Music, Modernity, and the Global Imagination: South Africa and the West
How do Western images of Africa and African representations of the West mirror one another? This book examines the complex issues involved in the making of modern identities in Africa, Europe, and the US via a study of two striking episodes in the history of black South African music. The first is a pair of tours of two black South African choirs in England and America in the early 1890s; the second is a series of engagements with the international music industry as experienced by the premier choral group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, after the release of Paul Simon's celebrated Graceland album in 1986.
... According to these authors, roots reggae has had special appeal for ethnic groups who have been positioned as racial others and underclasses in a similar manner to the black population in Jamaica (Alvarez 2008; Savishinsky 1994; Jaffe & Sanderse 2010). In South Africa, several scholars have observed a parallel process where different shifting racial identifications and demarcations have been constructed through Afro-American popular culture throughout the 19 th century by various actors and communities (Erlmann 1999; Coplan 1985). This study contributes to these research traditions by demonstrating how young South Africans construct intersecting religious, class and ethnic identifications with Jamaican Rastafarian music. ...
... I argue that in this case Rastafarians in the marcus Garvey community have not only localized or imagined belonging to a global Rastafarian community with dancehall music, but have also made significant theological and musical innovations in the use of dancehall music in relation to their Jamaican counterparts. Innovative local black cultural forms constructed from Afro-American popular music have been common in Southern Africa and these types of appropriations have deeply rooted histories in the area (Erlmann 1999; Coplan 1985). Consequently, several scholars of the Rastafarian movement have called for empirical accounts of this type of Rastafarian cosmopolitanism in locations outside the Jamaican diaspora in order to understand the current developments and the transnational nature of the movement (Yawney 1995; Wittman 2011). ...
The Rasrafarian movement has experienced fast growth during recent years in South Africa and especially in the province of Western Cape. This article examines this process through an ethnographic account of a weekly reggae dancehall event held by the Rastafarian Marcus Garvey community in the township of Philippi in Cape Town. During the course of three months of fieldwork the author investigated how recorded Jamaican dancehall music is used in the community and how it is articulated to different Rastafarian identifications within the dancehall space. Several scholars of Rastafari have suggested that contemporary Jamaican dancehall music has had theological impact on the Rastafarian movement, particularly outside of the Caribbean. The article provides an empirical contribution to these discussions by demonstrating that Rastafarians in the Marcus Garvey community have made significant innovations both theologically and musically in relation to their Jamaican counterparts, reorienting contemporary Jamaican popular music as a spiritual practice linked to religious purity norms informed by an international Rastafarian organization, the Nyabinghi Order. As a result Jamaican dancehall music is taking a central position in various moral negotiations within the Marcus Garvey community.
... Lastly, employed was endogenous giving attention to cultural development from inside African culture. Erlmann, 1999;and Stevens, 2007 have also commented on endogenous philosophy. ...
Depicting an electric charge current in a circle as a continuum of paired Cartesian elemental magnetic vector charges, parallel and normal to a field plane perpendicularly bisecting the circle, provides realistic models of the structure and attributes of an elemental magnetic dipole. A Cartesian elemental magnetic dipole is formed by pairing Cartesian elemental magnetic vector charges of the same magnitude but oppositely directed and jointly perpendicular to their intra-dipolar displacement. The emerging two distinct types of Cartesian elemental magnetic dipoles differ in their physical structures and their contributions to the magnetic properties of the circular current. They equally differ from the physical structure and attributes of an elemental electric dipole. From derivations using first principles, the magnitudes and directions of the overall magnetic vector potential, magnetic field and magnetic torque agree with traditional predictions, but the magnetic dipolar moment is twice the traditional ad hoc value for a circular current. Finally we compare several features of these two Cartesian elemental magnetic dipoles to the corresponding ones of an elemental electric dipole. Altogether these results discredit the traditional analogy between the magnetic dipolar moment of a current loop and the electric dipolar moment of a simple electric dipole.
... A chronological delineation of musical history can display the development of music and culture when the definition of modernity is historicized from the late 16th to the late 20th century in Europe. This setup of time and space has produced the multiple hierarchies of genre, race, and class, for example, the tradition and invention of Jewish music (Bohlman, 2008), the intersection of modernity and nationality in Bartók's case in Hungary (Schneider, 2006), and the imagination of modernity between South Africa and the West in music (Erlmann, 1999). A problem in this approach is that the progress of worldwide modernity is never synchronized. ...
This article aims to examine the significance of modernity in Chinese disco back to the 1980s. The open-door policy allowed disco to quickly become a remarkable symbol of modernity related to the United States, where the popular culture and modern lifestyle appealed to millions of Chinese people. The Disco Fever 1985–1989 demonstrated their enthusiasm to reintegrate into the global society by consuming the “same” popular music and culture. Being drawn into the debates between tradition and fashion, communism and capitalism, and arts and commerce, the modernity of Chinese disco was not a forward or sideways or backward process theorized by Liang Shuming, but an attitude toward all directions to cope with the dilemma of materialism, exoticism, and desire triggered by the economic reform. This modernity was an imagination coproduced by global agents, each offering distinctive capitals to transform China’s society throughout the 1980s.
... This geographical work forms part of a wider growing interest in sound. Over the past decade, sound studies has established itself as a field of interdisciplinary inquiry across the humanities and social sciences with innovative projects as disparate as the history of communication media and architectural acoustics (see Sterne 2003;Thompson 2004;Fischer and Touloumi 2018), the anthropology of sound (Brenneis and Feld 2004;Helmreich 2016;Schulze 2018), and (ethno)musicology (Erlmann 1999;Born 2013), to name just a few. ...
