Appropriation = Good!

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed
A lot of Third World music is supposed to be heard/played in a 'specific context', religious/ceremonial/social etc. So when Westerners just sample instruments/forms for unrelated purposes (doesn't need to be sampled either, cf "Norwegian Wood"), isn't it actually performing a service by liberating said sounds/instruments from utilitarianism/ritual bondage? Spreading 'cultural enlightenment', as it were? Especially 'religious' music, is it too good to leave in the clutches of barbaric medieval supertition?

dave q, Monday, 12 November 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Just to be contentious/allusive I was going to name the thread 'White Man's Burden', but Western pop music has mainly African/American roots, so maybe 'Pax MTV'?

dave q, Monday, 12 November 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Oh no, that will teach me to joke about appropriation on the Pomo Damage thread...

Even though your question is flippant, I will try to answer it seriously, and not in the context of world music, but in the context of religious music. Music is probably one of the oldest expressions of the human propensity for religion. For me, music delivers everything that religion promises, but destroys. (comfort, succor, enlightenment, community, transcendance, beauty, joy, creation)

So if someone, either using ethnic music or religious music or whatever, is able to deliver me from the evils of organised religion while still providing all the joys and emotional extremes of the religious experience without any of the nasty dogma or superstition, why is that such a bad thing?

Especially sitars. Sitars are the musical equivalent of glitter, it is the universe revealing its secret, hidden humourous side, and that is good.

Ugly Wife, Monday, 12 November 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

music hybridizes, recontextualizes. appropriation, the enemy of purity, viva la tokenism. people seem to want to ossify and museumify 'world' music (whatever that is), ie - they don't like it 'tainted' by western influence, although in reverse it isn't seen like that, 'buy me that ethnic cred'. so yeah, why the hell not, use that oud

gareth, Monday, 12 November 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

...But not so good to "liberate" music from everyday (social and ceremonial) use and make it the exclusive property of stars and professionals.

Douglas, Monday, 12 November 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I think sampling in general = liberation. Witness KLF's 1987 - What The Fuck Is Going On? album.

Kodanshi, Monday, 12 November 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Hang on, I think we're at risk of making some sweeping generalisations about 'religious music' here. My experience of religion = anglican church, whose musical soundtrack is the SATB choir (usually all male), either unaccompanied (e.g. Palestrina) or with organ (cf. the Victorian/early 20th C. English tradition).

If only some of this would be appropriated intelligently into secular music. Just taking pop/rock, however, you generally only hear choirs or choristers when the artist wants to evoke some semi-religious or mystical image. So not much 'liberating' happening there. Maybe Björk's "Vespertine" will encourage others to think again about choirs, but I doubt it.

More generally, however, I agree with the equation in the question. Anything which gets us away from the tyranny of the guitar and the drum machine is fine by me.

Jeff, Monday, 12 November 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I'm not really interested on the effects on the stealers, more the effect on the steal-ees

dave q, Monday, 12 November 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

When west adopts thangs frome east = "appropriation" = evil. When east adopts thangs from west = "corporate globalized culture" = evil. Both are dumb ways to approach cultcha. Mixing is generally good but not always specifically, as Reynolds notes in that essay he just put on his site.

Sterling Clover, Monday, 12 November 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

As someone who is quite irreligious, it sometimes bothers me that a great deal of religious music touches me so deeply. (I am thinking especially of Qur'anic recitation, which is not even officially considered music; some other Islamic mystical music; and the music of African-based religions like Yoruba and Santeria, traces of which are, so they say, found in salsa.) Perhaps the imagination of the person who makes such music is enflamed by the belief that they are addressing or conjuring up something divine, and so they achieve an exceptional level of inspiration. Intense emotions don't necessarily have to be the result of accurate beliefs. My most generous offer would be to say that the religions do in fact sometimes put people in touch with some mysterious something or other, and perhaps do a better job of it than anything else, but the explanations that the religions offer are completely off the mark. I have to say, though, that if I were to seriously consider the claims of religion, the aesthetic and emotional pull is probably the thing that would be most likely to win me over now.

Sampling can only capture so much. If part of the effect of a piece of music is the way it develops slowly, then taking a piece of that out of contact isn't going to have the same effect, though it may be worthwhile in its own right.

gareth, I think sometimes I don't want to see music from other cultures "tainted" mostly because I like what I hear and what I value about it is something which is different from what is in western music. (Most of my favorite non-western music is already somewhat tainted, however.) It can be as simple as: I like it the way it is, so I don't want to see it change.

Some of you might be interested in checking out a book by Rudolph Rocker, "Nationalism & Culture," the second half of which is in part a critique of notions of national and cultural purity. (Rocker was a German anarchist who left Germany after the Nazis took over. If I remember correctly, this book was written while Hitler was still in part.)

