Towards a “true African-Brazilian Musicology”: interview with Meki Nzewi
Meki Emeka Nzewi can be considered one of the pioneers of an "African Musicology" that overcomes the limitations of Africanist approaches. An Africa- sensed Musicology is more than a quest; it is a positioning of legitimization of African epistemologies and methodologies for understanding and defining the music practices of the African continent. At the same time, it is a form of combating colonialist procedures that marked the development of ethnomusicology or, in its early days, Comparative Musicology (Vergleichende Musikwissenschaft), based largely on exogenous and distanced analyses of African music, undertaken mostly from the point of view of European and North American white researchers (NKETIA, 1962; 1974; AGAWU, 1992; 2003; MAPAYA 2018; MAPAYA and MUGHOVANI, 2018, 2018; GRAEFF, 2020). Born in Igbo (Nigeria) in 1938, Meki Nzewi is professor of African Music (theory and practice) at the University of Pretoria (South Africa) and Program Director of the Centre for Indigenous Instrumental Music and African Dance Practices (CIIMDA). As a composer, cultural arts educator, theorist and music arts philosopher, creative writer, music dramatist, performer and choreographer, he has written and directed a series of musical theater works with a repertoire of multicultural compositions for various genres (symphony, opera, musicals, ensembles, voices/solo instruments, etc.). As an “African Mother Drummer” , he initiated the Modern African Classic Drum with compositions written in solo, duo and ensemble. He has published numerous books and articles (see selection in the bibliographic references) and was the First President of the Pan African Society for Education in Music Arts (PASMEA). In his texts, Nzewi speaks of a "true African mind", which we have paraphrased for the title of the interview, seeking to apply the philosophy behind this concept to the music of African hues of Brazil and to propose the beginning of a joint quest for a "true” African-Brazilian musicology.