Responding to growing international interest in Yoruba culture, practitioners of bata performance - a centuries-old drumming, dancing, and singing tradition from southwestern Nigeria - have presented themselves to the world as an emblem of traditional Nigeria. Locally, however, the market for bata has been declining as it plays less of a ritual role and opportunities for performance have dwindled. Debra L. Klein's lively ethnography explores this disjunction, in the process revealing the world of the bata artists and the global culture market that helps to sustain their art. "Yoruba Bata Goes Global" describes the dramatic changes and reinventions of traditional bata performance in recent years, showing how they are continually recreated, performed, and sold. Klein delves into the lives of Yoruba musicians, focusing on their strategic collaborations with artists, culture brokers, researchers, and entrepreneurs worldwide, and she explores how reinvigorated performing ensembles are beginning to parlay success on the world stage into increased power and status within Nigeria.
Klein's study of the interwoven roles of innovation and tradition will interest scholars of anthropology; African, global, and cultural studies; and ethnomusicology alike.