IJMSTA - Vol. 2 - Issue 2 - July 2020
Cultural Co-Resonance and Cosmopolitan Music Identities in the Dagbon Hiplife Zone in Tamale of Northern Ghana
Authors: Dominik Phyfferoen
Abstract - In this paper we present a theoretical concept of cultural co-resonance in the Dagbon Hiplife Zone in Tamale, a dynamic cosmopolitan city located in the Sudanic Savannah Belt of Northern Ghana. The paper is a case study on the WhatsApp Music Platform of Sherifa Gunu, an international Ghanaian soul artist. We present some effects artists have - as a specific cultural influencer - on their neo-tribes and cyber-tribes in the for-mation of music identities and the cultivation of civic responsibilities through online music interaction and mediated technologies. The study shows that an online music platform functions as a dynamic but unstable crystalized cyber-tribe, a micro subcul-ture in the cloud with a common focus, goal and mind-set, that contributes to the sus-tainability of the music industry in Ghana by promoting cultural activities and as-pects of cultural heritage e.g. online music concerts, broadcasting, educational film productions, new book releases, fashion shows, etc. Moreover, the data shows that the cultural and aesthetic aura around an artist has an online impact in the way neo-tribes and cyber-tribes interact and communicate with each other. The data shows also that the radius of cultural co-resonance from an artist, has a large community based offline impact on the consumption behaviour and music identity formation and development of the school-going youth and young adults, which is linked to an open neo-traditional urban cultural and social experience of music and dance in Tamale. Online music platforms are digital communication tools artists, managers and stakeholders in the music industry apply to connect with the collectivistic consciousness of the group, but also to the masses, meaning to the school-going youth, young adults and adult music consumers in general. The common ground and the mind-set of the cyber-tribe functions as a mental program for that specific subculture. The radius of impact an artist has - as a specific cultural influencer - on their neo-tribes, cyber-tribes and es-pecially the young adolescents is what we define in this article as the phenomenon of cultural co-resonance. The responses of the "Masses" (meaning the school-going youth, young adults and adult music consumers in general), on the phenomenon of cultural co-resonance is a controlled collectivistic herd behaviour linked to the formation of music identities and identities in music by these young adolescents. The data shows that within an online music platform, an artist like Sherifa Gunu takes on a whole range of different roles and functions, ranging from the artist who inspires the cyber-tribe in a cultural and aesthetic way, to the artist who acts regularly in the group as a mediator and moderator between the different members. The paper highlights various techniques artists apply with the help of their online social network and music plat-form to create career sustainability within the music industry in Ghana and far be-yond. So far we were able to extract nine key factors. Each of these key components is a factor that interacts in the Dagbon Hiplife Zone in Northern Ghana, an intangible im-aginary liminal transitional zone of cultural ambivalence and musical interaction. On the one hand neo-tribes and cyber-tribes form part of the dynamics of music-making in Northern Ghana and functions as a cultural transmitter to educate the youth in the re-appraisal of Ghana's rich traditional cultural heritage by using digital distribution channels such as the mobile phone linked to social media platforms. On the other hand cyber-tribes contributes enormously to the career sustainability of the artist, e.g. the crowdfunding for digital production and reproduction of songs and video clips, the digital distribution and online marketing strategies, online broadcasting of the in-tellectual property of the artist, the image and aura of the artist in the cloud, the cultur-al and musical identities of the artist that resonates towards the fans and the fan-based social network in cyber-space.
Keywords: Cultural co-resonance, Cultural ambivalence, Cultural collectivism, Cyber-tribes, Cyber-ethnography, Dagbon Hiplife Mental conditioning, Music career sustainability, Music industry in Ghana, Neo-tribes