Múgiithi music as social discourse in urban Kenya: use of religious musical genre in recreating Agìkúyú cultural institutions

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Githiora, Múgiithi music as social discourse in urban Kenya

Múgiithi music as social discourse in urban Kenya:

use of religious musical genre in recreating

Agìkúyú cultural institutions

Kuria Gìthiora, Michigan State University


Every Colonized people in whose soul an inferiority complex has been created by the death and burial of its local originality – finds itself face to face with the language of the civilizing nation; that is, with the culture of the mother country (Frantz Fanon 1967: 18).

Despite their socio-cultural and commercial successes and given the forbidden nature of some of the lyrics and discursive practices adopted by both Múgìthi and Kenyan Hip Hop, it can be argued both musical genres also embody an anti-hegemonic perspective in their language usage. Hip Hop often and deliberately violates normatively prescribed sociocultural and linguistic conventions of both “Everyday American English Language (EAL)” and Standard American English (SAE) (Smitherman 2000, 272). Mũgithi, similarly, defies kawaida (Everyday), polite Gĩkũyũ and ‘African English’ (Schmied 1990) spoken in Kenya. Consequently in this language contact situations typical of Kenyan urban space, Mũgithi whose main medium is Gĩkũyũ, gains meaning within its specific social and dialogic or inter-textual contexts while also performing both global and local cultural discourses in its song-texts. While much has been written about various aspects of both US Hip Hop and Kenyan Hip Hop, little has been documented about the Mũgithi genre, which recreates Gĩkũyũ traditions and socio-cultural discourse(s) through Gĩcandi performances and poetry.

Mũgiithi or “train” music which is mostly composed in Gĩkũyũ, is a popular weekend song and dance, held usually in the evenings in modern indoor or outdoor social and entertainment establishments in urban Kenya, in towns and cities such as Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Thika, Murang’a, Nyeri, Nanyuki, Nyahururu, Naivasha, Meru, Kisumu and Eldoret among others. The music is also popular with many non-Gìkúyú speaking Kenyans. Additionally, what was once described as the Múgithi phenomenon that begun in the early 1990s amidst political repression in Kenya, has become only one of the “theme night” music variety replicated by other communities using various Kenyan languages in dances and performances in various hotels and restaurants as well as in media outlets such as radio, film, television and the Internet. Since its beginnings in the early 1990s, the music genre has become a sociocultural institution that stresses the reciprocity of performers and audience in what has become typified behavior (Berger and Luckmann 1966).

Mũgiithi song and dance performances are largely an adult phenomenon enjoyed by many enthusiasts across gender and various Kenyan socio-economic classes. While Mútonya (2007) has elaborately discussed the aesthetics of Múgithi, there is still a huge research gap and literature on Mũgithi. This paper suggests that, the music genre should continue to be studied as both an important music form, and a newly emerged sociocultural discourse in urban Kenya through its creative and articulate use of Gĩkũyũ, Swahili, and English languages and to some extent ‘Sheng’ (Githiora 2003), an urban Swahili dialect, along with a “call” and “response” singing pattern often accompanied by the adept incorporation of mainstream religious musical practices and discourses in recreating Gĩkũyũ cultural institutions. Magahi nonetheless fist started a conduit and outlet for expressing various anxieties resulting from political repression coupled with both adverse economic and sociocultural circumstances and environments in Kenya particularly in the 1980s and the 1990s. Both Múgithi and Hip Hop continue to play important roles in sociocultural and political commentaries on a variety of issues in the country.

Like Kenya Hip Hop that deploys massive amounts of Sheng [Swahili-English language commonly spoken among urban-based Kenyan youth [On Sheng, see Githiora (2002) and Githinji (2006)], Mũgithi, has become part of urban folk life in Nairobi especially among the middle-aged Kenyans. The song and dance performances of Mũgithi feature a single guitarist, and the genre’s name has been appropriated from a popular Christian church hymn in Gĩkũyũ (and English), that both admonishes its followers to leave their sinful ways while prevailing upon them to enter the train bound for heaven. While male artists dominate the genre with both Salim “Junior” and Salim “Mighty,” Mike Rua and the late “Mwarimũ” (from Swahili Mwalimu or ‘teacher’ in Gĩkũyũ) are some of the most popular Mũgithi male artists, Wangari wa Kabera is perhaps the only popular female artist illustrating how male-dominated the musical genre continues to be. These artists often copy music repertoires from more seasoned and historically mainstream popular Kikuyu musicians, considered skillful modern gìcandì players/singers that include Joseph Kamarũ, Wanganangú, Wagatonye, Nduru, Mũsaimo, among others. These nightclub based Múgithi players all use both music skill and humor to engage with and to also throw challenges at Gĩkũyũ tradition, the Christian church, the nation, the government and western-dominated modernity. Mũgithi can be also be considered an embodiment of a counter-language found in such genres as rap, toast, signifyin, narrativizing comedy, drama and song, which are all bound up in one music genre (Smitherman 2000).

