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University of Southern California

1. Neely, Sionne Rameah. Sensing the sonic and mnemonic: digging through grooves, Afro-feelings and Black markets in Ghana, 1966-present.

Degree: PhD, American Studies & Ethnicity, 2010, University of Southern California

This study considers how the burgeoning popular music industry of Ghana becomes particularly vulnerable after Kwame Nkrumah's administration is deposed in 1966. Situated in the breach between the succeeding military regimes’ occlusion of western businesses and tourists and the post-Rawlings civil governments’ appeal to transnational financiers to invest in “modern” nation building, this project interrogates how Ghanaian musicians acquire pursuits of happiness outside the state, particularly in encounters with African American tourists for widespread distribution of music, tour bookings and access to sophisticated sound technologies. Throughout these political shifts, the lives and work of highlife and hiplife artists remain fraught with unstable wages, payola to radio DJs and conflicts with the Copyright Office over music piracy. Alliances between African American tourists and Ghanaian musicians are persistently negotiated through the transfer of a desirable “home”—in Ghana through a reclamation of racial and cultural identity in heritage performance events, sites and objects and in the U.S. and U.K. with sustainable wages through entry in the international music market.; From 2009-2010, I conducted over seven months of field research including more than 70 audio- and video-taped interviews with musicians, music producers, radio and television deejays, music union representatives, tour operators and government officials. I consider how the compelling and elusive quality of Black sound and music performance is imprinted with the peculiar and enduring mechanisms of slavery and colonization, dispossession and disfranchisement, myth and mayhem. I interweave the concepts of grooves, Afro-feelings and Black markets through the wounded natal condition of African diasporic being and the spectacular production of music in the capture/the captives/the captivating: 1) capture, a persistent historical force that dispossesses Black subjects by turning them into 2) captives, confined or restrained persons, enslaved by another against their will and the 3) captivating, how the enchanting and compelling properties of Black music and racial kinship have been used to resist and reinterpret such repressive agencies while remarkably sustaining life in the midst of it all. Advisors/Committee Members: Marez, Curtis (Committee Chair), Gilmore, Ruth Wilson (Committee Member), Kondo, Dorinne (Committee Member), Frazier, Taj Robeson (Committee Member), Moten, Fred (Committee Member).

Subjects/Keywords: African studies; African American studies; African diasporic studies; Black popular culture; ethnomusicology; 20th century African history; African music; hip hop studies; myth &; magic; nationalism

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APA (6th Edition):

Neely, S. R. (2010). Sensing the sonic and mnemonic: digging through grooves, Afro-feelings and Black markets in Ghana, 1966-present. (Doctoral Dissertation). University of Southern California. Retrieved from http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p15799coll127/id/374698/rec/5797

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Neely, Sionne Rameah. “Sensing the sonic and mnemonic: digging through grooves, Afro-feelings and Black markets in Ghana, 1966-present.” 2010. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Southern California. Accessed January 17, 2021. http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p15799coll127/id/374698/rec/5797.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Neely, Sionne Rameah. “Sensing the sonic and mnemonic: digging through grooves, Afro-feelings and Black markets in Ghana, 1966-present.” 2010. Web. 17 Jan 2021.

Vancouver:

Neely SR. Sensing the sonic and mnemonic: digging through grooves, Afro-feelings and Black markets in Ghana, 1966-present. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. University of Southern California; 2010. [cited 2021 Jan 17]. Available from: http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p15799coll127/id/374698/rec/5797.

Council of Science Editors:

Neely SR. Sensing the sonic and mnemonic: digging through grooves, Afro-feelings and Black markets in Ghana, 1966-present. [Doctoral Dissertation]. University of Southern California; 2010. Available from: http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p15799coll127/id/374698/rec/5797

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