Goema’s Refrain: Sonic anticipation and the Musicking Cape
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This thesis traces the making of a social world of the musicking Cape through sound, which it calls sonic anticipation. Sonic anticipation is threaded through a Cape-based musicking milieu called goema in the Nineteenth century, and through the regional jazzing culture that emerged in Cape Town in the latter part of the Twentieth century. A key concern is to read the sonic archive of Cape music without folding into a representational discourse of (apartheid) group identity or of a Cape exceptionalism. First, the thesis explores goema's emergence as folk music. In a central example, sonic anticipation is discernible in the intensities of a song called Daar Kom die Alibama [translated as ‘There Comes the Alibama’]. This song enabled goema to secure a status as racialised folk memory. Later in the Twentieth century, the song set the scene for a rearticulation that laid claim to the city as a response to the 'anxious urbanity' of race formation. This shift from the Nineteenth to Twentieth century musicking tradition is at the heart of what we have come to know as Cape jazz. In its genealogical construction of Cape jazz, the thesis traces a prefigurative aesthetics and politics that proposes new ways of thinking about the political significance of jazz. It traces the pedagogic strategies that musicians – Tem Hawker, Winston Mankunku, Robbie Jansen and Alex van Heerden - used in pursuing ‘ethical individuation’ with this racialised folk memory. By the early 1960s, jazz had become a method ‘archive’ or formative canon for these musicians. The thesis outlines how musicians used ‘nomadic’ pedagogies; following the energies that moved through the city, inside the technological, and discursive formations by which the social world was made. This thesis on goema’s refrain and the musicking Cape offers a way to consider a ‘difference that is not apartheid’s difference’.