Existing geographical research on sound has largely focused on the relationship between music and place. The actual places of music—concert halls, opera houses, and other listening and performance spaces—have remained an empirical lacuna. Concert halls are influential agents over urban space. They are not only flashpoints of urban culture, they also technologically mold urban space and transform our acoustic experience of the city. In this article, I use the modern concert hall as a conceptual and empirical window on the world to examine the relationship between sound, modernity, and urban space. The Berlin Philharmonie, designed by the German architect Hans Scharoun and completed in 1963, is considered one of the most influential modern concert halls and a precursor to the currently prevalent vineyard-style design. It is suggested that Scharoun’s radically democratic spatial design is significantly different from the contemporary boosterism of iconic halls and the widening scope of a late-modern economy of experiential intensity. A close reading of Scharoun’s modernist experiments with sound in postwar Berlin highlights the underexplored theoretical and political tensions around what we might refer to as acoustic modernism. Key Words: acoustic modernism, Berlin, concert hall, Hans Scharoun, music.
... 3 On the basis of Gilroy's work, scholars have continued to recognise the significance of music within the Black Atlantic, while criticising the marginal role Gilroy devotes to Africa (see Masilela 1996;Piot 2001). Such works highlight the central place of continental Africa within the transnational order, primarily along the US-Africa and the Caribbean-Africa axes (see Erlmann 1999;White 2002;Monson 2007;Muller and Benjamin 2011;Feld 2012;Kelley 2012;Jaji 2014). Importantly, Gilroy's Black Atlantic framework originally offered an alternative to what Schiller and Meinhof (2011, 21) termed "methodological nationalism, " contesting the seemingly pre-given status of the nation-state in cultural analysis. ...
This article revisits the cultural history of Guinea in the three decades following independence through focusing on the musical activity of Miriam Makeba, the exiled South African singer who resided in the country between the years 1968 and 1986. Recent scholarship has illuminated the vast investment of the Guinean state in developing modern national culture as part of the process of decolonisation as well as the limited freedom of expression, imposed by the state, that subjugated local cultural production. While these studies have concentrated primarily on Guinean cultural agents, this paper explores transnational dimensions within the cultural politics of Guinea. It highlights Makeba’s emplacement in Guinea in the context of nation building, Pan-Africanism, cold war politics and black transnational cultural exchanges. By focusing on the disparity between textual sources and musically embedded meanings extracted from Makeba’s music recorded in Guinea, this paper recasts Makeba as a conduit of African-American musical influences in the Guinean scene. By doing so, it uncovers cultural spaces that were not subordinated to official state ideology mediated through print culture, and thus have hitherto been unrecognised in mainstream historiography.
... Foundational arguments in popular music studies have been grounded in processes of cultural modernity (Ferris and Hart 1982;Dyer 1979;Frith 1981;Erlmann 1999;Manuel 1990Manuel , 1993. These processes include urbanization, mediatization, and commercialization, as well as more specific processes such as the erosion of rural dialects and non-English languages; fluid social groupings around lifestyle and consumer culture; migration and global communications; and reflexive identities. ...
This chapter outlines macro structural changes in the Nordic music landscape, drawing from sociological theory of modernity. The chapter identifies popular music in wider tensions in Nordic modernity, particularly in relation to shifting hegemonic cultures to uncover the underlying dynamics of tensions between shifting mainstream formations and their alternatives. Following this logic, musical style and taste involve positionings in relation to issues of capitalism, nationalism, and mass media. The chapter analyzes changes in the region’s music landscape within the region’s evolving modernity, particularly in the transition from a national to a more global modernity. This is illustrated by the declining status of Stockholm’s Anglo pop music industry as the region’s center into a more decentralized and networked transnational cultural geography.
... In fact, 'African culture has emerged as the single most important subtext within world popular culture' (Lipsitz 1997: 36). In contrast, the great majority of African Popular Music Studies -think of the outstanding contribution to East-African Swahili music by Askew (2002), to Central African ndombolo by Bagalwa-Mapatano (2004), to West-African pop by Collins (1992), and to South African a cappella choral music by Erlmann (1999) -proceed without explicit ethnographic strategies. ...
The eight-chapter book is a bold attempt at making a pioneering and pragmatic assessment of the operations of media and communications industries in Nigeria, within the complex context of neoliberal policy agenda – a pro-entrepreneurial economic philosophy that encourages free-market economics. Specifically, the eight-year period from 1999 to 2007, which witnessed a progressive implementation of neoliberal reforms in Nigeria, and the implications of these reforms for the media and communications industries within the democratic environment, form the focus of the contributing authors. To cite this article: Babatunde Raphael Ojebuyi (2011): Media and communications industries in Nigeria: impacts of neoliberal reforms between 1999 and 2007, Critical Arts, 25:2, 316-321 To link to this article go to: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02560046.2011.569093
... Another well-documented influence on Cape culture is that of the touring blackface minstrel groups. Veit Erlmann ( , 1996Erlmann ( , and 1999 has documented the profound effect this had on the South African population. In the United States, dress was an essential aspect of this cultural form, used to identify stock characters such as Jim Crow 105 and the dandy. ...
