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Quotes from the Field: the wedding singer – by Nanna Schneidermann

Video blog from an Ugandan wedding

"It has to be there, of course. You can feel like a traditional marriage or a wedding with no song or video... it feels fake," said a music producer and video editor about the rising popularity of not only feature length wedding "documentaries," but also bespoke wedding songs and wedding music videos in Northern Uganda. A wedding singer from Gulu speaks about how to write a wedding song and the relationship with the clients: 

"Wedding songs are fairly easy. They are all the same, the traditional beats and instruments. It is the personal details that make the difference. You have to meet with the couple and discuss with them what to include in the song. Their names, the names of their parents . Even siblings or friends that are of note. Maybe if you are talking to the husband he will explain to you the good qualities of the woman, and you sing those good things. You talk nicely of the bride and groom, about how they look. If for instance the woman has gap teeth, you sing about that. This is why it is important to meet the clients in person."

 

Nanna Schneidermann's research explores wedding videos as more than performances of conspicuous consumption and middle-class values: as sites of production and consumption of gender futures. Through ethnographic fieldwork based in wedding video studios in Gulu in northern Uganda, the project seeks to understand the negotiation of partnerships and gendered ideals in the production of wedding videos, by following collaborations between very different urban actors - those who marry and those to film them. 

Watch Nanna's video from the wedding here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAAeeFun3Sw