DeRayMi, Monday, 12 November 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

And it makes me sad to think that a thoroughgoingly secular culture might not be able to produce music that goes as deep as religious music does. Or anyway, that it couldn't have come up with this or that particular example.

If it weren't for her familiarity with Qur'anic recitation, Oum Kalthoum's singing probably wouldn't have happened; and if it weren't for her audience's familiarity with it, her very sophisticated music probably wouldn't have become so incredibly popular. Yet I would have to say that I'd see the withering away of Islam (as other religions) as a positive thing, overall. There go the roots of an art form I love. (Of course, Qur'anic recitation itself makes use of modes that existed before Islam.)

Sorry to go off topic a bit, or just off. . .

DeRayMi, Monday, 12 November 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Expanding on Douglas's comments is it liberation if these instruments/forms are just incorporated into mass-mediated commercial forms (perhaps with certain ideological trappings) that are then mass- marketed back to "Third World" countries?

sundar subramanian, Tuesday, 13 November 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Rudolph Rocker = grate name

mark s, Wednesday, 14 November 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

twelve years pass...

i have never read a discussion of 'appropriation' (except regarding capitalism and its slow co-option of all resistance) that made a strong case for its use as an critical concept, or even laid out its ethical objections clearly. the entire term seems like such a wrong-headed way of understanding how cultural forms operate/spread.

Mordy , Monday, 25 November 2013 15:15 (four years ago) Permalink

where o where is dave q?

Eyeball Kicks, Monday, 25 November 2013 15:16 (four years ago) Permalink

would u feel better abt dayo'd food thread if it said expropriation

A Skanger Barkley (nakhchivan), Monday, 25 November 2013 15:17 (four years ago) Permalink

thread title should've just been first 4 words +ampersand imho.

Mordy , Monday, 25 November 2013 15:20 (four years ago) Permalink

there is doubtless a lot of shit tumblr writing on the subject of appropriation as concept without adequate definition

there are also places where it works as ordinary language to describe.....taking something from its native context and having some deleterious effect on that context, wherein i would classify the foodie thread title

A Skanger Barkley (nakhchivan), Monday, 25 November 2013 15:24 (four years ago) Permalink

but that's the thing - almost all the cultural appropriation we talk about is actually cultural influence. if you cook a curry in the uk you're not taking anything away from indian cuisine. if u use the term appropriation literally (like appropriating a country's historical artifacts to put in your museum) it's appropriate, but regarding music or food i just don't see it. you can't copyright culture.

Mordy , Monday, 25 November 2013 15:28 (four years ago) Permalink

if it's just a term used to describe how objects change as they pass from tribe to tribe, it's doing a particularly bad job descriptively. it implies that some damage or theft is being done.

Mordy , Monday, 25 November 2013 15:29 (four years ago) Permalink

the last thing posted in that thread shows there is damage being done

A Skanger Barkley (nakhchivan), Monday, 25 November 2013 15:33 (four years ago) Permalink

to whom was the damage done? the customer's palates?

Mordy , Monday, 25 November 2013 15:34 (four years ago) Permalink

if a foreign culture is being presented as needing domestic influence/formation to be any good then its value is disparaged

A Skanger Barkley (nakhchivan), Monday, 25 November 2013 15:35 (four years ago) Permalink

this isn't exactly fatal harm but you can't pretend it has absolutely _no_ effect

A Skanger Barkley (nakhchivan), Monday, 25 November 2013 15:36 (four years ago) Permalink

isn't it to be expected that any community adopting cultural modes from outside will inevitably transfigure those inputs into something coherent for their community? it's not a bad thing that hurts the original - culture travels and it shifts to fit the community it travels to.

Mordy , Monday, 25 November 2013 15:36 (four years ago) Permalink

yeah but it's not presented as just smoothing the unfamiliar elements for domestic consumption, 'piquant elevations' as well as being risibly bad copy is an implicit dismissal of the original

A Skanger Barkley (nakhchivan), Monday, 25 November 2013 15:39 (four years ago) Permalink

man mordy i often agree with you but this time i really agree with you, so much of the anti-appropriation talk i see seems to be almost pro-segregation of cultures/peoples

sleepingbag, Monday, 25 November 2013 15:42 (four years ago) Permalink

it strikes me as an anxiety of influence type of thing. if i write a risibly bad copy of kafka, you wouldn't accuse me of appropriating his work. you would just critique the quality of work. it certainly doesn't harm the original. the castle doesn't become worse bc i smoothed it out in my own fiction. xp

