‘Don’t Talk into my Talk’:oral narratives, cultural identity & popular performance in Colonial Uganda

Book chapter


Kasule, Samuel 2010. ‘Don’t Talk into my Talk’:oral narratives, cultural identity & popular performance in Colonial Uganda. in: James Currey.
AuthorsKasule, Samuel
Abstract

The essay draws on available archival sources and conversations with performance practitioners to 'recover moments from the past'demonstrating the relationship between performers, society and the colonial masters.

Performance in colonial Uganda was dominated by dance and song, although individual technical mastery of dance, song, and instrumentation was a prerogative of the professional performers and court musicians who played at the royal courts, beer parties, and market places. There are limited written materials available on indigenous performances of the colonial period in Buganda. However, the existence of a corpus of archival Luganda musical recordings, going back to the 1930s, and oral narratives of aged people, gives us an insight into performance activities of this period. Old musical recordings help us to understand various forms of performance about which we know little, and contribute to aspects of performance that have shaped contemporary Ugandan theatre. The essay identifies popular performances a form existing before colonisation, how these were ‘documented’ and what has survived. It examines how the texts, impacted on by complex colonial and missionary systems reveal syncretised popular performance infrastructures. Finally, it explores the notion of the body as a “memory” reflecting on selected Ugandan indigenous aesthetics of performance.

Performance in colonial Uganda was dominated by dance and song, although
individual technical mastery of dance, song, and instrumentation was a prerogative
of the professional performers and court musicians who played at the
royal courts, beer parties, and market places. There are limited written materials
available on indigenous performances of the colonial period in Buganda.
However, the existence of a corpus of archival Luganda musical recordings,
going back to the 1930s, and oral narratives of aged people, gives us an insight
into performance activities of this period. Old musical recordings help us to
understand various forms of performance about which we know little, and
contribute to aspects of performance that have shaped contemporary Ugandan
theatre. The essay identifies popular performances a form existing before colonisation, how these were ‘documented’ and what has survived. It examines how the texts, impacted on by complex colonial and missionary systems reveal syncretised popular performance infrastructures. Finally, it explores the notion of the body as a “memory” reflecting on selected Ugandan indigenous aesthetics of performance.

KeywordsIndigenous; Performance; Archives; Empire
Year2010
PublisherJames Currey
ISBN978-1-84701-014-8
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/10545/142899
hdl:10545/142899
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Publication dates18 Nov 2010
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Deposited22 Sep 2011, 14:21
ContributorsUniversity of Derby
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