An Ethnography on Music in Central African Kingdoms
By Brian Schrag

About the Book

​Flowing from ethnographic research with Ngiembɔɔn kingdoms of Central Cameroon spanning 15 years, Brian narrates the series of discoveries that culminate in a clear picture of the mechanisms underlying artistry’s capacity to invigorate. In the process, he demonstrates ethnographic analyses that account for any and all musical, dramatic, visual, verbal, and dance-related features. He also provides guidance and resources for teaching students how to research and describe communities and their arts. ​

Simply put, artists increase social energy when their actions resonate with shared thought- and life-ways. This vitality swells when artists can predict when, where, and how they enact particular artistic genres. Like an unmoving magnet encasing a spinning magnet (i.e. a dynamo) produces electrical energy, stable cultural features resonating with those more malleable results in social energy.

Brian’s treatise will change how scholars across disciplines understand and engage with arts as they exist anywhere in the world. This volume offers methods for improved research and scholarship, whose application results in communities living better lives.

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About the Author

Brian Schrag

Brian has degrees in Cognitive Science (ScB, Brown), Intercultural Studies (MA, Wheaton, Illinois), and Ethnomusicology (PhD, UCLA). He worked as a linguist/translator and ethnomusicologist in Central Africa in the 1990s and 2000s, was SIL’s Ethnomusicology & Arts Coordinator from 2006-2019, and founded the Center for Excellence in World Arts at Dallas International University in 2012. Brian’s core life project is promoting arts-energized community engagement for futures more like Heaven.

About this Website

​The site contains all of the audio and video recordings cited in Artistic Dynamos, most of the Figures (in full color), and extra resources and materials. You don’t have to buy the book to access, but you’ll understand and benefit much ​more if you do.

About Money

Academic books rarely sell enough for authors to receive royalties. If Artistic Dynamos happens to confound this pattern, Brian will donate 100% of whatever he earns to two organizations: 1. Mouola, l’association pour la Promotion de la Culture Ngiembↄↄn, founded by Ferdinand Doumtsop; and 2. DAKASTUM.

Artistic Dynamos explains how all communities can use arts to least I'm pretty certain of it. You can help me find out for sure by testing the Artistic Dynamo concept in a context you know.


Key Collaborators

Ferdinand Doumtsop Tiozang

Born in 1979 at the Balessing Maternity Hospital in West Cameroon, Mr. Doumtsop earned a B.A. in Philosophy and a Masters in Business and Corporate Law from the University of Dschang. Cameroon’s Ministry of Education licensed him as an Insurance Executive in 2008. Doumtsop now heads the Bafoussam offices of the Compagnie D’assurances et de Reassurances (AREA SA).

Driven by a great passion for every community’s unique cultural values, he believes that we are all God’s children and God delights in our diversity. Doumtsop also maintains that the Holy Spirit can redeem all the world’s traditions, thereby contributing to the well-being of humanity as a whole.

He applies this belief to his own Ngiemboon culture through the Association for the Promotion of Ngiemboon Culture, which he co-founded in 2003. The organization publishes a journal ( whose title means, “Connais toi, Toi-même”: Know yourself, truly know you yourself. By implementing this maxim, Doumtsop expects to know God and the universe more deeply.

Prosper Djiafeua & DAKASTUM

Prosper Djiafeua. Born in Batcham in West Cameroon, Dr. Djiafeua co-founded DAKASTUM (Danse Kana du Secteur Ntumplefet) and now serves as a Special Advisor, in charge of public relations. He earned a PhD in Applied Linguistics from the University of Yaoundé, subsequently holding many posts: secondary school structor, National Pedagogical Inspector, Head of the Arts, Languages, and National Cultures section of Cameroon’s Ministry of Secondary Education, and Associate Instructor in Cameroonian universities.

DAKASTUM. The group was founded in 1992 as DAKASBA (Danse Kana du Secteur Baléna) as the cultural arm of SYSCADESBAL—Section de Yaoundé du Sous-Comité d’Action de Developpement du Secteur Baléna, a formal organization of Batcham natives living in Yaoundé. The name Baléna refers both to a neighborhood in the village of Batcham in West Cameroon, and a larger sector there that includes Baléna and eight other neighborhoods. To resolve resultant confusion, in 2002 the king of Batcham renamed the sector to Ntúmlépfɛ́. The group’s designation thus officially changed to DAKASTUM (Danse Kana du Secteur Tumlefe’et).

DAKASTUM performs the kànɔ̀ɔn genre in Yaoundé and members’ home sites when a close relative dies. Solidarity and support for each other are the group’s most important traits.