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In this dissertation I examine the history and musical culture related to the Kawuugulu royal drums of the Baganda people. I argue that the royal drums and their use articulate principles of social organization through symbolic performances of history, which performers reenact in ways that suit contemporary cultural needs. I analyze historical narratives regarding the royal drums in order to decipher what they reveal about the process of Kawuugulu's origin, establishment, and historical development. My analysis reveals that this process drew on the two related domains of kinship and kingship, both of which have long served as the backbone of the Baganda's social organization. Furthermore, I examine how the Kawuugulu royal drums articulate principles of Ganda social organization by acting as symbols and objects of history. To this end, I investigate the cultural importance of drum names and statuses, tuning and maintenance, storage and transportation, performance rules and positions, and a number of historical customs including pairing and dressing drums, placing them on bark cloth, and smearing them with ghee and beer. I also discuss how texts associated with Kawuugulu royal drum bisoko (motifs) articulate principles of Ganda social organization by serving as poetic frameworks for reenacting history. I then look at how Kawuugulu royal performances (via history) articulate consanguinity, a domain whose logic I analyze by focusing on how the consanguinal ties that Butiko Clan members have with some non-Clan members enable the latter to participate in Kawuugulu royal performances. I examine the relationship between consanguinity and the belief that the Kawuugulu royal drum set may exact revenge upon Butiko Clan consanguines who refuse to participate in its performances and upon ineligible non-consanguines of the Clan who do perform. My analysis demonstrates that Butiko Clan consanguinity revolves around a number of principles (including ancestry, history, affinity, and blood brotherhood) and that its multifaceted nature makes it possible for the various clans of Baganda to participate in Kawuugulu royal performances, which in turn foster unity across the kingdom of Buganda.
African Music, Social Organization, Buganda, Social Structure, African Literature, Uganda, African Religion, Royal Drums Kinship, Kingship, African History
Date of Defense
July 8, 2011.
A Dissertation submitted to the College of Music in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Frank Gunderson, Professor Directing Dissertation; Michael Uzendoski, University Representative; Joseph Hellweg, Committee Member; Douglass Seaton, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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