By the same authors

Dakar: articulating the tremendous

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review




Conference De Volta Pro Futuro: Música Popular e Tempo / Back to the Future: Popular Music and Time. 18th Biennial IASPM Conference
Conference date(s)29/06/153/07/15

Publication details

DatePublished - 30 Jun 2015
Original languageEnglish


The final track on the Brotherhood of Breath’s Country Cooking was not named accidentally. Credited to Chris McGregor, but with much of the musical subtlety reliant on key creative contributions in performance from the rhythm section of Brian Abrahams (drums), Chris McGregor (piano) and Ernest Mothle (bass), the groove of ‘Dakar’ is a fascinating an example of what Cornell West described as the ‘tremendous articulateness [that] is syncopated with the African drumbeat’.

That Dakar (Senegal) was the exit port for many African people transported to the United States as slaves wasn’t lost on Abrahams, McGregor and Mothle. And neither was the pain of an inescapable embrace that binds popular music to this disgraceful episode in human history.

Seventy-nine years on from Hughes Panassié’s early attempts to acknowledge – and (re)articulate in prose – the knowledge embedded in groove by musicians building on innovations initiated by the arrival of African musicians in the southern United States, this paper will use the Brotherhood of Breath’s ‘Dakar’ to address a number of methodological challenges facing scholars of groove and timing in popular music.

    Research areas

  • Groove, Timing, Swing, South Africa, Analysis

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