While dancing to Mũgithi is hardly a great spectacle, the socio-cultural and linguistic discourses along with attendant discursive devices and aesthetics require- as in Hip Hop- skilled verbal dexterity and precision in word-use dexterity, deep linguistic and cultural knowledge coupled with appropriate and well-timed vocal accomplishment. Overall, being an accomplished and celebrated Múgithi artist with the necessary verbal blend of skills and aesthetics (as well as an ardent and loyal celebrant fan to boot) requires appropriately delivered and well-timed discursive strategies, articulation and knowledge of various music sets. In many respects, Mũgithi is like Hip Hop, as practiced in both the US and in Kenya, as it also seems to help galvanize an urban-based audience into one imagined community (Anderson 1983). During its performance Mũgithi acquires a unique poetic form, and helps reaffirm a Kenyan identity amongst participants, while at the same time offering them a site to help recreate themselves in variously imagined ways, through a modern version of traditional dialogic poetry, Gĩcandĩ - a traditional and popular form among the Agĩkũyũ. Like a good artist, who understands issues and its audience, Mũgithi excels in this role and also acts as a sociocultural institution in much more unique ways than many other contemporary music genres or even other well-established social, religious, political institutions.

2. Setting the Scene: Gĩcandĩ poetry in Mũgithi

Mũgithi genre can be traced back to the gĩcandi form of dialogic poetry, which played an important part of Gĩkũyũ oral literature and is for example used to help stylistically narrate modern Kenyan literature (Ngũgi wa Thiong'o 1993; Kabira and Mũtahi 1988; Mũtahi 1991; Gĩtatĩ 1993). According to Valentino Ghilardi:

The gĩcandi is a kind of Gĩkũyũ universal poem of the highest poetry in which the performer paces freely, passing from one field to another. He touches on all the leitmotifs more or less at length. He passes from feasting merriment to the darkest sadness, from the comical to the tragic and from lyrical to gruesome or even apocalyptical expressions. He disdains vulgar themes. (Ghilardi 1966:184; quoted and translated in Njogu 1997: 48, italics added)

Njogu (1997) suggests that, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o claims a space for the Gĩcandĩ genre in Gikũyũ literature by novelizing (narrativizing) the genre and in consciously and overtly utilizing it to define the narrative of the novel, Caitaani Mũtharabaini (1980). In the novel, Njogu adds, the narrator is depicted as a Gĩcandĩ performer unconstrained spatially and temporarily. It is the Gĩcandĩ player who has the divine duty of telling the story of his people’s struggles in postcolonial Kenya. Moreover, Njogu observes, the riddle like nature of another work by Ngũgĩ Matigari (1987), and its spirit of search for answers is a “sideward glance” at Gĩcandĩ. In Moving the Center (1993) also by Ngũgĩ, the writer asserts that the British colonial government destroyed the pre-colonial Gĩkũyũ poetry festival because the colonial administrators did not want to see the continuation of a festival whose content they did not understand. Ngũgĩ’s use of the stylistics of Gĩcandĩ is a clear manifestation of the value he finds in the cultural repertoire of the Gĩcandĩ genre of the Gĩkũyũ people.

Among the Agĩkũyũ of Kenya there used to be a Gĩkũyũ poetry festival, or shall I say, competition, which drew large crowds. The best poets of the various regions would meet in the arena, like in battle, and compete with words and instant compositions. These poets had even developed a form of hierograhics, which they kept to themselves. The British killed this kind of festival (1993:19).

