Music of Equatorial Guinea

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Fang-Beti side-blown trumpet Brooklyn Museum 1996.200.4 Side-Blown Trumpet.jpg
Fang-Beti side-blown trumpet

Equatorial Guinea's culture has been less documented than most African countries, and commercial recordings remain scarce.

Equatorial Guinea country in Africa

Equatorial Guinea, officially the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, is a country located on the west coast of Central Africa, with an area of 28,000 square kilometres (11,000 sq mi). Formerly the colony of Spanish Guinea, its post-independence name evokes its location near both the Equator and the Gulf of Guinea. Equatorial Guinea is the only sovereign African state in which Spanish is the official language. As of 2015, the country had an estimated population of 1,222,245.

Culture Social behavior and norms found in society

Culture is the social behavior and norms found in human societies. Culture is considered a central concept in anthropology, encompassing the range of phenomena that are transmitted through social learning in human societies. Cultural universals are found in all human societies; these include expressive forms like art, music, dance, ritual, religion, and technologies like tool usage, cooking, shelter, and clothing. The concept of material culture covers the physical expressions of culture, such as technology, architecture and art, whereas the immaterial aspects of culture such as principles of social organization, mythology, philosophy, literature, and science comprise the intangible cultural heritage of a society.

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National music

The national anthem of Equatorial Guinea was written by Atanasio Ndongo Miyone and adopted in 1968, when the country gained independence from Spain . Equatorial Guinea was carved out of three former Spanish colonies: Río Muni, a strip of land between Cameroon and Gabon; Bioko, an island near Cameroon; and Annobón, an island in the Atlantic Ocean far from the mainland.

National anthem Song that represents a country or sovereign state

A national anthem is generally a patriotic musical composition that evokes and eulogizes the history, traditions, and struggles of its people, recognized either by a nation's government as the official national song, or by convention through use by the people. The majority of national anthems are marches or hymns in style. The countries of Latin America, Central Asia, and Europe tend towards more ornate and operatic pieces, while those in the Middle East, Oceania, Africa, and the Caribbean use a more simplistic fanfare. Some countries that are devolved into multiple constituent states have their own official musical compositions for them ; their constituencies' songs are sometimes referred to as national anthems even though they are not sovereign states.

Atanasio Ndongo Miyone was an Equatoguinean musician, writer and Fang political figure. He wrote the lyrics to Equatorial Guinea's national anthem, Caminemos pisando las sendas de nuestra inmensa felicidad. He was executed in 1969 following a failed coup to depose Francisco Macías Nguema, the first ruler of an independent Equatorial Guinea.

Spain Kingdom in Southwest Europe

Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a country mostly located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula. Its territory also includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.

Traditional music

The largest ethnic group are the Fang (85.7% (1994 census) of a total 704,001 (July 2013 est.)), with 6.5% Bubi and smaller populations of Mdowe (3.6%), Annobónese (1.6%) and Bujeba (1.1%), [1] including smaller groups such as the Ndowe, the Bisio and the Combe.

Ethnic group Socially defined category of people who identify with each other

An ethnic group or an ethnicity, is a category of people who identify with each other based on similarities such as common ancestry, language, history, society, culture or nation. Ethnicity is usually an inherited status based on the society in which one lives. Membership of an ethnic group tends to be defined by a shared cultural heritage, ancestry, origin myth, history, homeland, language or dialect, symbolic systems such as religion, mythology and ritual, cuisine, dressing style, art or physical appearance.

Fang people ethnic group

The Fang people, also known as Fãn or Pahouin, are a Central African ethnic group found in Equatorial Guinea, northern Gabon, and southern Cameroon. Representing about 85% of the total population of Equatorial Guinea, concentrated in the Rio Muni region, the Fang people are its largest ethnic group. In other countries, in the regions they live, they are one of the most significant and influential ethnic groups.

Bubi people ethnic group in Equatorial Guinea

The Bubi people are a Bantu ethnic group of Central Africa who are indigenous to Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea. Once the majority group in the region, the population experienced a sharp decline due to war and disease during Portuguese expeditions. By the end of Spanish colonial rule in the mid 20th century, and after substantial intermarriage with newly introduced populations, such as Afro-Cubans, Krio people, Portuguese people and Spaniards, the Bubi people, again, experienced a great decline in number. Seventy-five percent perished due to tribal/clan rooted political genocide during a civil war that led to Spanish Guinea's independence from Spain. This, too, sparked mass exodus from their homeland with most of the exiles and refugees immigrating into Spain. The indigenous Bubi of Bioko Island have since co-existed with non-indigenous Krio Fernandinos; and members of the Fang ethnic group, who have immigrated in large numbers from Río Muni. Once numbering approximately 3 million, the Bubi currently number around 100,000 worldwide.

