Music and rhythms are powerful strategies for challenging sociocultural conventions. They are, as Theodor Adorno put it, a "formative force" that encourages collectivity and creates "binding experiences". They unite people in their struggles in colonial and post-colonial eras and at the same time reinforce individualism. The hegemonic authority of France in Francophone cultures, for instance, made these cultures choose percussive, instrumental and vocal strategies to express themselves and shift the balance of power. At the heart of the post-colonial power struggle is the question - or rather questioning - of identity.
Language, translation and sociocultural factors shape our understanding of rhythm and music. In many West African regions, such as Senegal, for instance, professional musicians are regarded as "socially and ethnically distinct". From a transcultural point of view, there is the basic question of how to define music since there is a lack of a direct translation of "our" word "music" in, for instance, many Sub-Saharan African languages (Huntington, 2005).
Huntington, J. A. (2005) Transcultural Rhythms: An Exploration of Rhythm, Music and the Drum in a Selection of Francophone Novels from West Africa and the Caribbean. Nashville: Dissertation