Expectations and perceived roles of the female musician among the Isukha
Bullindah, Jacqueline Zinale
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Studies carried out in various countries on music and gender portray women as people whose music making activists are dictated by their role and status in their various communities, among other factors. For example, women's dance styles have been perceived by scholars to reflect their sex roles. Campbell and Eastman (1984) for instance sat that among the Swahili of Kenya, women are taught dancing styles, which involve hip rotations, a reflection of their sex role. This study examined the implications of gender upon music composition and performance among the Isukha people, a sub-tribe of the Luhyia community of Western Kenya. It addressed explicitly, two central questions. First, to what degree does the Isukha community's gender ideology and resulting gender related behaviours affects its musical thought and practice? And second, how does music function in the Isukha community to reflect or affect people's attitudes towards women musicians. The study, in the long run, outlined the role played by women in music and articulated their values in music making. In the endeavor to achieve the above, a descriptive research design was adopted. Questionnaires, interview schedules, and observation schedules were used as research tools to get people's views, expectations and attitudes towards female musicians in the Isukha community. This resulted in a number of factors, which both directly and indirectly affect these women's music making activities. These, as shown in the study are a reflection of the society's perception of these women, both just as women and as women musicians. Their place in the society, their role and value in music making is also articulated.
- MST-Music