Accepted Paper:

'American Visa': A Yorùbá socio-cultural music composition that exemplifies cross-cultural linkages  


Grace Talabi (Stellenbosch University)

Paper short abstract:

'American Visa' is a topical Yorùbá musical work from a secular cantata that explores the interface between the social and cultural realities of the Nigerian society and the transcendence or continuity of the cultural activities outside of Nigeria (America).

Paper long abstract:

'American Visa' becomes an intuitively suggestive piece for the interrogation of Yorùbá cultural linkages with America's. Although the narrative in the text of this music anchors on immigration and specifically the manner by which, Nigerians respond to the country's economic challenges, the music composition concurrently is ingrained in the cross-cultural and acculturative musical processes and elements.

'American Visa' is a composition written in the year 2005 by a Nigerian composer of art music, Dayọ̀ Oyèdúǹ. It is a secular cantata piece and the last number in his collection of the Hospital Cantata. This is evidently a Yorùbá music composition that recognizes and articulates the interface between the social and cultural realities of the Nigerian societies and the transcendence and continuity of the cultural activities outside Nigeria. The role of a topical work as 'American visa' is suggestive of music's role as a link between the Yorùbá culture and its representations in countries other than Nigeria. While music serves as a cultural link, it also creates an awareness of human complexities and how they navigate through this to find meaning for living.

This paper, through the analyses of the music score and video recording, interrogates the convergence or divergences articulated in this music. It investigates how African cultural nuances are exemplified in Oyèdùń's 'American Visa' and the role of the music in a broader social context.

Panel Art04
Yorùbá culture and music as connections, identity formation and disruptions among African Americans