Concertina Modalities: Modalities of Pleasure in 'White' South African Folk Music


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


Department of Music


'Concertina Modalities' is the first academic study on boeremusiek, a genre of concertina-based dance music mostly practised by white Afrikaans-speaking South Africans. It explores the overlaps of discursive and affective meanings in the history and contemporary practices of the genre. Based on the premise that musical pleasure can be experienced with reserved commitment, the project furthers a theory of social modalities. Different modalities of affective engagement are traced: boeremusiek’s blackface history, the emotive theme of embarrassment in the genre’s reception, notions of rapture in the archival documents of songcatcher Jo Fourie, the tonality of capital in mid-twentieth-century practice, and the juxtaposition of material excess and conservative ideology at contemporary events. Employing novel methodologies and approaches, the disciplinary advances of the book lie in its treatment of theory, ethnography and history with sensitivity towards the material rather than in submission to disciplinary expectations, thereby opening up new avenues for the African humanities.