The term Gĩcandĩ refers to the dialogic poetry and the musical instrument that accompanies the performer. The term is a “nominalization of the verb gũcanda which means to dance” (Wanjikũ Kabira and Karega Mũtahi (1988: 28)). It also refers to the onomatopoeic (hissing) sound made by seeds in the instrument as the poem is performed. According to Njogu (1997), the general consensus is that Gĩcandĩ is poetry composed by at least two poets who enter into dialogue with each other. The poetry is a sort of a verbal duel of words and is performed with an accompanying instrument (Gĩcandĩ), which is adorned with engravings.

To perform Gĩcandĩ is both to create and re-accentuate prior texts, which, is a dialogic process (Bhaktin 1981). This seems to follow Street (1993), who views “culture as a verb.” Thus the one-man guitarist, who plays the role of the Gĩcandi singer as he leads his Mũgithi audience in gũcanda, is performing in the nominalization of the verb “gũcanda,” which means “to dance” (Kabira and Mũtahi 1988: 28). Consequently by deploying language in the semiological sense as a symbolic system and capital (Bourdieu 1991), with its infrastructures, history, and grammar, one can conclude that Mũgithi song and dance becomes as much a site of language and culture learning as it is a symbolic space of identification, bonding, investment, enunciation and desire for lost African traditions and the anxiety represented by western-dominated modernity.

Because many lyrics in Mũgithi are considered offensive and transgressive in mainstream society and publications, I will use a small sample of the Gĩcandĩ poetry from Njogu (1997: 62), which might assist our understanding of the two genre’s dialogic and intertextual nature, which is also similar to Hip Hop’s. It might also help explain why Hip Hop both in Kenya and elsewhere find such performance so naturally appealing and useful in their compositions:

Poet A: Mwana arĩ njomoya yake

Na ndinamĩigĩrĩra riitho

Yathiire kũ na ndiĩrwo?

Poet B: Njomoya nĩ gĩcango kĩa mũnyaka

Gĩkagirwo Gĩcandĩinĩ

Nĩ ihĩtia kwaga gũkorowo kuo

Poet A: Mũturi ũgũtura rware

Ndumĩra njomoya ya Gĩcandĩ

Gĩtarĩ nayo ĩi ũũru

Poet B: Njomoya nĩ kĩrengereri

Gĩĩkĩragwo mũthia wa Gĩcandĩ

Poet A: The child has a njomoya

And I haven’t set eyes on it

Where did it go?

Yet I was not told?

Poet B: Njomoya is a lucky copper chain

And it is attached to the Gĩcandĩ

It is an error for it not to be there

Poet A: You, blacksmith forging in the plains

Make me a njomoya for the Gĩcandĩ

For the Gĩcandĩ without it, is bad

Poet B: Njomoya is an ornamental copper-wire chain

Attached to the mouth of the Gĩcandĩ

According to Njogu (1997: 62) the copper chain referred to in the poem has at least two synonyms; njomoya and kĩrengereri. The chain is believed to bring about luck and blacksmiths are involved in making it. Poet A therefore addresses the blacksmith directly, making him an active participant in this social imaginary. In most Gĩcandĩ performances, the inscribed text and the Gĩcandĩ gourd itself (with the seeds therein) and the poetry’s composition dialogically merge indistinguishably. The performer considers the inscribed text an integral part of his or her performance and thus would make constant reference to the pictograms in the poem (Njogu 1997: 62). In future, it’ll be interesting to draw a connection between the copper chain (along with the belief about the luck it brings about to the artists) and adornments that help establish Gĩcandĩ as the site for the social imaginary with contemporary bling! Bling! culture and repertoire for Hip Hop artists globally.

3. Localizing Global Hip Hop through Gĩcandĩ dialogic poetry

Gĩcandĩ poetry is reflected in theme and form, in both the localized Kenyan Hip Hop and in Mũgithi, especially in the latter in which lyrics are often copied verbatim (word for word) from gicandĩ poetry or from other popular Kenyan songs (equally fashioned along the poetic culture of gicandĩ) from the late fifties, early sixties, seventies and eighties by artists such as Daniel Kamarũ, Wagatonye, Wanganangú, John Ndicũ, Nduru, Wahome, Mũsaimo, Rũgwĩti and Daniel Kamau (DK) among others. Others are songs by Daudi Kabaka and Fadhili Williams who sing in Swahili. Mũgithi’s adaptation of country-western songs by Kenny Rogers, Don Williams, Dolly Parton, Charlie Pride, John Denver and Jim Reeves are particularly popular.

