A Historical and Ethnographic Study of Guitar Bands among the Edo People of Nigeria


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


Performing Arts


This study is on the development of guitar music tradition among the Edo people of South-South Nigeria. It examines the social history of this musical tradition, its relationship to Edo traditional music, and why it has grown to become a voice of society for both rural and urban dwellers. It relies on primary data gathered through oral interviews and consultations with performing musicians, recording studios, audiences, cultural centres, and archives, and includes content analysis of selected song texts. Secondary data from published literature on the Edo people, culture and society, African music, popular music, and Nigerian history also enrich the work. The project addresses the issue of hybridity and authenticity in contemporary African performing arts advances the theory of 'Progressive Traditionalism,' which posits that culture can develop progressively without losing its traditional roots.