The Fang are known for their mvet, a cross between a zither and a harp. The mvet can have up to fifteen strings. The semi-spherical part of this instrument is made of bamboo and the strings are attached to the center by fibers. Music for the mvet is written in a form of musical notation that can only be learned by initiates of the bebom-mvet society. Music is typically call and response with a chorus and drums alternating. Musicians like Eyi Moan Ndong have helped to popularize folk styles.

Mvet

The mvet is a stringed musical instrument, the harp-lute of the Fang people of Gabon, Cameroon, São Tomé and Equatorial Guinea. Somewhat resembling the Mande kora, but larger and simpler, it consists of a tubular stick of palm-raffia or bamboo, between one and two metres long, with usually three calabash resonators. A central vertical bridge divides four or five gut or metal strings, played both sides of the bridge.

Zither class of musical stringed instruments

Zither is a class of stringed instruments.

Harp class of musical instruments

The harp is a stringed musical instrument that has a number of individual strings running at an angle to its soundboard; the strings are plucked with the fingers. Harps have been known since antiquity in Asia, Africa and Europe, dating back at least as early as 3500 BC. The instrument had great popularity in Europe during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, where it evolved into a wide range of variants with new technologies, and was disseminated to Europe's colonies, finding particular popularity in Latin America. Although some ancient members of the harp family died out in the Near East and South Asia, descendants of early harps are still played in Myanmar and parts of Africa, and other defunct variants in Europe and Asia have been utilized by musicians in the modern era.

A three- or four- person orchestra consisting of some arrangement of sanza, xylophone, drums, zithers and bow harps accompanies the many dances in Equatorial Guinea, such as the balélé and the risque ibanga. [2]

Mbira African musical instrument of the lamellophone family

The mbira is an African musical instrument consisting of a wooden board with attached staggered metal tines, played by holding the instrument in the hands and plucking the tines with the thumbs. The mbira is usually classified as part of the lamellaphone family and part of the idiophone family of musical instruments.

Xylophone musical instrument of the family of mallets

The xylophone is a musical instrument in the percussion family that consists of wooden bars struck by mallets. Each bar is an idiophone tuned to a pitch of a musical scale, whether pentatonic or heptatonic in the case of many African and Asian instruments, diatonic in many western children's instruments, or chromatic for orchestral use.

Drum type of musical instrument of the percussion family

The drum is a member of the percussion group of musical instruments. In the Hornbostel-Sachs classification system, it is a membranophone. Drums consist of at least one membrane, called a drumhead or drum skin, that is stretched over a shell and struck, either directly with the player's hands, or with a percussion mallet, to produce sound. There is usually a resonance head on the underside of the drum, typically tuned to a slightly lower pitch than the top drumhead. Other techniques have been used to cause drums to make sound, such as the thumb roll. Drums are the world's oldest and most ubiquitous musical instruments, and the basic design has remained virtually unchanged for thousands of years.

Another popular instrument is the tam-tam, a wooden box covered with animal skin. In its center are bamboo keys installed with complete musical scales. A second type of tam-tam has two different levels of musical keys. Generally, wooden musical instruments are decorated with fauna images and geometric drawings. Drums are covered with animal skins or animal drawings. [3]

There is little popular music coming out of Equatorial Guinea. Pan-African styles like soukous and makossa are popular, as are reggae and rock and roll. Acoustic guitar bands based on a Spanish model are the country's best-known indigenous popular tradition, especially national stars Desmali and Dambo de la Costa. [4]

Other musicians from Equatorial Guinea include Malabo Strit Band, Luna Loca, Chiquitin, Dambo de la Costa, Ngal Madunga, Lily Afro and Spain-based exiles like Super Momo, Hijas del Sol and Baron Ya Buk-Lu  (es ).

Related Research Articles

Malabo Place in Bioko Norte, Equatorial Guinea

Malabo is the capital of Equatorial Guinea and the province of Bioko Norte. It is located on the north coast of the island of Bioko, formerly known by the Bubis, its indigenous inhabitants, as Etulá, and as Fernando Pó by the Europeans. The city has a population of approximately 187,302 inhabitants.