Mordy , Monday, 25 November 2013 15:43 (four years ago) Permalink

the difference is there you would be harming your own reputation because the posthumous kafka industry is more powerful than you

A Skanger Barkley (nakhchivan), Monday, 25 November 2013 15:48 (four years ago) Permalink

the kafka industrial complex crushes would-be superseders like scarabs before an implacable executioner

A Skanger Barkley (nakhchivan), Monday, 25 November 2013 15:50 (four years ago) Permalink

It's about treating your source material with respect i guess. but yeah on the whole i agree that cultural assimilation is generally a good thing so long as you're not seen to be taking the piss out of the culture you're appropriating. Trying to gatekeep certain ideas because they belong exclusively to yours or another's culture seems like its own version of bigotry in a way.

Really there need to be examples mentioned here. Food's a big one - you wouldn't have kedgeree or Baltis if it weren't for two cultures colliding. How much fashion is inspired by combining cultures?

a beef supreme (dog latin), Monday, 25 November 2013 16:04 (four years ago) Permalink

Surely a lot of it is a case of doing it well or doing it badly. I think people are annoyed at Kanye West not for simply using them, but the way he used them.
Check out Diamanda Galas talking about Timbaland...
http://diamandagalas.com/writings/diamanda-vs-timbaland/

I've wanted for quite a long time to see a discussion of this since I saw a thread of people criticizing David Byrne not only using foreign elements in his own music but also for releasing foreign artists on his own label; I just cant get my head around the second being a bad thing.
Accusations of cultural imperialism have really interested me lately. I think even metalheads feel that is what is happening to their music when indie rock starts taking elements of metal. Or people speculating that a celebrity probably doesnt know who the band on their t-shirt is (why shouldnt they be fans?).

I think there are serious things to consider about the way you handle what you take. I really like seeing someone's foreign fetishized fantasy idea of a place they have never been that you might see in a work of fiction. It mutates into something really interesting. Some people are really sensitive about western people fictional fantasies of east and I agree it can be racist but I think some people are oversensitive and think it is all racist. I havent read that much about "orientalism" though.
There is some people who worry about western rock/pop poisoning other cultures, but generally I think most people think rock/pop is for anyone who wants it, globally.

I really dont think most old religions and cultures would be any less guilty of appropriation.

It wasnt so long ago I found out the Nazi's appropriated the swastika and now it is totally tarnished. Possibly the biggest disaster of appropriation I can think of.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Monday, 25 November 2013 23:59 (four years ago) Permalink

Some cultural systems that weren't appropriated.

The rhetoric around appropriation still implies a paternalistic relation between a cultural center and "protected" outgroups, whereas the world really is becoming flat. South Korea was an impoverished, war-torn nation just 50 years ago, and now has global hit-single assembly lines. Musicians in Luanda are using the better technology to sample Western music than Byrne/Eno had in 1980. I can hear (and be influenced by) a Polish band more easily than a band playing across town.

Were the rhetoric taken seriously, our descendants would be worse off for it. Cultural appropriations are fertile ground for entirely novel genres, and this is most true when the borrowers (from conmingling, distillation, confusion, irreverence or ineptitude) misinterpret their sources. Would our collective inheritance be richer had Roman literati frowned upon stealing the whole pantheon and mythos of the Greeks? Had Buddhism been denied an opportunity to transmogrify on its journey across China to Japan? Had British skiffle musicians not borrowed African-American blues, and gotten it wrong?

@RAG: Hindus seem rather keen on reclaiming the swastika, and given enough time, probably will. Who among us finds the Mongolian black banner repulsive, when only 700 years ago it heralded more death and brutality than National Socialists could muster. There will be new icons of evil to supplant Hitler & pals, and I'd like to think that 700 years hence, he'll be as obscure to schoolchildren as Tamerlane.

charm/anti-charm annihilation (Sanpaku), Tuesday, 26 November 2013 06:00 (four years ago) Permalink

Two booming posts

a beef supreme (dog latin), Tuesday, 26 November 2013 08:44 (four years ago) Permalink

The issue isn't so much 'protecting' cultures as recognising and addressing power imbalances. You as an individual may listen to and be influenced by Polish bands but the culture that you are part of, on the whole, does not. I'd be willing to bet that no Polish musicians are currently playlisted on US radio and i'd be surprised if any made it into influential music publications this year (despite the UK having hundreds of thousands of Poles, i'm only aware of three mainstream press articles over the last couple of years talking about Polish pop and i wrote two of them myself). If a British or American band had the uncharacteristic good taste to release a record heavily influenced by Kapela Ze Wsi Warszawa they'd probably have a much easier time getting attention than a band called Kapela Ze Wsi Warszawa would.