Mũgithi lyrics are usually sung to a simple beat led by the one-man guitarist. The song “Uhiki,” first popularized by Hardstone” aka Harrison Ngũnjĩrĩ, considered Kenya’s first truly famous Hip Hop artist, is among many other favorite traditional songs in Gĩkũyũ that are often played during Mũgithi nights. Revelers in the club where the performance is happening will often join in the dancing by forming a line that closely resembles a train. While the music repertoire is mainly Gĩkũyũ songs, it also includes others from a variety of Kenyan languages including Kiswahili, Kikamba, Dholuo and popular country music in English by country singers mentioned earlier.

In “Uhiki” (Gĩkũyũ: ‘wedding’), “Hardstone” successfully mixed traditional Kenyan music with an already globalized US Hip Hop. It is from this localizing of global musical genre that one gains a better understanding of the origins of Kenyan Hip Hop in the 1990s. According to Nyairo (2004) “Hardstone” first became popular with the song “Uhiki” in 1997, gaining him attention and launching his career, on account of the song’s unconventional form in which, embedded within the mix was a diversity of musical traditions – from ethnic folk songs to American rhythm-n’-blues, to Swahili taarab and Jamaican Reggae. Arguably, each of the songs in the “Uhiki” album appealed to a particular moment in Kenyan musical history; each captured a specific local market, and all of them combined to testify to the existence of a complex web of global networks that constantly shape and revise popular music in local contexts. Hardstone’s “Uhiki” stands as a seminal moment in contemporary Kenyan popular music. It confirms the fluidity – also seen in both Múgithi and Gìcandi - with which popular music circulates from one place to another virtually unbounded by either spatial limitations or geographical distance. In this regard one can argue that, the variety of genres and styles Múgithi embodies is a fitting salute to both musical and cultural intertextuality, along with the fluidity, hybridity and mobility of postcolonial popular art forms. “Uhiki” is easily identifiable with US popular music, as it is constitutively intertextual. According to Nyairo (2004), it demands that, referents in the music, point to a global context with both European and American influences. It can thus be argued that popular music mirrors prevailing culture and other social practices in the Kenyan context, and also embodies an entire nation’s sense of itself.

Kenyan Hip Hop also seems to help render real meaning to the idea of the Black Atlantic (Gilroy 1993), in the sense that the African Continent’s popular music discourses are enabled by various global dynamics, and easily re-connect with those of its Diaspora in a reversal circuit. This is in spite of Gilroy’s limited view of a Black Atlantic that is confined to the African Diaspora in the UK and the Caribbean. Contemporary Kenyan culture now enriched by both Mũgithi and Kenyan Hip Hop also seems to provide evidence of ongoing global transactions within these two musical genres. Hip Hop’s diverse narrativization, toasting, and signification strategies are heard in their widened range whilst at full throttle when “Uhiki” is punctuated by an African American Language (AAL) influenced Hip Hop chant delivered in an African-centered call and response format. The same is heard in the chant “Hardstone in the house, you put up your hands and you scream!” (Nyairo 2003: 44). While both “Uhiki” and Hardstone its creator, remain important landmarks in the birth of Kenyan Hip Hop, the popularity of localized global Hip Hop and that of Mũgithi also display both innovativeness and re-invention of African-centered, sociocultural discourses and reconnections. These discourses resonate in the multilingual “Uhiki” which is sung in Gĩkũyũ, Kiswahili and English using Kenyan, American and Caribbean rhetorical and discursive strategies and discourses. These are mixed with “rapping” that clearly exploits oratory strategies and devices, including aspects of African Oral Tradition that include common African-centered discursive practices that enrich the music. Embedded within these now reconnected Black Atlantic discourses and discursive practices are aspects of dialogic poetry used in Gĩcandĩ’s rhetorical strategies and verbal dexterity. Such recreation of the social imaginary of the Black Atlantic follows “the aesthetic rules which for example govern Hip Hop, premised on the dialectic of rescue, appropriation and recombination” (Gilroy 1993: 103).