... One"s preference or dispreference for this or that way of musicking or speaking is very largely a matter of culturally specific and historically contingent ideologies of the relationships between signs, social groups, sounds, bodies in motion, and moral values (see, e.g., Meintjes 1990). This social context influences one"s understandings and actions, imbuing them with power relations, nurturing some potentials and limiting others (e.g., Becker 2004, Becker and Becker 1981, Campbell 1998, Eckert 2000, Erlmann 1999, Keil [1985, Milroy and Milroy 1999, Rickford and Rickford 2000, Samuels 2004, Schieffelin et al. 1998, Small 1996, Turino 2008, Urciuoli 1996, Walser 1993. That these are matters of predominantly indexical and iconic signs can make the relationships seem incontrovertible or necessary even as they also are important ways of learning (see chapter one). ...
This dissertation is a linguistic and musical ethnography of Bamil??k?? people in Bangangt??, a town in Cameroon where many musical groups are also rotating credit associations. These ???musical banks??? met each week to address financial matters and rehearse their chosen genre. I argue that the musicking of musical banks is a key site for creating and reproducing solidarity and moral values about kinship, place, ???tradition,??? and death. I bridge a theoretical gap between poetics, performance, and ideology in linguistic anthropology and the participation approach in musical anthropology. My focus throughout is on the musical bankers??? major concerns, what people do with musical banks, and how these practices address the major concerns ??? all with special emphasis on music and language as forms of social action. I analyze song recorded at rehearsals, and discuss public appearances at funerals. I also use metadiscursive data drawn from a wide range of informal events. ???Traditional/modern??? discourse shapes a lot of what musical bankers do and I discuss these terms as power-laden tropes, not analytic concepts. Positioning themselves in the semiotics of these tropes required considerable uncertainty and subtlety in choosing and negotiating particular signs which may index both ???tradition??? and ???the modern??? in contradictory ways. Most of what musical banks do concerns funerals, which means that confronting the reality of death undergirds the musicking and solidarity of members. Musicking helps the bankers manage and accept the intensity of death and of their solidarity within the banks. Musical bankers??? song relies heavily on inherited personal names, which index matrilines and villages. They provide a crucial resource for the formal structuring of song, and constitute a major piece of the puzzle of what makes this musicking emotionally rich. Understanding why the musical bankers felt strongly about what they did requires appreciating the importance of place. The positive values many musical bankers associated with ???tradition??? were, in fact, rooted in the power and beauty of villages. It is specifically the land which my Bamil??k?? consultants understood to be essential for the continuation of their moral values.
The style [of Ruslana's song “Wild Dances“] can be called “drive-ethno-dance,” a combination of ethnic sounds of the mountain people of the Hutsuls with modern rock, pop and dance elements. (Ruslana n.d.a) Ruslana's winning performance of “Dyki Tantsi” (Wild Dances) at the Eurovision Song Contest 2004 opened with trembity (plural; sing. trembita ), alpine horns linked to, inter alia, the Hutsuls (a Ukrainian ethnic minority). However, trembity are not only used by Ruslana, but also incorporated into songs by other Ukrainian groups like Mad Heads XL's “Smereka” (2005) and Haydamaky's “Tini zabutykh predkiv” (2002). The use of local instruments and melodies in the music which Ruslana in the opening quote labels “drive-ethno-dance” is a way in which some groups from Ukraine anchor themselves. According to Armin Siebert, one of the directors of the Berlin Label Eastblok Music, which specializes in music from Eastern Europe, it is also an exciting element of Russian and Ukrainian popular music: A lot of Russian and—even stronger in Ukraine—Ukrainian groups try to use the profoundness of their culture [e.g., folklore] in their modem rock music … And yeah, that's of course something which we especially think is very exciting, because we think that the Slavic culture, roughly speaking, is very profound and that one should not negate that, because it is really something special, which does not exist in the West. (interview, 19 July 2006; my translation)
A matrix number is an alphanumeric code that is inscribed into the run-out area of commercially recorded gramophone discs. In this article, I argue that orienting our scholarly listening around matrix numbers—what I call “matrix listening”—can help us reframe our engagement with historical sound recordings as primary sources and thereby lend valuable insights into any number of scholarly questions. It can also help us revisit the issue of materiality in recorded sound specifically and music in general, approaching sound recordings not only as container technologies for “music” as a purified domain but as complexly agentive material things.
This article uses Spain's participation at the Cairo Congress of Arab Music (1932) as the basis to raise questions pertaining to the place of Arab music in the racial imagination of Europeans. It argues that Spain's unique response to the challenges arising from the study of Arab music in a context of colonial rivalry reveals still uncharted tensions and fractures running through musicology and Orientalist discourse at the time. My line of inquiry sheds light on the origins and characteristics of the forms of self-reflexivity evident in the musicological work produced by Spain and other European countries. In what ways did the shifting tectonics of North African politics impact or even impair the capacity of European musicological discourse to inscribe Arab music in the global imagination in ways supportive of Europe's identity projects? To what extent was the discourse on Arab music emerging in the context of colonial rivalry suitable for Spain to rewrite the memories of its past of anti-Muslim violence? What could Spain's unique position as both an insider and an outsider relative to notions of Europe reveal about western attitudes towards Arab music in a context of colonial rivalry? The answers to these questions lie not only with the peculiar ways in which Spain addressed its identity crises, but also with the extent to which the Cairo Congress exposed the inadequacy of reigning paradigms in musicology, anthropology and the social sciences, and underscored their inability to keep up with the changing face of North African societies.
