Cheela Himutwe K. Chilala A Poetic Analysis of the Lyrics of Contemporary Zambian Popular Music: The Case of General Kanene, Pertesen Zagaze And Chef 187

  • Gibson Chitunda
Keywords: Poetry, Zambia, Contemporary music, Lyrics, Code-switching, imagery, Song


This paper is a poetic analysis of the lyrics of selected contemporary Zambian songs focusing on the use of the poetic devices of imagery and rhyme. With regard to imagery, this paper concerns itself with the nature and effectiveness of the imagery evoked (tactile imagery, visual, auditory, gustatory and olfactory) given Zambia’s socio-cultural contexts. Using lyrics from selected popular music, the paper also analyses the effectiveness of particular imagery as well as the use of certain rhymes to embellish the musicality of the songs. In this regard, the paper will highlight the use of code-switching as a linguistic device in Zambia’s multilingual contexts deployed to generate meaningful messages in the songs across ethnic and cultural boundaries. It will also explore the use of other devices such as paronomasia and masking. Ultimately, this paper is concerned with the effects of the poetic license on the consumption of Zambian music and whether the songwriters manage to strike the necessary balance between communicability of the message and the need for aesthetics in multilingual and multicultural contexts of Zambia.