Interspersed with the conversation lyrics of “Uhiki” are instrumental rhythms of soul musician and Motown icon, the African American singer, Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” (1982). The song thus displays signs of a “reversal circuit in the Black Atlantic” especially when Hardstone finally resorts to mixing the Gĩkũyũ dialogue with a Swahili prayer and at the same time framing “Uhiki,” along the same the lines as “Twisted” by Keith Sweat (1996) — itself a remix of “Sexual Healing.” This brings the Black Atlantic and its Pan Africanist re-connections to a full reverse circle. Ultimately, “Uhiki” re-appropriates and globalizes Hip Hop practices to help engage the listener with traditional discourse between a Gĩkũyũ father and his son. The son challenges his father, calling him “mũthee” or “old man” as opposed to polite “baba” (father), which is disrespectful, but speaks of the new assertiveness based on both the anxiety and desire to challenge both established Gìkúyú tradition and authority as well as western-driven modernity by the young man now caught between the two cultural sensibilities. The Gĩkũyũ father does not understand why his son, who recently married and whom he helped pay the dowry with his precious pedigree cow, is at loggerheads with his newly married wife.

Such cultural discourse and dissonance in Mũgithi are comparable to Marvin Gaye’s transgressiveness in “Sexual Healing” (1982) which displays influences from Negro spirituals, Soul music, Rhythm n’ Blues all expressed in the counter-language characteristic of AAL (Morgan 1993). In his song Marvin Gaye implores his woman to sleep with him or he will masturbate, in effect symbolizing the antagonizing aspects of a conservative African American culture against the ever-present socio-cultural tensions and fissures that allow promiscuity amidst the various contradictions and liberal interpretations of contemporary western modernity. The transgression of social graces that go with traditional African American and Gĩkũyũ familial discourse conventions betrays “Uhiki’s” message that tradition is dynamic and vital. In both cases, music becomes the celebratory site and occasion for narrating and articulating the changing aspects of an increasingly globalized Black culture embodied in both African and African American cultures. It also marks the struggle for discourse in recreating the social imaginary of the Black Atlantic as seen in Mũgithi and Hip Hop, whether U.S or Kenyan.

4. Mũgithi as social encounter and struggle for discourse

Mũgithi and to some extent Kenyan Hip Hop are about the search for and engagement in an appropriate discursive space and strategies. In the case of Mũgithi the dancers delve into the dance and music as a form of nostalgia, desire, social encounter and struggle. The genre is also about the search for a new identity, and the impact this struggle has in trying to create a challenging discourse that tackles the gap between tradition and modernity. In many ways Mũgithi weekend nights in urban areas of Kenya provide both the space for this engagement and entering the social imaginary as a unified nation (Anderson 1983). Following a Bahktinian (1968) analysis of discourse, dancing to Mũgithi both signifies and celebrates the temporary turning of the “world upside down,” within this carnivalesque space and marketplace context. Mũgithi is also about recuperating traditional discourse (referred to as “Black Talk,” by Smitherman (2000) in the U.S) as it offers participants “moments of identification, that is, where and how they saw themselves in the mirror of their society” (Bhabha 1994; Ibrahim 2003: 173). The dance and celebration also moves beyond the simple subversion of both Gĩkũyũ tradition and modernity by resorting to the use of normally forbidden linguistic and social practices. These include word contests, touting and teasing similar to the earlier described “no holds down” all-night activities of the Gĩkũyũ past known as maraara nja and mambura carnivalesque events (Kenyatta 1938; Kabira and Mũtahi 1988). The all-night mambura was permitted in order to give space for free expression to all participants, and courage to the initiates. During these celebrations, the young and old, female and male could sing and dance and engage in the most forbidden talk and taboo topics referring to, for example, the physical and/or sexual strength of males, or beauty of women.

During the course of Mũgithi night, taboos are likewise temporarily broken and subverted on the dance floor. This is enabled by the spontaneous and formulaic utterances led by the lead singer who also throws challenges at the established sociocultural order and authorities in general. In this manner the relative comfort and space of Mũgithi nights help bridge the gap between language structure and its social context or habitus and fields (Bourdieu 1991). Such structures exist in people’s bodies and minds as sets of relations in the world. They also include a person’s beliefs and dispositions. Thus urban Kenyans can effectively deploy Mũgithi as the space to help recuperate nearly forgotten sociocultural practices which helps to recreate and recuperate past memory as well as to bridge the gap between a western sanctioned individualism on the one hand and to now socially re-imagined communal belonging as a member of the Gìkúyú nation, culture and tradition on the other. These language practices help the dialectic engaging between the inside or inner private “self” or “I” with the public “me”; practices that help to liberate previously silenced traditional voices. This is perhaps because modernity has largely disallowed most meaningful participation in traditional cultural institutions and practices.

