IASPM International Conferences - Proceedings, Situating Popular Musics

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Jazz, space and power in apartheid South Africa: The army and the church
Nishlyn Ramanna

Last modified: 2013-01-22


Drawing on a dramatic trope of “actors”, “theatres”, and scripts, this paper theorises some ways in which the power relations that attend individuals' experiences of performing and listening to jazz are inflected by the spaces and places in which those experiences transpire. Empirically, the paper focuses on the memories of interviewed jazz musicians and audience-members active on the jazz scenes of post-apartheid Durban and Johannesburg. It describes how some of these musicians' and listeners' participation in the military and church spaces of apartheid South Africa variously enabled, constrained, and ultimately politicized their musical activities.

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