Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Pan-African Studies

Committee Chair

Rajack-Talley, Theresa

Author's Keywords

Igbo music; African music; Bongo music; Resisting cultural hegemony through music; Music as social commentary


Bongo; Music--Social aspects--Nigeria; Musicians--Nigeria


This study investigates the use of bongo music as a medium for social commentary in society. African traditional musicians, without formal education have been able to address socio-political and moral issues. The methodology includes the use of autobiographic stories and lyrical analysis. The lyrics are drawn from the musical CDs of two musicians who are of different generations. Reviews of literatures are also used to discuss the historical background of Nigeria and the Igbo people, the function of music in the life of an African culture including music, and the impact of colonization in African music. The analysis explores the musicians' ability to resist cultural hegemony through musical instruments, language and lyrics. The lyrics specifically address issues of decolonization, unity, family relations and social justice. By addressing socio-political and moral issues, these bongo musicians have been able to provide philosophical insight into the African way of life.