Art and Music in Lesotho

Art in Lesotho

As elsewhere in southern Africa, rock paintings from prehistoric times, as well as recent times, have been found in Lesotho by the San people.

The residential houses have the same appearance as in South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe. Often, the exterior walls are painted in geometric patterns in earth colors, done by the women. This type of women’s art is constantly evolving. In recent decades, textile fabrics and textile arts have also been produced for export.

Music in Lesotho

Music in Lesotho

Although the Sotho people are culturally related to other peoples in southern Africa, long-term geographical separation has formed the basis for the development of styles that are peculiar to the Sotho music.

The instruments are divided into two groups, those played by hand and those played by mouth. Among the former are moropa (one-lap drum), sekupu (two-lap drum), morutlhoana (rattles), the many meadows (bells), thomo ( bow of music) and masholo-sholo ( seats ). The second group includes liphala (horn), phalana (flute), lekope (musical arc with mouth resonance), sekebeku (mouth harp) and lesiba (seats with mouth resonance). Interaction is little used, but instruments are often used as accompaniment to singing.

Songs are also divided into two groups: the songs that are performed while the singer is at rest, and those that are sung “with their feet”, ie for dance and various work operations. Multi-voice alternating songs between the leader and the whole group are common, accompanied by drumming and clapping.

Folk music is closely related to specific social contexts and is performed by non-professional performers. Mass media and social development have led to the emergence of new genres. A number of Sotho composers are active in popular music, traditional Sotho music and Western art music.

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