This article considers the recent efforts of a Britain-based record label to license and remix field recordings collected in Malawi by Hugh Tracey. In particular, I argue that the initiative’s charitable ends should be weighed against musical production and marketing practices that shortchange Malawi and Malawians. Drawing on fieldwork, interviews, and discourse analysis in Malawi and South Africa, I ask how the project portrays the source materials it utilises and the uptick in cultural awareness it seeks to engender. Factors I focus on include: characterisations of Tracey and his archive, the musical production process, strategic publicity that accompanied the album’s release, and the project’s charitable and musical impacts in contemporary Malawi. Altogether, the article articulates and advocates for a critical approach to musically tinged humanitarian projects in the global South.
Urban sound maps are audiovisual representations of cities created by associating sounds and urban landmarks on a digital geographic map. Fusing cartography and audio recording, urban sound maps prompt a rethinking of how notions of places and spaces are being shaped, not just by maps but also by diverse sound technologies. Drawing from geography, sound, and media studies scholarship, this article explores how urban sound maps inform current discussions about digital place-making practices, as well as ongoing conversations about how maps offer "a way of thinking about the world." Examining various sound mapping projects, it consists of a two-part analysis, integrating a phenomenology of user interface and "deep listening." The first part pinpoints the assorted place-making practices associated with urban sound mapping involving initiators, recordists, map users, and media and their multi-layered politics. The second part delineates the techno-sensory interplay set in motion by the digital interface of the sound map and articulates its new listening-based cartography. The concluding section outlines the ways in which urban sound maps reiterate but also exceed previous models of spatiality prescribed by visual maps and other sound technologies, producing an unsettled model of subjectivity and rearranging established conceptual relationships between places, spaces, and users.
In the essay, Kofi Agawu addresses the relationship between tonality – understood as a “hierarchically organized system of pitch relations” – and African music. Based on different examples and in dialogue with contributions from the decolonial studies and the ethnomusicology, Agawu develops a critical interpretation that seeks to understand how aspects of African musical imagination came to deal with the colonial violence of an imposed foreign harmonic language. After three moments, in which the author seeks to expose (1) aspects of tonalism in African music today, (2) aspects of pre-colonial African tonal thought, and (3) compositional elaborations by African composers, Agawu concludes the essay by making considerations about aspects of tonality as a colonizing force, advocating a review of priorities in the academic study of the continent's music and honoring Africanoriginated resistance processes.
Post-colonial Cameroonian identities have emerged from a combination of systems involving indigenous knowledges, transnational, socio-political, and economic influences, contributing to back-and-forth identity formation in the diaspora and country-of-origin. Kin and kith bonds, social validation, and the maintenance of traditional values between members of the diaspora and relatives in Cameroon influence both individual and collective identity formation in diasporic communities. I argue that the affective communicative properties of socio-culturally and nostalgically relevant music may facilitate not only individual identity formation in the Cameroonian diaspora, but also collective identity formations between members of the Cameroonian diaspora and Cameroon itself through the mechanism of empathy. To accomplish this, I employ the use of meta-narrative review to integrate discussions from cultural studies, social anthropology, sociology, musicology, neuroscience and psychology. Cameroonian diasporic communities discussed in this paper include the Norwegian-Cameroonian and German-Cameroonian diasporas, with comparative discussion offered from the perspective of the Swedish-Kurdish diaspora. This study is intended to exemplify an exploration of how transdisciplinary integration can highlight the value of the affective communicative properties of socio-culturally and nostalgically relevant music as means to facilitate identity formation within and across diasporic communities through the mechanism of empathy.
The aim of this chapter is to provide an overview of the concept of diaspora and how it departs from the current framework for the music education curriculum, multiculturalism. The proposed new paradigm avoids the fragmentation of music by categories of origin whether racial, ethnic, or national. The book’s fundamental breakthrough is to illuminate musical contributions submerged in history and to suggest the existence of unknown sources even beyond those that have been granted authenticity by ethnic group, space on the globe, or racial lineage.
Abstract Historically, many Nigerians were captured and enslaved abroad alongside their music and some musical instruments; of which many of them were eventually restructured or refined and are now believed to be western musical instruments. Globalization in the Twenty-First century has been described as an emerging world (dis)order (Mohan Giles, 1996). “a process by which the world is becoming a single place” (Scholte,1996 cited in Monge, 1998). It is a process characterized by increase in communicative speed, technological sophistication, economic integration, and ideological universalism. According to Rapport (2001), globalization is a “fact of life” because all are affected by it in terms of its benefits or loss positively or negatively. It influences and is influenced by many aspects of contemporary life of which communication is an integral part. This study is focused on issues depriving the globalization of Nigerian music. Nigeria is a multi-ethnic nation with different kinds of music, most of which have been restructured and/or reproduced as Western music. Nigerian music like its western counterpart would have been better globalized, if agents of globalization are better harnessed and utilized for the purpose. Agents of globalization can be have both positive and negative impacts on Nigerian communities and the nation at large, therefore, can be utilized for propagation and better projection of Nigerian image via culture and other related arts to the world.
This paper discusses the potential of digital media and live interfaces in musical composition and performance for subverting exclusionary structures towards inclusion. Coming from backgrounds in electronic music and ethnography, the authors present two case studies that investigate music making practices with live interfaces. These case studies explore the relation between musical experimentation and the use of digital media in catalysing new forms of practice that move beyond restrictive categorisations and limiting boundaries constructed as a result of historical, social, and political processes. While the cases are differentiated in their approach, they converge in their emphasis on the inclusive potential of the digital media.
