Does the Acoustic Guitar Have A Place In Authentic Traditional African Music?


When it comes to traditional music, there will always be two camps of people.  It doesn’t really matter whether we’re talking about traditional African music, or Southeast Asian Aboriginal music, or music performed by the Eskimos.  There will always be purists on one end saying that for this music to be truly authentic, it must be raw, uncut, and absolutely unadulterated.  In their minds, adulteration means any kind of Western musical influence.

In fact, a lot of purists go so far as to say that real traditional music can’t even be written down.   Crazy, right?  Well, there is a reason for such extremism.  They are basically saying that if we were to apply any kind of Western influence on traditional music by definition, we are watering it down or somehow debasing it.

On the other end of the equation are people who say that there is such a thing as fusion music. There is a cultural fusion of different musical instruments and musical styles.  This fusion doesn’t really take away from traditional music.  In fact, according to this school of thought, it actually enhances traditional music by widening its audience.

Now, this begs the question: Does acoustic guitar or any other Western instrument have a place in authentic traditional African music?  It would be great if you were to pick up a classical Spanish guitar from Reviewplays or other guitar review resources and play along with African traditional musicians, but a lot of people hesitate.  They think that by using a guitar, they might actually be watering down the music.  Some are concerned that this may lead to the traditional African musical instruments like the Okra and others being downplayed.

Well, it really all boils down to what kind of effect you’re trying to create.  If you’re trying to just fill in the sound and let the authentic traditional music take over, then it’s okay.  But if you’re actually trying to reshape, modify, or otherwise remold traditional music using modern musical equipment, then that’s another matter entirely.

Reviewplays, for example, lists out a great range of guitars with different sound qualities and specialties. You can check out their wide selection of reviewed specialty guitars to find just the right kind of western musical input into otherwise traditional African music. If you pick the right string equipment, you might just be able to produce a melodious fusion of not only Western and traditional African music but you might be able to explore completely new musical terrain. After all, the high quality guitars from this review site can give you access to a thoroughly nuanced, versatile, and flexible selection of different guitar tones and sounds. If you are going to produce a fusion, you might as well make sure you pick the very best input of Western traditional guitar sounds.

Please remember that this is not really a question of either or.  It really all boils down to motivation and effect.  By using high-quality guitars bought from places like Reviewplays and others, you can actually add an extra layer of complexity and richness to otherwise traditional African music. Instead of simply supplementing traditional indigenous music, you end up marrying auditory elements of both worlds and coming up with something distinctly new. Sounds awesome, right?