New ThinkTanks 2021

From 30-04-2021 on
IPEM at De Krook
Luc Nijs
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This is a tentative list for the 2021 ThinkTanks till Easter 2021 and beyond.

IPEM is organizing Think Tanks on a weekly basis. The IPEM thinktanks are regular gatherings about research topics, related to the IPEM research themes. Usually the attendants are a mix of (post)docs and external experts/researchers. They foster critical thinking and discuss in-depth the presented subjects, methods, strategies and outcomes of the presenters.

The list can change last minute due to circumstances, without a notice in advance...
Interested participants can send an email to and request a videolink.


21/05/2021: Dominiek Pyfferoen - The Sahelian Factor in the Contemporarily Idioms of Music-Making in Northern Ghana
Abstract. In this paper we introduce a theoretical model that disconnects the structural key components in the digital contemporary idioms of music-making in the Sudanic Savannah Belt of Northern Ghana from the cultural components of language and ethnicity. We argue for that disconnection because our data shows that the prevailing ethno-linguistic anthropological classification of languages in the Northern parts of Ghana is a linguistic model  and cannot be fully applied to the contemporary digital idioms of music-making in that area. Classifying contemporary musical idioms according to the ethno-linguistic model of languages and ethnicities acts as a historical remnant from the colonial period. Our model shows that the historical ethno-linguistic tribal division of music-making in Africa cannot be longer fully applied to the current the new digital online contemporary idioms. The production, reproduction and distribution of music in the Sudanic Savannah Belt in Ghana has become mobile, digital. Music transforms and blends from the traditional idioms into a hybrid local Afro-techno pop culture of neo-traditional and contemporary idioms. The Sudanic Savannah Belt is an immense geographical area that accommodates a wide variety of musical traditions. The Northern Region of Ghana is part of that rich cultural dynamical belt and shows a  remarkable distribution and a wide variety of cultural forms of musical expressions, including the traditional idioms, neo-traditional and the digital contemporary idioms. These forms of cultural expressions are very dynamical and influence both the socio - economic and geopolitical way of life. The various forms of musical expressions, take place within a cultural time-space zone which is not totally bound by the geopolitical territories. The Sahelian factor in the music of Northern Ghana is a key component that contributes to the dynamics of music-making in the Sudanic Savannah Belt showing a clear distinction between cultural key components and structural key components in music-making. On the one hand, the model shows that on the semantic level there is an intimate close relationship between music and the local languages e.g. the lyrical use of probers and narratives in the drum rhythms, the use of tone language in the Akarima drum messages when playing in the speech mode of drumming. On the other hand the model shows that on the level of the structural key components, which are the mathematically measurable components in music, the building blocks from which music is built of, that a disconnection of language and ethnicity occurs. On the semantic level, the language-related components, are the different relationships between tone language and music. It is a very important factor in the traditional and the contemporary idioms of music-making in the Sudanic Savannah Belt of Northern Ghana. On the hand in the structural key components, our analysis shows that music and dance cultures in Northern Ghana interact with each other and that these contemporary digital idioms of music-making have more similarities than differences. By the hand of cultural analysis we show the distribution of the Bamaaya, Takai, Tora, Simpa and Tindana dances. Our audio analysis shows that the distribution of a nasal timbre, the concept of the movable one, the intensity factor, modal structures in the harmony and the tempo stability factor in de dance mode of drumming  are structural key components that contribute to the dynamics of music-making in this area. Cultural components that contribute to the Sahelian factor are the lyrical use of proverbs, the intimate relationship between language and drum language, the phenomenon of chieftaincy in the promotion and sponsoring of the local traditions by the local chiefs, the spread of the Islam, the organization of oral education, the organization of informal markets, the mobility of these musical cultures in combination with factors of globalization. The Sahelian factor in the music of Northern Ghana is linked to the phenomenon of cultural co-resonance and the local star cults, the discourse of globalization of music as a mobile digital form of art, the online streaming and the distribution of music through social media and the entertainment industries, a booming local Bollywoodish inspired film industry. These unique combinations of transforming and blending endogenous musical and cultural elements in combinations with foreigner (western cultural) digital techniques and elements makes Northern Ghana and the Dagbon Hiplife Zone in Tamale a vibrating entertainment scene, an intangible liminal place of cultural production, reproduction and distribution or digital arts. The division of music-making in the contemporary digital idioms according to the established generally accepted ethno-linguistic anthropological classification model of classifying music according to languages and ethnicities seems somewhat outmoded. It is a historical remnant and echo from a colonial past. Tribalism and ethnicities are cultural components and has little  to see with the contemporary idioms of music-making. The ethno-linguistic anthropological classification model of classifying these contemporary idioms of music-making according to languages and ethnicities functions for the new upcoming generation of musicians in that part of Africa as a mental colonial force. Meaning that it is one of the major jammers that blocks the local Afro-techno pop musicians from breaking through internationally.

28/05/2021: Presentation of the IPEM project MusixR


A load of information can be found on the IPEM Thinktank pages for 2019-2021.