Songs “El Aparecido” and “Nyarai (Be Ashamed)” are examples of how the citizens of South America and Zimbabwe demonstrate their response to political and social changes. In “Nyarai,” traditional musical features are an 8-beat melodic cycle, the polyphonic interplay of bass and guitars, improvisation, and insistent articulation by percussionists (Schechter 2018). In Inti-Illimani’s version of “El Aparecido,” sesquialtera metrical rhythm with the juxtaposition of 3/4 and 6/8 metric feel is observed (Schechter 2018). Combining minor and major scales helps incorporate old features in a new way and adapt traditional music to modern realities.
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According to Schechter (2018), both songs perfectly represent the chosen political goals like the importance of the war for black liberation, effective leadership, and revolution as the only way to deal with urban violence. To support political and social transformations and underline the turbulence of the regime, the performers try to honor the already made achievements and make people modify social and cultural interests. Politics cannot be soft and convenient for everyone, and this theme turns out to be a common feature in the songs.
I truly believe that the use of traditional musical forms is critical for modern political songs. This method is a unique opportunity to show the connection between ordinary people (society), the government (politics), and music (art). Sometimes, it is hard for an individual to understand the reasons for a particular political decision or the choice of harsh methods in regulating society. Songs in South America and African countries are used to explain many aspects, either in social or governmental aspects, and a search for a balance between harmony and conflict is what unites music and politics. Both “El Aparacido” and “Nyarai (Be Ashamed)” are not only songs with a number of traditional musical features but the messages of how to appreciate change and development in the time of massacres, warfare, and violence.
Schechter, John M. 2018. “South America/Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru.” In Worlds of Music, Shorter Version, edited by Jeff Todd Titon, Timothy J. Cooley, and David Locke, 277-310. Boston: Cengage.