Abstract. For a long time, African traditional music was seen as fixed and rigid, while the popular was allowed headroom for innovations—notions that continue to be challenged by current scholarship. This article further challenges this notion of rigidity and fixity by using a focused study of the Edo of Nigeria to demonstrate in very specific ways how dance bands are redefining traditional music through innovations in ways that articulate progressive traditionalism. Because much of so-called African popular music developed from indigenous roots and shows evidence of the interpenetration of the old and the new, this article proceeds to problematize the traditional/popular binary, proposing in its stead a theory of progressive traditionalism as a way to understand the continuous modernization of indigenous African music, as well as the continuous indigenization of imported foreign music and musical resources.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.