Community Music

Community Music

“Where there is a community there is community Music” – Sebit Martin, Executive Director – Community Development Centre – CDC 

Historically music was very significant to early communities and Community music played an important role in those communities; communities used variety of tools to create musical instruments and sounds that are unique only to their community. There are range of sounds for different functions and to mark key events in the community, it was one of the earliest forms of communication and integral to positive community relations. it kept cultures and traditions strong and flourishing. Community music promotes social development by increasing feelings of connection and enabling members to integrate within their community towards a stronger community. Community Music creates a sense of belonging. In the words of Sebit Martin “Community music is an expression of culture… It incorporates the symbols of lived experience such as Kinship and the passages of rites and when the community music plays, the rhythm awakens and reminds them of their cultural norms and moral values as a factor contributing to harmony and mutual responsibility to the particular community.”  

What is Community Music? There are many answers and a number of perspectives to what community music is; For us at the Community Development Centre – CDC, we define community music as music of the community, about the community, for the community, rooted in the community, and shaped by local community cultural and social contexts; a kind of music that is of local identity with a specific community, tradition, culture and heritage. It shares community aspirations, inspires a sense of community, promotes community life and social development, bringing community members together and fostering local growth and community development.

Sebit Martin, the Executive Director of the Community Development Centre – CDC says “Where there is a community there is community Music. Community Music connects one to his/her origin and community, the feeling of it is the same as the feeling you get when you hear someone speaks in your own language in a foreign land. Community music is so powerful that it does not only connect people to their community but it brings communities together, and motivates people to acknowledge differences, appreciate them, identify with and support each other. Community Music is a great tool for community building, positive change and development. It enables people to enjoy, learn community values, and feel that closeness to their community” 

Here is community music:

  • A Music that contains important messages about a local community or communicates to community members in a way that makes members to feel at home, and motivates people to identify with and that brings people together. 
  • A Music that inspires the sense of community, promotes community life and contributes to local growth and development.
  • A Community Cultural music, songs that bear the community’s traditional pattens or created in local language and that which is unique to an Indigenous community. 
  • Or music that enhances lives of the community, and fosters community development.

While Community music may often inherit its style from the roots of the community’s traditional sounds, we believe that all genres of music when properly made by a community musician and bears the key elements highlighted above can make great community music that would enrich lives in the community.

Franko Lokunyumi – A South Sudanese Kakwa community musician

A Community Musician is a person who composes or performs community music or an individual who makes music for his or her community and whose music is about the community. community musicians have preserved their community’s local identities, promoted community life and made music that strengthen their community bonds. Today there is so much in music, many more kinds of music made and listen to in the communities, while this offers a lot, it put communities in danger to losing their identifies. It therefore crucial that we maintain community music because it maintains community’s identity and it does it in a powerful manner that nothing else can do. Not even written books, because music moves deeply the senses.  For South Sudanese community who are displaced by civil war and scattered around the world, community music is very important to them and best thing that would bring them in contact with their cultures. We have seen of recent many south Sudanese community searching for way to connect to their communities by helping community musicians to make community music, helping them record old community songs, or make videos of traditional dances, and share local song book copies. Community musician who had composed community music or wrote new words to an old song have been received with love and support. We believe community Music is core thing for communities to survive and thrive. It helps them establish and maintain themselves. We hope to launch annual community music Awards to recognize Contribution to music in the community, and community life. 

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