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DISCOnnections: Popular Music Audiences in Freetown, Sierra Leone

by Michael Stasik

This book offers an intriguing account of the complex and often contradictory relations between music and society in Freetown’s past and present. Blending anthropological thought with ethnographic and historical research, it explores the conjunctures of music practices and social affiliations and the diverse patterns of social dis/connections that music helps to shape, to (re)create, and to defy in Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown. The first half of the book traces back the changing social relationships and the concurrent changes in the city’s music life from the first days of the colony in the late 18th century up to the turbulent and thriving music scenes in the first decade of the 21st century. Grounded in this comprehensive historiography of Freetown’s socio-musical palimpsest, the second half of the book puts forth a detailed ethnography of social dynamics in the realms of music, calibrating contemporary Freetown’s social polyphony with its musical counterpart.

ISBN 9789956728510 | 256 pages | 244 x 170 mm | Colour Photographs | 2012 | Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon | Paperback



“The vibrant night life of Freetown’s bars and clubs is a world of lively self-assertiveness challenging the usual stereotypes of Sierra Leonean youth as hell-bent on violent destruction. Here, new soundscapes and styles of embodied action and interaction are shaped in ways that might surprise the visitor raised only on stories of stubborn poverty and endemic violence. Having immersed himself in an exhausting schedule of club bashes and parties in the unfashionable parts of the city Michael Stasik surfaces to offer the reader a beautifully observed and richly detailed account of a post-war generation of young Sierra Leoneans hard at play, heedless of obstacles.”

Paul Richards, School of Environmental Studies, Njala University, Sierra Leone



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