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John Knox Bokwe, Colonial Composer: Tales about Race and Music


This article intervenes in debates on the status of 'race' in ethno/musicological writings. It does so through an examination of the compositional discourse of colonial black South African choral music, particularly detailed analyses of the work of John Knox Bokwe (1855-1922) and their metropolitan sources such as late nineteenth-century gospel hymnody, exploring both how Bokwe's compositional practice enacted a politics that became anticolonial and how early black choral music became 'black' in its receptions. The article concludes that ethno/musicological claims that colonial black choral music contains 'African' musical content conflate race and culture under a double imperative: in the names of a decolonizing politics and a postcolonial epistemology in which hybridity as resistance is racialized. EXPLORE FULL ARTICLE


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