Additionally, the linguistic interaction and related practices help to contribute to the uniqueness of Mũgithi in its ability to play the role of a conduit, similar to Hip Hop’s and to help re-articulate — at least for urbanized Kenyans, their suppressed traditional voices or human uniqueness of the “other” in the opposition to “me” where both supposedly exist in balance within this dialectical relationship.

In order to reveal what is hidden within culture, Mũgithi’s sociocultural and political discourse might help expose the linguistic mechanisms through which culture is naturalized along hegemonic and dominant mainstream structures and paradigms. Also studying Mũgithi as an active verb (Street 1993) that represents a repressed form of Gĩkũyũ culture might also help reveal how power relations and culture among urbanized Kenyans interact and are connected, among various ethnicities, across gender, age-groups and inside the socio-economic hierarchy and huge divide for which Kenya is notorious. Thus by entering a social imaginary or discursive space in which Mũgithi participants are already imagined and constructed, they are also treated as traditional heroes and characters by the one-man guitarist who personalizes his songs by shouting out participants’ names in the audience, and citing individual tributes to those select few. In this re-imagined Gĩkũyũ and modern hegemonic discourse and setting, the one-man guitarist challenges tradition and modernity even as he both individualizes and communalizes the entire linguistic and sociocultural discourse during performance.

Ultimately, the social imaginary produced by Mũgithi is directly implicated in whom to identify with, namely the one-man guitarist now playing the role of the male Gĩcandi player and by extension, Gìkúyú culture and tradition. At the same time, engaging in Mũgithi influences what and how participants are able to access traditional Gĩkũyũ stylized social discourse through an avenue provided by the one-man guitarist whose musical repertoire also includes agile dancehall light footedness, merry-making, trickery and verbal dexterity. The one-man guitarist also engages in both wide ranging and spontaneous use and the articulate improvisation of riddles, parables, proverbs, narratives in which participants are able to actively participate in and critique prevailing social, cultural and political issues.


This paper has identified various aspects of global culture that are domesticated (localized) through various musical practices and strategies that help reflect the Kenyan social, cultural and political contexts through such music genres as Mũgithi, and Kenyan Hip Hop lyrics. We also identified the reformulated versions of the emergent and localized music, and related sociocultural practices that help us reassess and understand the various dynamics embodied in these globally recreated discourses found in these songs. Consequently the paper argues that, modern-day Kenyan musicians and especially Mũgithi and Hip Hop artists have either retained or continue to re-create traditional musical forms and practices by remaking modern music that is grounded in popular traditional forms.

The paper also observes how the re-appropriation of Gĩcandĩ continues in the form of Mũgithi and in localized versions of Kenyan Hip Hop by artists such as “Hardstone” aka Harrison Ngũnjĩrĩ. In his song “Uhiki,” Hardstone raps and plays the song alongside the traditional song commonly sung as a favorite Gìkúyú courtship and marriage ballad, “Nyúmba ya Mwarì Witú” […ìì nyúmba ya mwarì witú ìgìtìtìo na ithanjì, ìì na icuthì cia ng’ombe….” [my sister’s house is built with reeds and flywhisks….]. This stylistic re-creation and rendition of Gìkúyú traditional song works in Gilroy’s words (1993), as agents of the “reverse circuit of the Black Atlantic.” The words can also be viewed as a fitting epitaph to how both African tradition and modernity are tragically entwined in the agonizing triumphs, anxieties, paradoxes and contradictions of what both Gìkúyú culture and tradition as well as modernity entails. In the process we also see the continuous redefining, reinventing and reconnecting among various groups of Africans in the continent and the Diaspora. We also read a dialectical relationship between urbanized and rural Kenyan cultures. Finally, while we’re able to see some of the re-connections through the various music genres discussed in this paper among Continental Africans and those of the Diaspora. Further research is needed to continue making similar re-connections and to help establish and construct dialogue of how various modern world cultures continue to influence and inform one another in multiple ways.

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