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Citation Information

Type Working Paper - Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy
Title Performing Baadinyaa: Music, Emotion, and Health in The Gambia
Volume 15
Issue 3
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
URL https://voices.no/index.php/voices/article/view/827/700
This medical ethnomusicological study examines musical performance in The Gambia as a socio-emotional intervention to promote health and wellbeing. Based on interviews and observations conducted during seventeen months of ethnographic research (2009; 2012-2013), this research is also informed by my long-term involvement with a Gambian HIV/AIDS support group (2006-present). I use the local concept of baadinyaa (Mandinka, “positive relationship”) in order to interrogate connections between musical performance, emotion, and health as they are articulated by performers and health workers in The Gambia. The concept of baadinyaa provides insight into musical performance as a “flexibility primer” (Hinton, 2008) that facilitates emotional transformation and healing. Not uniform across social categories, emotional responses to music are shaped by social identity and power relations as well as individual experience and preference. This study finds that in the face of conflict and stigma, Gambian artists use musical performance, and its association with baadinyaa, as a resource to address negative emotions such as anger and anxiety and thereby promote health and healing.

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