Throughout history, various methods of musical instrument classification have been used. The most commonly used system divides instruments into string instruments, woodwind instruments, brass instruments and percussion instruments; however, other schemes have been devised.

Music of Cameroon

The best-known Music of the Cameroon is makossa, a popular style that has gained fans across Africa, and its related dance craze bikutsi.

Culture of Equatorial Guinea

While lying on the enriched continent of Africa, Equatorial Guinea has proved to be entrenched in ancient rituals and songs. This is especially true for the Fang, a people whose territories begin at the southern edge of Cameroon south of Kribi, Djoum, and Mvangan in the South Province and continue south across the border, including all of Rio Muni in Equatorial Guinea, and from there south into Gabon and Congo. The capital island of Bioko has largely been influenced by Spanish customs and traditions during the colonial period, when education and health services were developed in the country.

Guzheng Chinese music instrument

The zheng or guzheng, also known as a Chinese zither, is a Chinese plucked string instrument with a more than 2,500-year history. The modern guzheng commonly has 21 strings, is 64 inches (1.6 m) long, and is tuned in a major pentatonic scale. It has a large, resonant soundboard made from Paulownia. Other components are often made from other woods for structural or decorative reasons. Guzheng players often wear fingerpicks made from materials such as plastic, resin, tortoiseshell, or ivory on one or both hands.

Music of the Republic of the Congo

The Republic of the Congo is an African nation with close musical ties to its neighbor, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Democratic Republic of the Congo's homegrown pop music, soukous, is popular across the border, and musicians from both countries have fluidly travelled throughout the region playing similarly styled music, including Nino Malapet and Jean Serge Essous. Brazzaville had a major music scene until unrest in the late 1990s, and produced popular bands like Bantous de la Capitale that played an integral role in the development of soukous and other styles of Congolese popular music. The Hip-Hop group "Bisso na Bisso" also hails from Congo-Brazzaville.

Bikutsi is a musical genre from Cameroon. It developed from the traditional styles of the Beti, or Ewondo, people, who live around the city of Yaoundé. It was popular in the middle of the 20th century in West Africa. It is primarily dance music.

Traditional Korean musical instruments

Traditional Korean musical instruments comprise a wide range of string, wind, and percussion instruments. Many traditional Korean musical instruments derive from Chinese musical instruments.

Traditional Japanese musical instruments are musical instruments used in the traditional and folk music of Japan. They comprise a range of string, wind, and percussion instruments.

Traditional Vietnamese musical instruments are the musical instruments used in the traditional and classical musics of Vietnam. They comprise a wide range of string, wind, and percussion instruments, used by both the Viet (Kinh) majority as well as the nation's ethnic minorities.

Psalterium (instrument)

A psalterium, or tambourin à cordes, is a stringed musical instrument, the name of which is synonymous with the psaltery. In specific usage, this name denotes a form of long psaltery that is tuned to provide drone chords. Sometimes called a "string drum," though not to be confused with a friction drum also called a "string drum," it is usually used as rhythm accompaniment with a form of tabor pipe. It is also known as tambourin de Béarn or Tambourin de Gascogne in French, ttun-ttun[cunˈcun] in Basque, salmo in Spanish, and chicotén in Aragonese.

Because Equatorial Guinea has undergone many years of international isolation, its tourism industry is very undeveloped, with limited hotel space available in Malabo and Bata. Attractions include the Spanish colonial architecture of Malabo, the beaches, and the tropical rain forests. A certificate of vaccination against yellow fever is required. A valid passport is needed; there are no visa requirements for US passport holders.

Sasando

The sasando, also called sasandu, is a tube zither, a harp-like traditional music string instrument native to Rote Island of East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia.

The kong ring or gung treng is a Cambodian tube zither, in which a tube of bamboo is used as a resonator for stings that run along the outside of the tube, lengthwise. It has the same musical purpose as the "bossed gongs" and may substitute for them and accompany singing. Although it is a traditional instrument with a long history, it has been improved on in modern times. The kong ring is represented by similar instruments in other countries of South Asia and the Pacific.

References

  1. C.I.A. World Factbook, "Equatorial Guinea", at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ek.html
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2005-03-04. Retrieved 2005-05-29.
  3. EquatorialGuinea.org; Retrieved 12/08/1998
  4. "Desmali" (in Spanish).