Adam Rotbard has collected African music and dance pieces that demonstrate how their rich tradition permeates contemporary culture. Some of the artists presented by Rotbard are descendants of renowned dynasties of musicians, such as father and son Sidiki and Toumani Diabaté, kora players from Mali. Others, such as Gasper Nali from Malawi or the Konono No. 1 group from the Congo, are young musicians who build their own instruments from ready-made materials and create a new, contemporary sound that incorporates various musical in influences.
The dance pieces reflect not only the way in which tradition exists in the presence, but also the wider social and political frame in which the dance takes place. Eskista (“dancing shoulders” in Amharic), the popular Ethiopian dance, Les Ballets Africains from Guinea, or the Coupé-Décalé that developed in Paris among immigrants from the Ivory Coast—all these dances reveal stories that are an inseparable part of a wider context of the definition of a national and cultural identity, in the continent or among the African diaspora.