(East-West Question) Marcela: Why is there a bright future for China-Africa music exchanges?

  China News Agency, Johannesburg, March 21st: Marcela: Why is the future of China-Africa music exchanges bright?

  China News Agency reporter Wang Xi

  As a unique symbol of African culture, African music is unique in the field of world music with its strong sense of rhythm and rhythm, and is sought after and loved by music fans all over the world.

Especially in the context of the unprecedented close relationship between China and Africa, China-Africa music exchanges are increasingly becoming an important part of bilateral cultural exchanges.

  As one of the most well-known musicians in South Africa, Vesey Maracela has been playing a bridge role in the foreign exchange of African music in recent years.

Marcela recently accepted an exclusive interview with China News Agency's "East-West Question" to talk about the current situation and prospects of China-Africa music exchanges.

  The following is a summary of the interview transcript:

  China News Agency reporter: What is the history of China-Africa music exchanges?


1949 was a node of musical exchange between Africa and China.

Before the founding of the People's Republic of China, music exchanges between Africa and China existed but were very limited. Most of them were African artists coming to China to perform. Therefore, relatively few Chinese people knew about African music.

Chinese music also lacks opportunities to communicate with Africa. It is difficult for Chinese artists to travel to Africa to communicate, and African people have little understanding of Chinese music.

  After 1949, Africa-China music exchanges entered a new era with Africa-China relations.

Political, economic and other exchanges have led to exchanges in the field of music.

The music exchange between the two parties has gone through a relatively single form and a small number of initial stages. Starting from 1978, the first year of China's reform and opening up, the music exchange between Africa and China has entered a stage of development, with mutual visits, performances, training cooperation, and non-governmental exchanges. In the 21st century, music exchanges between Africa and China have entered a prosperous stage. With the help of platforms such as Confucius Institutes and cultural festivals, the fields of exchanges and cooperation between the two sides have been continuously expanded, and the content and forms have been continuously enriched.

  All in all, since the founding of New China, music exchanges between Africa and China have continued to deepen and achieved remarkable results.

In the 2021 Chinese Spring Festival Gala, the famous singer Zhu Mingying sang an African song, which can be called a good story of African-Chinese music exchange.

In May 2014, the "Sea Silk Night" - the 16th Cross-Strait Economic and Trade Fair Art Gala was staged brilliantly in Fuzhou, Fujian.

The picture shows the Uganda Art Troupe performing the African inspiration "Passionate Africa".

Photo by China News Agency reporter Lv Ming

  China News Agency reporter: What are the achievements and significance of China-Africa music exchanges?


The music exchange between Africa and China has now become an important part of the cultural exchange between the two sides, and it is expected to play an increasingly important role in the future.

It is gratifying that the music exchange between Africa and China is not only at the non-governmental level, but also has the support and attention of the governments of both sides. For example, the relevant agreement on the exchange of performance groups between the two sides not only guarantees the quality of Africa-China music exchange, but also guarantees. height of communication.

  The second is to promote personnel exchanges.

From Africa sending art groups to perform in China in the 1960s, to Chinese artists going to Africa to learn African songs and dances in the 1970s, to now African and Chinese people know and love each other's music, it can be said that music exchange has become an important bridge, promoting both sides. The exchange and cooperation of music culture has also made the exchanges between the two sides more frequent.

  Third, the exchange of music culture between Africa and China has driven the development of music education and academic research on both sides.

Today, with the deepening of exchanges and cooperation between the two sides, African music can be more systematically presented to the Chinese people, such as the translation and introduction of works such as "African Music" and "A General History of African Music" by Chinese academic circles, the publication of a series of musical works from both sides, and the introduction of music from both sides. Both teaching have introduced their own representative music works, which have provided a broader space and scope for African-Chinese music exchanges and cooperation.

In December 2008, at the National High School "Music Course (Module Education)" Practice and Research Seminar, students from the High School Affiliated to Beijing Capital Normal University were performing African music.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Song Jihe

  China News Agency reporter: What are the current problems in China-Africa music exchanges?


Although the music exchange between the two parties has made great progress in the past few decades, there are still some problems, which hinder the pace of the exchange and cooperation between the two parties to a higher level.

  First, there are few specialized academic studies.

The research level of the music exchange between the two parties only stays on a brief overview introduction, or describes the feeling experience.

Although Africa and China pay a certain amount of attention to each other's music, academic research is still lacking, the channels for acquiring knowledge are single, and the professionalism is far from enough.

Although there have been sporadic studies on both sides in recent years, the lack of continuity has become a major regret in the current Africa-China music exchange.

  The second is the lack of relevant theoretical works.

As far as I know, at present in China, there is an extremely lack of theoretical and systematic works on African music.

So far, "African Music" is still the most important book for Chinese music lovers to study African music, but the book has been published for a long time and can no longer meet the needs of Chinese music fans in today's era.

In Africa, the same problem is more serious.

African people's understanding of Chinese music is almost limited to film and television pictures, theatrical performances, and online introductions, and has failed to form an effective theoretical concept.

In June 2019, children interacted with foreign drummers during the African dance event held in Beijing World Park.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Zhao Jun

  China News Agency reporter: How do you see the prospect of China-Africa music exchanges?


Although the music exchange between Africa and China is facing certain problems, especially the new crown pneumonia epidemic has caused the music exchange between the two sides to be almost stagnant for the past two years, I am still full of confidence in the prospect of Africa-China music exchange.

The current Africa-China relationship is in the best period in history. The equal, friendly, mutually beneficial and win-win relationship between brothers will provide more favorable development conditions and environment for music exchanges and cooperation between the two sides. and other platforms, Africa-China music and cultural exchanges are expected to become the highlight of Africa-China cultural relations in the future. Through the bridge of music, the future of Africa-China cultural exchanges after the epidemic is worth looking forward to.

In September 2018, Gabonese President Bongo, who participated in the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, walked on the stage to strike the chimes and chimes after enjoying the chime music and dance at the Hubei Provincial Museum.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Zhang Chang

  In my opinion, in the future, more international students will be sent to each other, and they will become the best communicators of their respective music.

For example, in China, it is becoming a fashion for college students to choose African music and African dance in their spare time. In Africa, both Confucius Institute teachers and university students will pass on some knowledge of Chinese music to their African friends. College students can sing Chinese songs, and in Ethiopia, local people's performance of Chinese songs and dances has become a highlight.

  Secondly, the in-depth cooperation in music teaching between Africa and China is expected to cultivate a group of specialized academic talents who understand each other's music. They will use their theoretical knowledge to complete a number of monographs with strong academic and theoretical nature, so that the people of both sides can truly understand Their music plays a role in answering questions.

Only in this way can we further promote mutual musical and cultural exchanges.


  Interviewee Profile:

  Maracela, a famous South African musician, writer and poet, was born in Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa in 1965. He enjoys a high reputation in South Africa and his music is described as "African folk".

  Maracela's works are full of rich African folk features, including "Tell Africa", "When You Come Back", "The Most Violent Crash", etc. The creative themes include fighting for freedom, as well as forgiveness and reconciliation with the enemy.

Marcela performed at Nelson Mandela's inauguration in 1994.