It is often said about music that it is a universal language. And this seems to be the case. The truth here is that you don’t need to understand the language being played on the song to appreciate the beats, dance steps, and melody coming from the accompaniments. “Unlike language, however, music does not require ‘understanding’. People may be moved by the music of peoples whose language means nothing to them, and the same musical performance may mean different things to different people.” (https://www.culturalsurvival.org/publications/cultural-survival-quarterly/traditional-music-community-life-aspects-performance).
We have watched as music styles get exported to other cultures and put to use by entertainers, with modern means of music production encouraging this dynamism. Yet the old and the young eras of musical production have fared differently. The comparison between the old and new generation of musicians is important for the fact that music is an integral part of the culture.
Globally, music can be used to identify a culture. While Latin America is known for their Salsa, the Jamaicans can sing a reggae tune through your ears with ease. What will be said about the traditional music of most African cultures? From Kenya to Mali, to Nigeria, to Ghana, to Sudan, to Egypt, etc, you can’t exhaust the music content of these individual cultures.
While some traditional music may serve the purpose of spiritism others are merely tied to a particular musical instrument(s) with which the songs are accompanied. “Singing is universal, but our reasons for singing are not. Within the Western music canon, we sing primarily for recreation, performance, or for worship, three very different reasons. There are many other reasons for singing. For many cultures, music is a living force.
A West African musician might sing as a blacksmith forges a tool. Without the singing, they believe, the tool would have no strength. For them, music has power. In many cultures singing is used for diagnosing and healing illnesses. Through the use of dance and chant, many cultures use singing as a means of spiritual transformation reaching altered states of consciousness.
Many cultures use singing to make powerful connections to their bodies, through a variety of toning practices, and to their ancestral pasts through ancient rituals. For many cultures singing is not performing at all. For these cultures, music is an act of compassion. By singing, these cultures make the world a more beautiful place. Music becomes an act of sharing. There is no audience for this act of compassion; everyone participates.” (https://www.uua.org/re/tapestry/resources/music/chapter8/129383.shtml).
But modern musical performances have attacked this cultural part of music. The young era of music has focused more on show business thereby departing from the ideals of creating music to empower the immediate community, as was with the old era. No one is attempting to discountenance the need to make gain from music but the soul of music mustn’t be lost for financial gains. The dominant hip-pop culture shouldn’t replace our indigenous cultures since they can co-exist. Let’s not lose our roots to modern civilization.