Voyage are suitable for morning and evening dhyana. In addition to the spiritual music collection, Spirit Voyage also offers different yoga accessories like yoga rugs, yoga mats, yoga cushions and different malas and jeweleries. Different yoga and health and wellness books are offered by Spirit Voyage which assists an yoga aspirant to gain in depth knowledge on different kinds of yoga like Kundalini Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Vikrama Yoga, Sivananda Yoga and many more.

The beats of the drum enhance the healing states and help one increase the sense of harmony with nature and with oneself. Spirit Voyage, with its various kinds of yoga DVDs and CDs sends a musical invitation to all yoga aspirants to merge with the divine harmony of existence. The drum music in yoga is intuitively used to help a listening mind form a spiritual union with the mystic spheres.


Traditional Scottish Dance Music

Posted by: | Posted on: July 31, 2014

Scottish Dance Music incorporates many different genres and styles which have developed over time.

Traditional music was originally sung and played for social gatherings, where the original form of the ceilidh comes from. This was a gathering where different members of the party would each take turns to play a tune or sing a song, sometimes with others joining in.

Many of the tunes and songs have been passed down through the generations and are constantly evolving even today as musician put their own slant on them.

James Scott Skinner

The fiddle was a very popular instrument in Scotland and its profile in highland music was raised by James Scott Skinner in the late 19th and early 20th century. He was one of the first traditional musicians to tour abroad and took his music to America.

Much of his music was written for dancing and a great amount of his music was published and continues to be extremely popular.

Traditional music was also used to form some of the working songs like those sung by the women “waulking” the cloth in the woollen cloth-making, common in Scotland at one time.

Scottish Country Dance Bands

Scottish Country Dance Bands are nowadays comprised of two accordions, fiddle, piano double bass and drums. They generally play in strict tempo to accompany Scottish Country Dancing which has become a worldwide phenomenon thanks to the RSCDS. (Royal Scottish Country Dance Society)

Ceilidh Dance Bands

Ceilidh Dancing is perhaps more common and also accessible to non-dancers as you don’t need to know all the steps and formations beforehand. Ceilidh bands can be comprised of many different combinations of instruments. Fiddles, whistles and accordions are commonly used to provide a strong melody, with piano, guitar and drums providing the rhythm section.

There are also many contemporary Scottish bands which play in more of a concert setting rather than for dancing. These are often in large arenas and they tour around the world.

Worldwide Appeal

Wherever you go in the world, thanks to the large expatriate Scottish community, there are always festivals, societies and other events which bring Scottish ceilidh music across the world. As a result there is a huge demand for Scottish ceilidh bands and Scottish performers.

Here in the UK, there is a large network of Accordion and Fiddle Clubs which have regular meetings, inviting different bands to perform each month as guest artistes. They are also very supportive of young talent coming through which keeps the music alive and ensures that Scottish music retains its extraordinary popularity and appeal.


Music Has Power More Than Entertainment In Emotion And Mind

Posted by: | Posted on: July 26, 2014

Music is powerful. If you have ever watched movie The Shawshank Redemption, you may remember the scene that when Andy turned up the volume, every people in the Shawshank just stood and listened. It is not only a song from an unknown woman singer, but, well, maybe a sense of freedom or hope, no matter he was a music lover or not.

Undeniable, music is a kind of entertainment to people. While we are enjoying different kinds of music, it is all of one purpose- to entertain. We have music business and the entertainment business. If we dont listen to music to entertain, then what for?

Music has power. The initial and most obvious power of music is the ability to evoke emotions. Some will try to find the peace in music. Some likes dancing with rhythmic music. And some people even consider it as a way of showing the amorphous collection of suppressed emotions, feelings, pastexperiences, and other flotsam and jetsam.

Some types of music can relax us. After having a stressful work day, you may like to listen to some classic music, certain types of jazz, or songs from our favorite singers can physically relax our bodies and distract our minds from the day- at least for a while. I like light music and rhythmic songs, and I also like rap music. But I listen to them in different situation. I know you can understand why I wont listen to the rap music or most mournful music when Im terribly distracted.

You may notice that music in movie can have emotional effect while we are watching them. While you are watching a horror movie, the music can signal us when something scary, threatening or ominous is about to happen. But to a romance, the producer may spend a large amount of money on music that can shift the audiences emotions from moment to moment, from the first time the two leading role meet, to the end, happy ending or tragedy.

Through some experiment and convey, people find that music can open a kind of inner space in which certain experience can happen. Different kinds of music may lead listeners to experience a mental and emotional excursion or trip that seem quite real to them. Its like a dream, but closer. Thats why the film scenes with appropriate music track can influence your mood so much when you know it is only a movie.

Music has the power to heal your body, mind and spirit. The American Music Therapy in a recent research conducted regarding the use of music therapy find significance on how it can cure. Cancer patients instead of taking painkillers listened to Broadway tunes. Those with Alzheimer’s sing along with classical songs. Even pregnant women use music to help them breath and relax during labor. Crying babies listen to lullaby. It benefits not just these ailments but other aging related conditions, substance abuse problems, brain injuries, physical disabilities, acute and chronic pain, psychological disorders as Down syndrome and autism, and people suffering from hypertension as well. Since music affects blood pressure so much.

