What is Tribal House History meaning and origins



Tribal house is a sub-genre of house music similar in structure to deep house, but providing elements of ethnic or “indigenous” musical percussions (most typically of African or South American origin, and thus reminiscient of “tribal” music within those contintents). Oddly, though, “tribal house” refers more to the fact that those characteristic beats are created digitally (drum machines, samplers) rather than live!
The beats still retain the staple 4/4 measure, but generally, instead of the standard kick and snare, more percussive sounds such as congas, bongos, shakers, cabasas, surdos and cuicas are used to create the “sound”. More recently, percussion from the Asian continent (such Indian tablas and Japanese taiko drums) are now being explored and utilised for greater expression.
Tribal house is a fusion of various styles of dance music (in the same way that Latin House blends elements of soulful to harder-edged styles), and can range from uplifting and cheerful to dark and aggressive in mood – hence, there is a tendency to classify this style within the genre of “hard house”, because the drums are more dominant within musical pieces.
Artists and DJs within this sub-genre include the likes of Roger Sanchez, Ralphi Rosario, Robbie Rivera, Chus and Ceballos, and Junior Vasquez.
It is widely acknowledged that African music has undergone frequent and decisive changes throughout the centuries. What is termed traditional music today is probably very different from African music in former times. Nor has African music in the past been rigidly linked to specific ethnic groups. The individual musician, his style and creativity, have always played an important role.
The material sources for the study of African music history include archaeological and other objects, pictorial sources (rock paintings, petroglyphs, book illustrations, drawings, paintings), oral historical sources, written sources (travelers’ accounts, field notes, inscriptions in Arabic and in African and European languages), musical notations, sound recordings, photographs and motion pictures, and videotape.
In ancient times the musical cultures of sub-Saharan Africa extended into North Africa. Between circa 8000 and 3000 bc, climatic changes in the Sahara, with a marked wet trend, extended the flora and fauna of the savanna into the southern Sahara and its central highlands. During this period, human occupation of the Sahara greatly increased, and, along rivers and small lakes,
Neolithic, or New Stone Age, cultures with a so-called aquatic lifestyle extended from the western Sahara into the Nile River valley. The aquatic cultures began to break up gradually between 5000 and 3000 bc, once the peak of the wet period had passed. The wet climate became more and more restricted to shrunken lakes and rivers and, to a greater extent, to the region of the upper Nile. Today remnants survive perhaps in the Lake Chad area and in the Nile swamps.


The cultures of the “Green Sahara” left behind a vast gallery of iconographic documents in the form of rock paintings, among which are some of the earliest internal sources on African music. One is a vivid dance scene discovered in 1956 by the French ethnologist Henri Lhote in the Tassili-n-Ajjer plateau of Algeria. Attributed on stylistic grounds to the Saharan period of the Neolithic hunters (c. 6000–4000 bc),
this painting is probably one of the oldest extant testimonies to music and dance in Africa. The body adornment and movement style are reminiscent of dance styles still found in many African societies.
Some of the earliest sources on African music are archaeological. Although musical instruments made of vegetable materials have not survived in the deposits of sub-Saharan climatic zones, archaeological source material on Nigerian music has been supplied by the representations of musical instruments on stone or terra-cotta from Ife, Yorubaland.
These representations show considerable agreement with traditional accounts of their origins. From the 10th to the 14th century ad, ig̀bìn drums (a set of footed cylindrical drums) seem to have been used. The dùndún pressure drum, now associated with Yoruba culture and known in a broad belt across the savanna region, may have been introduced around the 15th century, since it appears in plaques made during that period in the kingdom of Benin.
The Yoruba dùndún drums are now used as “talking drums” in accompaniment to oriki (praise name) poetry (see Oral traditions). The double iron clapperless bell seems to have preceded the talking drum. Pellet bells and tubular bells with clappers were known by the 15th century.
Other archaeological finds relating to music include iron bells excavated in the Katanga (Shaba) region of Congo (Kinshasa) and at several sites in Zimbabwe. Benin bronze plaques represent a further, almost inexhaustible source for music history, since musical instruments—such as horns, bells, drums, and even bow lutes—are often depicted on them in ceremonial contexts.


Other archaeological finds relating to music include iron bells excavated in the Katanga (Shaba) region of Congo (Kinshasa) and at several sites in Zimbabwe. Benin bronze plaques represent a further, almost inexhaustible source for music history, since musical instruments—such as horns, bells, drums, and even bow lutes—are often depicted on them in ceremonial contexts.
Beginning in the 17th and 18th centuries, lamellaphones with iron keys, a prominent feature of ancient Zimbabwe and neighbouring kingdoms and chieftainships, spread from the Zambezi valley northward to the kingdoms of Kazembe and Lunda and to the Katangan and Angolan cultures.
In the course of migration, some models became smaller, because they were used as travel instruments; others were modified and gave rise to the numerous types present in western Central Africa during the first half of the 20th century. (For a further description of the lamellaphone, see Idiophones.)
Stylistic traits of likembe music linking it to its region of origin were only gradually modified in the new areas to suit local styles. At the beginning of the 20th century the likembe distribution area extended farther to the northeast into Uganda, where the Nilotic Alur, Acholi, and Lango adopted it. It was later introduced to southern Uganda by northern Ugandan workers; there the Bantu-speaking Soga and Gwere adopted it and began to construct models entirely from metal, even with a metal resonator.
The likembe also spread southward from the lower Congo, penetrating Angola from the Kasai region of Congo and being adopted as recently as the 1950s by the Khoisan-speaking !Kung of Kwando Kubango province in southeastern Angola.

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