Nigeria, Diaspora, Igbo, Highlife music, Immigrants, Guangzhou, China


This article concerns Nigerian music making in Guangzhou, one of China’s leading manufacturing and trading centres, and where the largest groups of Africans in China, more generally, are concentrated. Nigerians are the largest community of Africans in Guangzhou and, like other Africans traders, practice what has been referred to as “low-end globalisation” (Mathews and Yang 2012). Beyond entertainment, music making among Nigerians, and Africans in China more generally, has a significant role in not only maintaining a sense of belonging but also in communicating key social concerns, aspirations and sentiments that stem from the experience of living and working in Guangzhou. This article describes how these experiences unfold in specific songs composed by two Igbo Nigerian immigrants whose aspirations and efforts to live and work in the city resulted in different outcomes.

Author Biography

Manolete Mora, University of New South Wales, Sydney

Manolete Mora (PhD Monash) is an Associate Professor. His research interests include music in the Philippines, Indonesia and Ghana, and Africans in China and, more generally, ethnography and popular music. He has published widely in musicological and anthropological journals and has produced CDs for Rykodisc and Smithsonian/Folkways. His monograph on Filipino indigenous music, published with Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2005, won the National Book Award for Folklore in 2006. He has also worked as a consultant for UNESCO projects among Tibetans and Mongolians in China. Performance activities include Balinese gamelan and Afro-Cuban music.


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How to Cite

Mora, Manolete. 2019. “‘THIS COUNTRY OF CHINA IS TOUGH’: NIGERIAN IMMIGRANT MUSIC MAKING IN GUANGZHOU, CHINA”. African Music : Journal of the International Library of African Music 11 (1):29-48. https://doi.org/10.21504/amj.v11i1.2291.