Sukuma Labor Songs from Western Tanzania

'We Never Sleep, We Dream of Farming'

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This volume is an interpretive analysis of a collection of 335 song texts treated as primary historical sources. The collection highlights the cultural practices that link music with labor in Sukuma communities in northwestern Tanzania. These linkages are evident in the music of the elephant, snake, and porcupine hunting associations that flourished in the precolonial epoch, in the nineteenth-century regional and long-distance porter associations, and in the farmer associations that have proliferated since the beginning of the twentieth century. Acting primarily as an interpretive editor, the author collaborated with several Tanzanian scholars and translators towards fine-tuning the translation of these texts into English, and gathered testimonies in order to create succinct interpretive statements about the songs.

The African Music Section of the Society for Ethnomusicology is pleased to announce that the 2012 Kwabena Nketia Book Prize has been awarded to Frank Gunderson for his book, Sukuma Labor Songs from Western Tanzania: "We Never Sleep, We Dream of Farming, published by Brill in 2010. Grounded in nearly twenty years of ethnographic research, we congratulate Professor Gunderson for this excellent publication in African music studies
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Biographical Note

Frank Gunderson, Ph.D. (1999), is Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology at Florida State University. He has conducted extensive fieldwork in Tanzania, and has produced the CD Tanzania: Farmer Composers of North West Tanzania (Multicultural Media, 1997). He has published articles and reviews in Ethnomusicology and Africa Today, is a recent guest editor of The World of Music, and has co-edited the book Mashindano!: Competitive Music Performance in East Africa (Mkukina Nyota Press/African Books Collective LTD, 2000).

Review Quotes

The African Music Section of the Society for Ethnomusicology is pleased to announce that the 2012 Kwabena Nketia Book Prize has been awarded to Frank Gunderson for his book, Sukuma Labor Songs from Western Tanzania: "We Never Sleep, We Dream of Farming, published by Brill in 2010. Grounded in nearly twenty years of ethnographic research, we congratulate Professor Gunderson for this excellent publication in African music studies.

'Gunderson's book "is an interpretive analysis of a collection of 335 song texts treated as primary historical sources. The collection highlights the cultural practices that link music with labor in Sukuma communties in northwestern Tanzania" (p. 1). Because the volume contains a variety of work songs from the precolonial period to the beginning of the twentieth century, the amount of data available for the comparative analysis of musical trends and other topics is exceptional. Given the growing interest in historical studies in ethnomusicology, the author provides a model for the documentation and analysis of similar cultural practices in both Africa and other parts of the world. The sheer breadth and depth of the material is impressive. His retrieval of African history through an analysis of song texts contributes to not only our historical understanding but of bringing to the fore how these texts can be used as important primary sources'.

'Gunderson’s Sukuma Labor Songs from Western Tanzania is an invaluable contribution to the study of the music of Tanzania, the cultural expressions of the Wasukuma, as well as African oral history and literature'.

Imani Sanga, University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in AFRICAN MUSIC vol. 9 issue 1 2011

'This collection of 335 songs and their interpretations, covering a complete genre known as labor songs and exhaustively indexed according to title, singer, composer, theme, type, location, region, period, and recording session, exemplifies the monumental work that can be done in beneficial circumstances. The publisher, Brill, should be commended for sharing the results with a large(r) audience'.

Koen Stroeken (2014). African Studies Review, 57, pp 241-242 doi:10.1017/asr.2014.120

Table of contents

CONTENTS

Editors’ Introduction ......................................................................... ix
Acknowledgments .............................................................................. xiii
List of Illustrations ............................................................................ xv
List of Figures and Maps .................................................................. xvii
Key to Abbreviations and Symbols ................................................ xix
Notes on Orthography, Translation and Transliteration ........... xxi
Key to Sukuma Musical Labor Genres .......................................... xxv
Village Locator Chart and Area Maps ........................................... xxix

Introduction ........................................................................................ 1
Scope of the Project ...................................................................... 1
Organization and Nature of the Collection .............................. 4
From Work Song to Musical Labor ........................................... 7
Sukuma Song Texts as Sources for History .............................. 13
The History of Sukuma Nganda (Clans) ................................... 15
Sukuma Competitive Performance, Music Aesthetics, and Form ............................ 18

I. Songs of the Bayeye (Snake Hunters) and the Banuunguli (Porcupine Hunters) ... 25
II. Songs of the Bayege (Elephant Hunters) .............................. 73
III. Songs of the Baja Nyalaja (Lake Eyasi Salt Caravaners) ... 112
IV. Songs of the Bapagati (Long-Distance Porters) .................. 121
V. Songs of the Balugu (Warriors) and Barugaruga (Mercenaries) ................ 136
VI. Songs of the Askaris (Conscripted Soldiers) ........................ 152
VII. Songs of Reciprocal Village Labor ......................................... 171
VIII. Songs of the Bagobogobo (‘Skin Wearers’) and Bakomyaluume (‘Dew Steppers’) Competitive Farming
Associations ............................................................................. 226
IX. Songs of the Bagobogobo in Praise of the Hoe .................. 264
X. Songs of Balimi (Farmers) Concerning Disease, Drought, and Famine ............ 300
XI. Songs of Nationalist Praise for TANU, Julius Nyerere, and Uhuru ...................... 332
XII. Songs of Political Discourse during the Ujamaa Epoch (1967–1985) ............... 354
XIII. Songs Concerning the War against Idi Amin .................... 395
XIV. Songs of Praise for the CCM since Julius Nyerere’s Presidency (1985–1995) ................ 406
XV. Songs of the Basungusungu (Village Vigilante Associations) ............................................... 435
Concluding Remarks: The Fluidity of Sukuma Musical Labor Genres ....... 453

Appendices
I. Glossary of Sukuma Music-Related Terms ....................... 455
II. Sukuma Aphorisms Related to Music and Labor ............ 470
III. Significant Events in Sukuma History ................................ 473
IV. List of Interviews Cited ......................................................... 476
V. Extended Oral Biographies of Select Commentators ....... 481
Bibliographic Sources ........................................................................ 487
Indices
Song Title (First Line) Index ....................................................... 497
Kisukuma Titles ........................................................................ 497
English Titles ............................................................................. 503
Singer Index ................................................................................... 511
Teacher and Composer Index ..................................................... 513
Thematic and Topical Keyword Index ...................................... 514
Personal Name Index ................................................................... 519
Geographical Index ....................................................................... 524
Genre Index .................................................................................... 526
Time Period Index ........................................................................ 527
Region Collected Index ................................................................ 529
Collector Index .............................................................................. 530
Recording Index ............................................................................ 531
Author Index ...................................................................................... 534

Readership

All those interested in African history and expressive culture, anthropology, ethnomusicology, and ethnopoetics.

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