Across the twentieth century, black South Africans often drew inspiration from African American progress. This transatlantic history informed the global antiapartheid struggle, animated by international human rights norms, of Martin Luther King Jr., his fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner the South African leader Albert Luthuli, and the African American tennis star Arthur Ashe. While tracing the travels of African Americans and Africans “going South,” this article centers Africa and Africans, thereby redressing gaps in black Atlantic and African diaspora scholarship.
Focusing on the Virginia Jubilee Singers, an African American singing ensemble that toured South Africa in the late nineteenth century, this article reveals how the transnational reach of commercialized black music informed debates about race, modernity, and black nationalism in South Africa. The South African performances of the Jubilee Singers enlivened debates concerning race, labor and the place of black South Africans in a rapidly industrializing South Africa. A visit from the first generation of global black American superstars fueled both white and black concerns about the racial political economy. The sonic actions of the Jubilee Singers were therefore a springboard for black South African claims for recognition as modern, educated and educable subjects, capable of, and entitled to, the full apparatus, and insignia, of liberal self-determination. Although black South Africans welcomed the Jubilee Singers enthusiastically, the article cautions against reading their positive reception as evidence that black Africans had no agenda of their own and looked to African Americans as their leaders in a joint struggle.
Globalisation is the integration of the activities of various people irrespective of distance and national boundaries. Through new information, communication, transportation and technological applications, globalisation creates a pool of ideas and opportunities that facilitate understanding, co-operation and interdependence amongst sovereign states. As a phenomenon, globalisation is an imposing development that can hardly be resisted by any society that operates communication network. Music has conspicuously been in this phenomenon, but where a country fails to export her musical arts to the global market via the agents of globalisation, she ends up consuming others’ music, later subsumed and finally suppressed. However, Africa stands to boost her musical identity, receptivity (of works and musicians) and economic base therefrom, if decisive effort is mounted to embrace this development. This understanding requires the liberalization of the creative process, the adaptation of some sonic music universals, identification and projection of some peculiar African music idioms and the reorganization of performance practice in the light of modern scenic realities and documentary alternatives.
The editors of this volume, by way of introducing the collective concerns of its constituent essays, engage with possible reasons for, and implications of, the continuing affective powers of literary, cinematic, dramatic, musical, and plastic art “texts” from and about South Africa for global audiences. In Part I, Patrick Denman Flanery offers a personal reflection on his earliest encounters with “South African” “cultural texts” (or their adaptations) in an American context, suggesting the nature of such texts’ emotional and aesthetic relevance to white liberal audiences in particular. In Part II, Andrew van der Vlies offers broader theoretical analyses of the idea of global mediascapes, relating this to his own ongoing encounters with South African cultural and literary material. In Part III, the editors discuss the relevance of the essays which follow to the issue’s themes and concerns.
(Mis)apprehensions of African arts, and their relegation to distant temporal, spatial, and relational realms, are part of violent structures of power that continue to diminish our understanding of others. European and American representations of African arts and aesthetics, embedded in what James Clifford (1988, 225) refers to as the “art-culture” system, tend to devalue them as “primitive,” signs of stagnant, traditional, and unchanging culture, or to value “authentic” forms, typically precolonial art, assumed to hold ritual power.1 With Europeans and Americans, the primary buyers of “authentic” African art, this double bind leaves contemporary African artists unable to sell their work in global art markets, their creativity sidelined to “fake” antiques, or to “copy” Western music, in mimetic processes that entangle African and European artists and consumers. Within the past two decades, however, the global marketing of African art and aesthetics appears to have morphed; European and American consumers continue to assume transcultural, cosmopolitan creativity the purview of Western artists and non-Western cosmopolitanism a sign of “inauthentic” cultural expression, but this dynamic fosters divergent trends—one, a corporate, commoditized branding of “ethnicity” and corporate authentications of ethnic arts (Comaroff and Comaroff 2009), and two, the burgeoning of African and African diasporic markets in which cosmopolitan creolization is a shared aesthetic of postcolonial experience (Hannerz 1997; Larkin 2008).
For several centuries Cape Town has accommodated a great variety of musical genres which have usually been associated with specific population groups living in and around the city. Musical styles and genres produced in Cape Town have therefore been assigned an ìidentityî which is first and foremost social. This volume tries to question the relationship established between musical styles and genres, and social ñ in this case pseudo-racial ñ identities. In Sounding the Cape, Denis-Constant Martin recomposes and examines through the theoretical prism of creolisation the history of music in Cape Town, deploying analytical tools borrowed from the most recent studies of identity configurations. He demonstrates that musical creation in the Mother City, and in South Africa, has always been nurtured by contacts, exchanges and innovations whatever the efforts made by racist powers to separate and divide people according to their origin. Musicians interviewed at the dawn of the 21st century confirm that mixture and blending characterise all Cape Townís musics. They also emphasise the importance of a rhythmic pattern particular to Cape Town, the ghoema beat, whose origins are obviously mixed. The study of music demonstrates that the history of Cape Town, and of South Africa as a whole, undeniably fostered creole societies. Yet, twenty years after the collapse of apartheid, these societies are still divided along lines that combine economic factors and ìracialî categorisations. Martin concludes that, were music given a greater importance in educational and cultural policies, it could contribute to fighting these divisions and promote the notion of a nation that, in spite of the violence of racism and apartheid, has managed to invent a unique common culture.
