Music, Health, and Power: Singing the Unsayable in The Gambia

1st Edition

Bonnie B. McConnell

Published November 11, 2019
Reference - 162 Pages
ISBN 9780367312725 - CAT# 311522
Series: SOAS Studies in Music Series


Add to Wish List
FREE Standard Shipping!


Music, Health, and Power offers an original, on-the-ground analysis of the role that music plays in promoting healthy communities. The book brings the reader inside the world of kanyeleng fertility societies and HIV/AIDS support groups, where women use music to leverage stigma and marginality into new forms of power.

Drawing on ethnographic research conducted over a period of 13 years (2006–2019), the author articulates a strengths-based framework for research on music and health that pushes beyond deficit narratives to emphasize the creativity and resilience of Gambian performers in responding to health disparities. Examples from Ebola prevention programs, the former President’s AIDS “cure,” and a legendary underwear theft demonstrate the high stakes of women’s performances as they are caught up in broader contestations over political and medical authority.

This book will be of interest to scholars and students of ethnomusicology, medical anthropology, and African studies. The accompanying audio examples provide access to the women’s performances discussed in the text.

Share this Title