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Kimani Kaigai Reviews Voicing the Subaltern by Kanyi Thiong’o

Voicing the Subaltern: Literary discourses in popular songs of John De'MathewVerdict: carrot

When Philip Tagg lamented that popular music was not being taken seriously enough to be taken up for academic scrutiny, he might as well have been speaking of contemporary East Africa where, except for a small group of scholars such as Mbugua wa Mungai, Evan Mwangi, Tom Odhiambo, James Ogude and Joyce Nyairo, popular music and indeed popular culture in general has been received with extreme critical neglect. With his new book Voicing the Subaltern: Literary Discourses in Popular Songs of John De’Mathew, Kanyi Thiong’o makes his critical debut and joins this small group by taking up the music of John De’Mathew, a Gikuyu popular music artist, as his object of study.

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