Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Workshop with Popular Artistes-Coming Soon!

Upcoming-Reflection Workshop with Popular Artistes

Popular musicians are powerful conveyors of ideas and in constituting popular culture. The lyrics of songs are repeated in everyday discourse and find their way into explanations on women's intrinsic "nature" and pronouncements on how gender relations should occur, often even justifying the unjust treatment of women. For example, Ghanaian highlife songs often portray women as scheming, greedy, and untrustworthy, but also as great mothers and faithful lovers.

Very little work has been done to examine gendered images in popular culture. One of the projects of the West Africa RPC hub explores the ways in which women are represented in different music genres, and by different artistes since the 1950s. We examine the main themes about women in the song lyrics, both explicit and implicit, focusing on narratives of women's bodies and their roles as workers, providers, caregivers, lovers. The project also seeks to encourage these popular artistes to be more reflexive in their conceptions of women, to write alternative lyrics, and hence to seek new ways of representing women that challenge negative stereotypes and that women might find empowering. This we will do through two specific activities – an artistes' reflection workshop, and subsequently, a song competition in which songs will be judged for content (lyrics and their arrangement) as well as rhythm and melody.

The reflection workshop takes place in July 2008 and will bring together:

- Popular musicians;

- members of the Association of Musicians,

- The media especially journalists for entertainment pages,

- hosts of TV and radio music programmes;

- DJs;

- and possibly a few 'Consumers' of music products, especially young people and those in professions that allow for a great deal of music listening in the course of their work – such as public transport drivers and domestic workers.

The workshop format will include listening to music, reflecting on song texts, and conversations around possible alternative texts. RPC members will share from some of our on-going textual analyses of song lyrics.

Prof. Akosua A. Ampofo

Dr. Awo Asiedu

No comments: