1st Edition

Artistic Dynamos: An Ethnography on Music in Central African Kingdoms

By Brian Schrag Copyright 2021
    252 Pages
    by Routledge

    252 Pages
    by Routledge

    Artistic Dynamos: An Ethnography on Music in Central African Kingdoms uses stories and research from Ngiembɔɔn communities of Central and West Cameroon as touchstones for proposing new approaches to arts scholarship and community development. Building on the results of ethnographic research, artistic action is viewed through the lens of communication. This view brings a picture of increased cultural energy in the enactment of artistic genres—those with melodic, rhythmic, poetic, dramatic, visual, and performative features. Schrag’s treatise will change how scholars across disciplines understand and engage with the arts. This volume offers methods for improved scholarship, resulting in communities living better lives. The author’s website contains the video and audio recordings discussed in the book, plus full color versions of many photos and diagrams.



    1 Setting the Stage: From Humble Learning to Artistic Communication

    2 First Meetings: Bamiléké Communities in Ethnographic and Artistic Context

    3 Discovery at Home: The Stable|Malleable Divide

    4 Confirmation from a Distance: The Inner Life of an Urban Dance Association

    5 Necessary Rigor: Multi-Artistic Description of One Enactment of One Communication Genre

    6 Better Futures: Stable|Malleable Dynamos in Community Thriving


    Brian Schrag is Senior Ethnomusicology & Arts Consultant, SIL International, and founder of the Center for Excellence in World Arts at Dallas International University.

    "Through close ethnographic work, Brian Schrag creates a malleable dynamos model of the intertwined arts in Bamiléké communities where artists innovate and nurture community vitality in vibrant, subtle ways. As a result, Central and West African expressive performance and the humanities study is richer." Ruth Stone - Indiana University, Professor Emerita, Ethnomusicology