When someone listens to hard music normally blood pressure raises and if one listens soft and classical music blood pressure lowers down. Interestingly, in the research, all showed positive results.


Calm Stress – Using Music To Effectively Reduce Stress And Anxiety

Posted by: | Posted on: July 22, 2014

Most of us are familiar with the fact that music has an effect on our mood and feelings. It can allow us to relax or help us to come alive. Some people even find it hard to function without continuous background music. The great news is that music has been shown to effectively reduce stress and anxiety and can be of great help in relieving certain symptoms. If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to reduce stress, then perhaps it’s time to try a regular dose of your favourite music. Read on to find out how music can help you reduce stress and anxiety.

Stress and anxiety are brought on by our perception of being in a situation where we are not able to cope effectively or where fear is involved. When our stress response is activated, it tends to raise the heart rate and release stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline into the body, which suppress the immune system and stimulate us to prepare for “fight or flight”. When stress happens on a regular basis, we will start to experience stress related problems such as heart disease, stomach and bowel disorders and reproductive problems.

Some people cope better with stress than others and this often depends upon your personality type and your perceptions and outlook in life – for example, whether you view certain situations as challenges or problems or how much support you receive from the people around you. Men tend to react more to stress factors more than women, although when women take on male roles, this difference is not so pronounced.

The good news is that music and music therapy have been shown to reduce the activation of these responses and calm our symptoms of stress. Tests in various clinical situations have consistently shown music to help patients face their fears and reduce their anxiety. In one test, when music was played before and during surgery, 93% of patients found it helpful in reducing stress. Studies have shown that music helps to lower blood pressure, reduce heart rate, and lower levels of stress hormones in addition to decreasing anxiety. In some studies, those with the highest levels of anxiety were found to benefit the most.

Of course the music that can help us to reduce stress is often subject to individual preference and specific situations. Our response may vary, depending upon volume, type of music, familiarity and current mood. Loud or fast music may have the effect of stimulating us rather than relaxing us. Generally the most relaxing music would be relatively slow with a repetitive rhythm and stable contours.

So, next time you start to feel stressed, why not sit back, relax and try listening to one of your favourite soothing tracks, to help relieve those symptoms? There is a weight of evidence to suggest that this should help you to feel better. And, if you find that it does help, be sure to incorporate music amongst your regular stress management strategies.

References: Stress reduction through music in patients undergoing cerebral angiography, 2000, Schneider, Schedlowski, Schurmeyer and Becker, Neuroradiology(200) 43:472-476. Relaxing music prevents stress-induced increases in subjective anxiety, systolic blood pressure, and heart rate in healthy males and females, Knight and Richard, 2001, Journal of Music Therapy XXXV111(4), 2001, 254-272.


Benefits Of Spring Valley Fish Oil During Pregnancy

Posted by: | Posted on: July 21, 2014

It is not surprising at all to connect fish oil and pregnant women. Spring Valley has hundreds of health benefits for women and for women who are pregnant. However, not all moms know the exact benefits of taking Spring Valley fish oil during pregnancy. One may be surprised with all the benefits one can get but most importantly the benefit your baby can get with this supplement.

Fish oil is the most natural and reliable source of omega 3 fatty acid. This chemical has been studied by medical researchers for years and has proven its benefit towards health. It has proven to prevent diseases such as cancer, reduce the development of heart disease, reduction of inflammation such as arthritis and so on.

However, omega 3 is not naturally produced in the body. This is why people will have to get it from other sources and have it as a dietary supplement. As the source of omega 3 is from fish oils, it is an all natural product that is completely safe to take. Though not all fish have good quality omega 3 in them, thus it is best to check out the source before one has to purchase one.

Studies have shown that omega 3 has some good health benefits not only for pregnant women but also for their babies. It has been proven that pregnant women need to have an omega 3 EPA fatty acid and most especially DHA fatty acid. Sadly, eighty five percent of women are omega 3 fatty acid deficient, a jaw dropping two percent are the only women who have met the standard nutritional value.

The DHA or docosahexanoic acid and EPA or eicosapentaenoic acid plays a vital part in the health of a pregnant woman and the developmental growth of her baby. Experts recommend at least a nutritional value of 900 mgs of omega 3 fatty acid everyday throughout the entire pregnancy period.

Benefits of omega 3 in babies include higher chances of going full term, healthy birth weight, promotes hand and eye coordination, good nervous system development, lesser behavioral problems after birth, better eyesight, lesser allergy problems, increased IQ during school years. No to mention the usual benefits of omega 3 in one’s health.

Benefits of omega 3 in pregnant women include a reduction of possible postpartum depression, lower risk for cesarean section, reduced chances in developing pre-eclampsia, and decreased risk of breast cancer.

Indeed taking Spring Valley fish oil during pregnancy has lots of benefits, one may think of it as an added expense, but clearly these advantages can be all worth it. Taking care of your baby starts as early as during pregnancy.

From our research we have found the best fish oil supplement is made using Hoki fish from the clean waters around New Zealand. They contain high amounts of omega 3, dha and epa, and have been distilled ensuring purity. Want to improve your memory try these DHA fish oil memory boosting capsules.


Effective Music Branding Strategies And Tips

Posted by: | Posted on: July 18, 2014

Branding is instrumental in defining and determining the success of any business. This goes without saying in the music industry. People connect emotionally and mentally with music. Finding a way to promote branded music services and to develop music-based marketing strategies for a wide range of clients is the clear goal of all music branding agencies. However, it is the creativity and emotionality that will produce the most optimal results in regard to music branding.

Music boasts tremendous power over human beings. We turn to music when we need motivation, when we want to be happy, and when we are going through rough times, in addition to a plethora of other reasons. Because of the strong emotional connection that music harnesses, many reputable companies and organizations contact music branding agencies in order to identify a way to leverage the power of music when targeting consumers. In order to ensure that your musical selection will empower potential and present consumers, it is imperative that you know your audience in depth. If you release an irrelevant sound, then it can cause you to lose customers and cause detriment to your success.

When used in commercials, endorsements, and sponsorships, music can easily attract attention and interest; but you will want to ensure that you are garnering the respect of your target audience and not merely random consumers. Deploying surveys, entertaining suggestions, and encouraging customer feedback are all avenues to explore when you are trying to deduce how to most effectively connect with your audience. These factors combined with the expertise of a music branding agency should enable you to develop a sound that will resonate with your employees and your customers. It is important to note that there can be high costs associated with your vision depending upon the artist, song, and the popularity of both when you are deciding upon a relevant sound.

Your music selection should convey a message that accurately represents your brand. It should define your values, your goals, and how you choose to communicate. Yet, it should also reveal emotional points that evoke a deeper understanding and connection between your brand and your customers. Music branding can work quite effectively so long as it harmonizes with your other initiatives and seamlessly flows with your overall marketing strategies while simultaneously connecting with your audience on an internal level. If you can successfully accomplish these three elements, then not only will you spark a sense of pride and unity among your employees, but you will also establish your integrity to your consumers.

Music branding can be an effective tool when trying to build the strength of your brand as well as loyalty to your consumers. Understanding your audience is critical when it comes to determining a sound that will most accurately represent and reflect the ideals, values, and goals of your company. In taking the time to select a piece that will resonate with all of your brands supporters, you are helping yourself to attract lifelong customers that will faithfully believe in your products and your mission. For optimal music branding results, consider contacting a music branding agency to provide you with expert assistance.


Dish Network Music Channels

Posted by: | Posted on: July 13, 2014

Do you love listening to music? They say music has the power to both heal and calm. That is right in many ways. Whenever you feel low and sad, listening to music can give you the desired boost. If you listen to some soothing and relaxing music it can relieve you from all kinds of stress and tension. Music therefore has an important role to play in our day to day lives. We just love listening to music. Dont we? If you are a music lover who cannot live without music then you are sure to have an entertaining time with DISH Network, one of the leading satellite TV companies of the United States.

The Satellite TV provider offers you a wide array of music channels that can give you a heavenly musical experience. There are number of DISH Network channels that are dedicated to music. These channels bring you music of every kind and genre. Whether you love jazz, rock, blues, pop or any other kinds of music for that matter, you can get a variety of music of your choice on DISH Network satellite TV channels. You can also get to hear a number of musical performances by the eminent artists. The music related reality shows are also there. You will enjoy watching some of the rising stars of music industry through these programs. It is sure to be an experience to remember. You can hear some cool classics as well as some of the latest chartbusting singles by the pop idols through these channels.

We can classify the music channels on DISH Network in different categories. Some of these channels are audio channels while there are some channels that bring you the beautiful music videos that come with these singles and other songs.

DISH Network Audio Channels

The DISH Network audio channels can be found under the name of DISH Music. You can have a great time listening to your favorite genre of music with these channels. The channels include DISH MUSIC – 50′s & 60′s Hits, DISH Music – 70′s Hits, DISH Music – 80′s Hits, DISH Music – City Lights, DISH Music – Country Music One, DISH Music – Expressions, DISH Music – Gumbo, DISH Music Hitline, DISH Music Love Song, DISH Music Hot FM and much more. You are sure to get the best of songs and performances from the eminent artists with this DISH Network channel.

DISH Network Video Music Channels

There are a number of video channels that offer the viewers high quality music entertainment. Through the music channels you can not only get to hear some of the coolest music videos and live performances. Yes, that is true. You can enjoy the latest music videos by the famous pop stars and music bands through these DISH TV channels. You may also listen to some beautiful and refreshing country music through these channels. The channels include MTV, Country Music Channel or CMTT and much more.

Apart from these channels there are channels like Fox, NBC and ABC that brings you musical talent shows, live performances and much more with DISH Network channels.