David Kerr (University of Birmingham, UK)


This paper explores the emergence at street events in Dar es Salaam’s informal settlements of a new electronically produced musical genre, Singeli. Performed on the edge of the cities political, social and musical infrastructure, Singeli began when at street parties DJs isolated, looped and increased the speed of instrumental sections of older popular Tanzanian songs. Singeli producers thus appropriated and reconfigured Tanzanian musical history. Through its use of an assemblage of sounds Singeli engages with multiple temporalities, of the pre-colonial, post-colonial and afro-futurity.

Singeli, I argue, enables its producers and fans to conceptualize their relationship to both space and time in interesting and important ways. I suggest the relationship between Singeli and the musical past provides a lens through which to explore how young people play with the multiple temporalities of novelty, nostalgia and anticipation as well as those of the past, present and future.

You can hear some Singeli here: