West African women in music: an analysis of scholarship Women's participation in music in west Africa: a reflection on filedwork, self and understanding

  • Angela Scharfenberger Indiana University Southeast


In June of 2006, as I packed to travel to Ghana to conduct two months of pre-dissertation exploratory research on women's music, I also packed a host of ideas about women's music in west Africa, having conducted extensive library research on the topic in the two years of graduate study I had completed just previous to my arrival in Ghana. I was hoping to find an interesting, fundable music tradition during my fieldwork that summer. I held the belief that women's music existed in west Africa as a category whose boundaries I could clearly define. I thought maybe I'd find the rare female drummer who had broken free from the taboos of gender roles in society. I wished for a group that might demonstrate a sense of female solidarity, developed through the creation of sound and movement. I sought a music tradition where women expressed themselves musically.
How to Cite
Scharfenberger, A. “West African Women in Music: an Analysis of Scholarship Women’s Participation in Music in West Africa: A Reflection on Filedwork, Self and Understanding”. African Music: Journal of the International Library of African Music, Vol. 9, no. 1, Nov. 2011, p. [221]-46, doi:https://doi.org/10.21504/amj.v9i1.1764.