Positioned on a major trade route, the Toba Batak people of Sumatra have long witnessed the ebb and flow of cultural influence from India, the Middle East, and the West. Living as ethnic and religious minorities within modern Indonesia, Tobas have recast this history of difference through interpretations meant to strengthen or efface the identities it has shaped. Antiphonal Histories examines Toba musical performance as a legacy of global history, and a vital expression of local experience. This intriguingly constructed ethnography searches the palm liquor stand and the sanctuary to show how Toba performance manifests its many histories through its "local music"-Lutheran brass band hymns, gong-chime music sacred to Shiva, and Jimmie Rodgers yodeling. Combining vivid narrative, wide-ranging historical research, and personal reflections, Antiphonal Histories traces the musical trajectories of the past to show us how the global is manifest in the performative moment.
It is becoming difficult to define ethnomusicology in theoretical terms. This is the inevitable consequence of postcolonial anxieties, perhaps also the ongoing priority of a hermeneutics deeply invested in cultural translation and “interpreting others.” “Theory” implies people – the people we have historically looked at across the colonial divide – lacking theory. Once this was an easy way of defining ethnomusicology’s objects. Now we have a more sophisticated understanding of our own historical compulsion to define others in terms of what they lack. The “interpretation of others” paradigm, dominant throughout much of the last decades of the twentieth century in anthropology and ethnomusicology, erodes theoreticism by relativizing it. This kind of thinking establishes difference, though hesitates to explain it. This would, after all, be at odds with the relativizing instinct. So “post-theoreticism” might well be our current theoretical condition, a point I have argued elsewhere (Stokes 2003). If not theory, what is it, then, that defines ethnomusicology? It is not “fieldwork” per se, since many others in music studies would now lay claim to this and related anthropological concepts, and ethnomusicologists’ own fieldwork practices are changing so rapidly. It is not simply a matter of repertory, or a geographical location, since some study practices outside of the Western canon using methods that either owe little to ethnomusicology or explicitly reject it (e.g., Agawu 1995). Definitional difficulties prompt uncomfortable questions. If everybody is an ethnomusicologist now, if almost all fields of music study engage the idea of music in culture and endorse ethnomusicology’s radical relativism, and many advocate fieldwork, ethnography, and other anthropological methods and techniques, might the time have come finally to dispense with these cumbersome, perhaps even embarrassing, qualifiers – World Music, ethnomusicology?
The mbi’la was made of a block of wood about a foot long and some three inches thick, the lower end of which was partially hollowed out to give resonance, like a rudimentary sounding-board. Attached to the flat surface were thin tongues of metal, one end fastened to the instrument, the other free to vibrate when snapped downward and outward by the thumbs and fingers. At the lower end of the mbi’la were pinned thin disks of tin, two on each pin, which vibrated when the metal tongues were played upon. The silvery, tinkling tones accompanied by the constant jingling buzz of the vibrating disks sounded like a brook purling over stones amid rustling reeds. It was a most poetic and sylvan music, evoked by the little mbi’la which seemed the very voice of nature. Natalie Curtis, Songs and Tales (1920, 8) Introduction – tradition and modernity reconciled An epigraph taken from Natalie Curtis’s Songs and Tales of the Dark Continent first published in 1920 might seem an unusual portal into an article on African music and ethnomusicology. Curtis had yet to set foot in her “Dark Continent.” She wrote at a time long before terms such as “world music” or “ethnomusicology” tripped easily over the tongue. Yet encountering Curtis in the twenty-first century necessitates purposefully unveiling artifacts and ideologies that lurk beneath the surface of colonial and turn-of-the-century verbiage – natives, biblical historical references, pagan villages, continued references to adult consultants as “boy,” and primitive contexts. Curtis represents Africa through its expressive culture, through songs and stories, extrapolating information about Africa through materials from two southern African ethnic groups – the Zulu and the Ndau – collected by Curtis from two informants, both of whom attended the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute (today Hampton University) in Virginia.
How It Feels to Be Free tells a story about black women entertainers and their relationships to the civil rights/black power movement. The book focuses on six performers: singer and film star Lena Horne; South African singer Miriam Makeba; pianist-vocalist Nina Simone; jazz singer and actress Abbey Lincoln; and stage, film, and television actresses Diahann Carroll and Cicely Tyson. All six were more than "just" entertainers, all six took risks when they used their celebrity status to support civil rights, and all six insisted, in all sorts of ways, that the liberation they desired could not separate race from sex. By bringing them center stage, the book demonstrates the multiple ways that culture mattered to black activism in the 1960s; there was far more to culture and civil rights than "We Shall Overcome." How It Feels to Be Free also explores the transnational circulation of black politics and culture; women celebrities who were popular around the globe helped to "export" ideas about black activism in the United States, but their experiences abroad also shaped their participation in U.S. activism. Finally, this book argues that gender was critical to the simultaneous development of black activism and feminism. These women did not call themselves feminists; but with their performances in music, film, and television, and their work in front of and away from cameras, they offered critiques and made demands that became central tenets of feminism generally and of black feminism specifically.
Fringed by extensive mainland coasts and comprising tens of thousands of islands, the Pacific Ocean may be thought of in the terms proposed by one of its well-known writers: a “sea of islands” (Hau‘ofa 1993, 8). This singular geography accounts for the region’s predominantly maritime character and its great cultural diversity. Yet Oceania is also marked by patterns of cultural influence and exchange and increasingly by the forging of collective identities, often through the medium of music. Historically, Oceania referred to Polynesia (“many islands”), Melanesia (“black islands”), and Micronesia (“little islands”), but the term was also applied to coastal Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand, Indonesian Papua and West Papua, and maritime Southeast Asia. The terms “Polynesia,” “Melanesia,” and “Micronesia” themselves made up a tripartite division dating to late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century European contact, when European observers grouped Oceanian peoples according to phenotypical and cultural characteristics. Implicit in this categorization was always a hierarchical ordering: Polynesians were assigned the pole position among Oceanian peoples, while Melanesians and Micronesians were typically construed as subordinate and inferior.
The usefulness of Orientalism to the West – both in its manifestations as scholarship and as artistic representation – was most prominently propounded by Edward Said in 1978. Scholars in numerous fields have been engaged in detailing the history of Orientalist utility ever since. One feature central to Orientalist perception is the belief that exotic others remain stuck in an eternal past and are thus not part of historical evolution and modernity. This convenient fiction has reinforced the West’s notion of its own superiority and modern status in an enduring dynamic, and the exotic Oriental or primitive other serves as a stable benchmark against which the West may measure its own progress. As Veit Erlmann writes, “[T]he strange career of the modern in the West was possible precisely because so much of it existed only at the level of ideology, as a result of a perceived antithesis between an enlightened West and a recalcitrant, backward Rest” (Erlmann 1999, 175). Appropriating elements of an ancient, exotic, and preferably obscure culture has repeatedly offered a direct avenue to modern status for Western agents. At certain historical moments, however, this entire construct seemed threatened, as the timeless exotic other engaged in undeniable change and appeared to make a bid to join history – to modernize and thus destabilize fundamental notions of difference. Since the “modern” was proclaimed to be and widely accepted as a desirable state and was consistently equated with the West, this modernization could only be achieved through rapid westernization. The reliance of Orientalism on such simplistic, Spencerian notions of cultural evolution can lead to a particularly disconcerting situation, in which the exotic other lays claim to both the categories of the ancient and the westernized ultra-modern simultaneously.
One of the pioneers of gender studies in music, Ellen Koskoff edited the foundational text Women and Music in Cross Cultural Perspective, and her career evolved in tandem with the emergence and development of the field. In this intellectual memoir, Koskoff describes her journey through the maze of social history and scholarship related to her work examining the intersection of music and gender. Koskoff collects new, revised, and hard-to-find published material from mid-1970s through 2010 to trace the evolution of ethnomusicological thinking about women, gender, and music, offering a perspective of how questions emerged and changed in those years, as well as Koskoff's reassessment of the early years and development of the field. Her goal: A personal map of the different paths to understanding she took over the decades, and how each inspired, informed, and clarified her scholarship. For example, Koskoff shows how a preference for face-to-face interactions with living people served her best in her research, and how her now-classic work within Brooklyn's Hasidic community inflamed her feminist consciousness while leading her into ethnomusicological studies. An uncommon merging of retrospective and rumination, A Feminist Ethnomusicology: Writings on Music and Gender offers a witty and disarmingly frank tour through the formative decades of the field and will be of interest to ethnomusicologists, anthropologists, scholars of the history and development of feminist thought, and those engaged in fieldwork. Includes a foreword by Suzanne Cusick framing Koskoff’s career and an extensive bibliography provided by the author. © 2014 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. All rights reserved.
What does it mean to play "someone else's music"? Intimate Distance delves into this question through a focus on Bolivian musicians who tour Japan playing Andean music and Japanese audiences who often go beyond fandom to take up these musical forms as hobbyists and even as professional musicians. Michelle Bigenho conducted part of her ethnographic research while performing with Bolivian musicians as they toured Japan. Drawing on interviews with Bolivian musicians, as well as Japanese fans and performers of these traditions, Bigenho explores how transcultural intimacy is produced at the site of Andean music and its performances. Bolivians and Japanese involved in these musical practices often express narratives of intimacy and racial belonging that reference shared but unspecified indigenous ancestors. Along with revealing the story of Bolivian music's route to Japan and interpreting the transnational staging of indigenous worlds, Bigenho examines these stories of closeness, thereby unsettling the East-West binary that often structures many discussions of cultural difference and exotic fantasy.
This book reads representations of Western music in literary texts to reveal the ways in which artifacts of imperial culture function within contemporary world literature. Bushnell argues that Western music's conventions for performance, composition, and listening, established during the colonial period, persist in postcolonial thought and practice. Music from the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic periods (Bach through Brahms) coincides with the rise of colonialism, and Western music contains imperial attitudes and values embedded within its conventions, standards, and rules. The book focuses on the culture of classical music as reflected in the worlds of characters and texts and contends that its effects outlast the historical significance of the real composers, pieces, styles, and forms. Through examples by authors such as McEwan, Vikram Seth, Bernard MacLaverty, Chang-rae Lee, and J.M. Coetzee, the book demonstrates how Western music enters narrative as both acts of history and as structures of analogy that suggest subject positions, human relations, and political activity that, in turn, describes a postcolonial condition. The uses to which Western music is put in each literary text reveals how European art music of the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries is read and misread by postcolonial generations, exposing mostly hidden cultural structures that influence our contemporary understandings of social relations and hierarchies, norms for resolution and for assigning significance, and standards of propriety. The book presents strategies for thinking anew about the persistence of cultural imperialism, reading Western music simultaneously as representative of imperial, cultural dominance and as suggestive of resistant structures, forms, and practices that challenge the imperial hegemony.
