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Chapter 7 follows Umzansi Zulu Dancers into an independent recording studio. After descriptions of the changed landscape of music recording in Johannesburg and the demographic shifts in the personnel inside studios over the last two decades, the ethnographic attention turns to the details of a session in process. On the one hand, by means of playfully competitive Zulu masculine sociality—a “hi-fi sociality”—the musicians take control of the space and the recording process. On the other hand, their choices compromise the sound quality of their recording. Through hi-fi studio sociality but lo-fi sound product, they sustain a contemporary presence even while aesthetic and acoustic accommodations compromise their self-representation of ngoma.

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