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The Motherland score is an innovative exploration into the cinematic representation of a Classical African sound world. Whilst much of the score draws primarily on the West African Griot tradition, it also had to reinvent it to accommodate for the demands of the visual realm.
In order to create this film score Sona Jobarteh has explored many instruments in different ways to that of their traditional setting. This includes using the Kora as a bass instrument, tuning it to different scales, and playing the Guitar in a style emulating the sound of an African lute, as well as being influenced by the West African Griot style of guitar playing. She has also created a new instrument which she named the ‘Nkoni’ for use in many of the compositions. This is a cross between the Kora and the Donso Ngoni, expanding the tonality and mood of the African musical sonic. Her vocal style draws on the West African Griot style, however there are aspects which also lean towards other African influences. Factoring into the creation of a unique African aesthetic was her avoidance of two crucial paradigms; firstly the reliance on the cinematic familiarity of western stringed instruments, and secondly the stereotypical predominance of drumming as a signature of African musical representation.
The Motherland score is just one 21st century expression of the dynamic nature of African music. It is a window into the realms of possibility within the diverse application for an African cinematic sound world.
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