Scholars have long known that world music was not merely the globalized product of modern media, but rather that it connected religions, cultures, languages and nations throughout world history. The chapters in this History take readers to foundational historical moments – in Europe, Oceania, China, India, the Muslim world, North and South America – in search of the connections provided by a truly world music. Historically, world music emerged from ritual and religion, labor and life-cycles, which occupy chapters on Native American musicians, religious practices in India and Indonesia, and nationalism in Argentina and Portugal. The contributors critically examine music in cultural encounter and conflict, and as the critical core of scientific theories from the Arabic Middle Ages through the Enlightenment to postmodernism. Overall, the book contains the histories of the music of diverse cultures, which increasingly become the folk, popular and classical music of our own era.
The Cold War was fought between "state socialism" and "the free market." That fluctuating relationship between public power and private money continues today, unfolding in new and unforeseen ways during the economic crisis. Nine case studies -- from Southern Africa, South Asia, Brazil, and Atlantic Africa - examine economic life from the perspective of ordinary people in places that are normally marginal to global discourse, covering a range of class positions from the bottom to the top of society. The authors of these case studies examine people's concrete economic activities and aspirations. By looking at how people insert themselves into the actual, unequal economy, they seek to reflect human unity and diversity more fully than the narrow vision of conventional economics.
The article highlights the connections between the global music industry and experiences at the local level. It argues that the challenges faced by major record labels with the digital revolution should be understood as a phenomenon related to numerous musical performances around the world. This debate is addressed through the analysis of a particular case: the music market in Cape Verde. Two kinds of events are described: Cape Verdean nights and tokatinas. Noting the resilience of live music (in Cape Verde and in many other places), I suggest that the current state of the music industry can be interpreted as a reinstatement of the value of people. Even with the introduction of new digital technologies, the artist has not lost his/her value. Live music requires the valuing of unique experiences and relationships between people, no matter how ephemeral they are.
Creativite, globalisation et musique La theorie de la globalisation a ete – bien qu’implicitement – fortement concernee par la question de savoir dans quelle mesure la globalisation accroit ou, a l’inverse, entrave la creativite culturelle. Les debats sur la world music relevent de la meme preoccupation. Ces debats – groupes ici autour des trois notions d’« Imperialisme culturel », d’« Hybridite » et d’« Authenticite » et des etudes de cas provenant d'Afrique du Nord et d’Afrique de l'ouest – montrent une anxiete persistante face a ce qui releverait de « la vraie creativite » par opposition a « l'imitation », « la traduction », « la grisaille culturelle », ou « la bureaucratisation ». Ces categories elaborees pour decrire les diverses sortes de transmission culturelle sont ideologiquement connotees, et reposent de maniere assez evidente sur des valeurs esthetiques occidentales. Mais elles sont remises en question par de nombreuses nouvelles pratiques culturelles associees a la globalisation. Dans ce texte, je montre que la tâche du discours sur la world music consiste pour l’essentiel a exercer une contre-pression, dans le sens ou il entretient certaines des caracteristiques essentielles de l’ideologie esthetique occidentale. Ma derniere etude de cas – une breve discussion de Charles Perrault dans le Parallele des Anciens et des Modernes – nous rappelle que ce je decris ici comme « le discours de la world music » a une longue histoire.
The Jbala region of northern of Morocco is one that defies easy categorization, containing dialects, styles of dress and performance genres not found elsewhere. Jbala women, "mountain women", are often the stuff of folklore and are well known for an inimitable form of local zajal, spoken poetry delivered in Derrija, or Moroccan Arabic. 'Ayoua is a form of poetry that is traditionally sung outdoors as a way to help pass the monotony of daily gendered tasks such as agricultural work and herding animals and is also used to venerate local saints. This paper focuses on the shift of 'Ayoua and Jbala women and the genre of 'Ayoua as it moves from agricultural fields to small local recording studios to the digital spaces of Facebook and YouTube interviews and concert performances.
This essay develops an image of nineteenth century Zanzibari consumer sensibilities by demonstrating how goods from and new engagements with distant locales affected the socio-cultural landscape of Zanzibar. The East African port’s particular cosmopolitanism represents one form of social reconstitution stimulated by global integration. It also represents a material vision of global relations that was discounted by nineteenth century theorizations of Western modernity. By focusing on the rise of a new materiality in Zanzibar, I excavate precolonial visions of global relations and cultural assimilations of global symbols. I argue that East African desires for goods produced all over the globe represented not simply a Westernization, Indicization, or Arabization of Zanzibar, but also a reconfiguration of a standardized set of global materials in an attempt to bring Zanzibari cultural forms into conversation with broader global trends.
Aux Etats-Unis, les chansons d'esclaves etaient ambivalentes : considerees comme intuitives, naturelles et romantiques, elles refletaient aussi une certaine barbarie, celle des esclaves noirs. Alors que la specificite des « spirituals » etait affirmee, l'idee de la difference, de la negritude persistait. L'ouvrage « Slave songs of the United States » confirme cette impression
But I never try to express what I actually did. I wouldn't try to do that, cause definition's such a funny thing. What's put together to make my music — it's something which has real power. It can stir people up and involve 'em. But it's just something I came to hear. Funk was not a project … It happened as part of my ongoing thing. In 1965, I changed from the upbeat to the downbeat. Simple as that, really. I wasn't going for some known sound, I was aimin' for what I could hear. ‘James Brown Anticipation’ I'd call it. You see, the thing was ahead. (James Brown, quoted in C. Rose, 1990: 46, 59) There's no business Like Blow business Like Bomb business Like BOOM. (George Clinton, 1982)