Identity in its making: playing the difference in the music of Baay Fall Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Bocci, Paolo
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Anthropology
  • What is the role of musical expressions in the life of the Baay Fall sect? Which tensions is this music able to bring to light? Which contradictions are held together in their practices? What do those chants say that cannot be expressed in other forms, namely in the theological discourse? Baay Fall is a fundamentalist sect within the Muslim brotherhood of Mourid in Senegal. Drawing on an ethnographic field work during the last summer, I trace in my paper some of the threads that intertwine music and the social in the Baay Fall identity. Baay Fall rarely acknowledge, and with unease, their music. During my three-month field work I was often advised to change my study interest into the serious matter, their religious doctrine. Yet music thrives as a religious expression, political strategy, and sometime profane leisure. This contradiction is not an isolated case in describing the BF world. Music of Baay Fall does not just reflects, rather it engages in the exchanges with internal tensions and external pressures; it creates, appropriates, and reuses fragments of identity in the dialogic and contested everyday making of their social and religious belonging. Customs, doctrine, and rituals define genealogies of belonging that overlay and intersect among them. Some of these contradictions, at the core and the periphery of their being, find their eminent emergence in BF music.
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  • Wiener, Margaret
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  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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