Sunday, May 26, 2013


Because Chad has a ton of ethnic groups spread across the region, you can imagine that their music is as diverse.  Different groups have their own variations in musical style, instrumentation.  It’s probably best to describe their music in reference to the various ethnic groups.

The Fulani people tend to use single-reed flutes, but they’ll also use a 5-string kinde (a type of arched harp).  You’ll also hear the use of various kinds of horns in their music as well. People in the Tibesti region tend to make use of lutes and fiddles as well. Although you will find a cappella vocal music, using claps as accompaniment. One common form you find throughout many areas of Africa is a call and response. 

The certain ceremonies, such as coronations, long ceremonial trumpets are used; these musical ensembles who use these kind of trumpets along with other brass instruments are called “waza” or “kakaki.”

The Teda people, who live near the Tibesti mountains on the Chad-Libya border, has a strong folk music tradition. The men play various string instruments as an accompaniment to women’s folk singing. The men use the string instruments as their “voice” since in their culture, it’s inappropriate for men to sing in front of adult women. Something tells me there won’t be any Frank Sinatra-esque crooning going on.

A lot of the other instruments used in Chadian traditional music is also found across the Sahel and northern Africa regions as well. Different kinds of percussion instruments, string instruments and horns are popular instruments and are used in their music, no matter which tribe you belong to and which region you live in.

As far as popular music goes, the major influences comes from styles generating our of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Styles like soukous and sai are found among many of the Chadian popular music styles today. I found a group called Tibesti (the album Tebeïn le Tëhl) on Spotify, and I liked the vast majority of their music. I wish I could actually find a CD of them, though. 

Like many other African countries in this region, traditional dance go hand in hand with traditional music. And many of the dances are named after the style of music it is associated with. Dance in these areas is usually either telling a story, performed as part of a ceremony, or merely for entertainment. In the city of N’Djamena, there are many dance clubs and bars with dance nights that are very popular as means of entertainment.

Up next: the food!

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