In the same way, Miley Cyrus releasing an r&b record is not a problem. Miley Cyrus getting 50 times as much airplay as K.Michelle for her r&b record is a problem. The same goes for 'Snoop Lion' and any number of Jamaican reggae acts. The question shouldn't be "was Elvis racist", it should be "was a structure that allowed Elvis to thrive at the expense of black performers doing the same sort of music racist?" and the answer would clearly be yes.

A guy from New York who goes to Tokyo to compete with ramen joints on their own terms would be a substantially different form of appropriation to a wealthy venture capitalist opening US-wide chain of faux-Japanese restaurants and putting hundreds of family-owned places out of business. Katy Perry putting on a geisha-themed show for a Japanese audience would be different to Katy Perry putting on a geisha-themed show for a primarily white audience in a country where Japanese-American women are still routinely stereotyped, etc, etc, etc. It's about power and the internet hasn't radically changed that.

Ramnaresh Samhain (ShariVari), Tuesday, 26 November 2013 08:49 (four years ago) Permalink

tamerlane is still hated or revered in iran the caucusus etc, not everywhere is so semiotically blasé

A Skanger Barkley (nakhchivan), Tuesday, 26 November 2013 08:49 (four years ago) Permalink

good post sv

A Skanger Barkley (nakhchivan), Tuesday, 26 November 2013 08:54 (four years ago) Permalink

I think you have to approach it with a kind of Marxist cultural ontology / critique. Appropriation isn't always the same thing as profiteering, but they're often connected. Somebody (with a low profile) writing like Kafka with the edges sanded off doesn't demean Kafka's work because Kafka's work is established, recognised, and successful, and it's unlikely that the new writer will ascend to great commercial heights from doing so (though they may). Paperchase shamelessly ripping-off individual designers with tiny stores on Etsy and making profit on the back of stolen original ideas is problematic though.

Likewise appropriating ideas from African (or wherever) musicians and becoming very famous and successful, whilst those African musicians remain relatively unheard of in your audience. Byrne's attempted to give something back by releasing records, taking people on tour, collaborating etc, but I doubt any of them enjoy the success and cache he has achieved. Neo-liberalism might say that's OK, because people wanted to buy his product and not the product of the people he was inspired by, but understanding market forces allows you to take advantage, and just by being raised within the (US pop music) market Byrne's at an advantage.

So it's not just that anti-appropriation people are also pro-cultural-segregation, although it can often come across like that. Appropriation is probably semantically the wrong term. I don't think it's about respect for the source material so much as it's about not making yourself rich off someone else's idea while that someone else lives in penury. So I think it's about people, not product. I'm not sure I'm expressing myself as clearly as I'd like here.

I can still taste the Taboo in my mouth when I hear those songs (Scik Mouthy), Tuesday, 26 November 2013 13:09 (four years ago) Permalink

I'm not sure that our concern with market success is necessarily aligned w/ Marxist concerns. Certainly we can note that someone is being exploited and someone is doing the exploiting but when we start talking about who is achieving chart success -- as though that it something that matters and is important to the development of human culture -- I take exception. Especially when we start conflating economic exploitation and racism, the latter of which is used to justify the former, but not really vice-versa. "Miley Cyrus getting 50 times as much airplay as K.Michelle for her r&b record is a problem." But why? In 100 years they'll both be dead and neither will likely be remembered. Because it's unfair that one musical artist makes more money than another musical artist, and it seems race has something to do with it? Marxism is overkill for explaining why one person makes more money than another particular human being. It's much better for explaining why 1% of humanity makes more money than the other 99%. I can't help but see this other appropriation conversation a bastardization of that ideological - or worse, an 'appropriation' of Marxism for the sake of post-colonialism (about which I have complained prolifically already on ilx).

Mordy , Tuesday, 26 November 2013 13:31 (four years ago) Permalink

eg christianity + islam - the two biggest religions in the world - are both appropriations of judaism, and both are presented as 'elevations of' or 'perfections of' jewish religion + culture. i don't think any jews are particularly upset about that appropriation though (more upset about literal persecutions from those groups) and if anything are pretty proud of their contribution to world culture + religious development. my father loves to talk about how christianity was a jewish conspiracy to teach the pagans about monotheism (he and varg would likely have a lot to talk about).

Mordy , Tuesday, 26 November 2013 13:45 (four years ago) Permalink

Are they really appropriations? They seem more like futurama to Simpsons than family guy to Simpsons.
Well I guess in some ways it is more like family guy to Simpsons but

Philip Nunez, Tuesday, 26 November 2013 14:26 (four years ago) Permalink

You'll get no argument from me since my point is that appropriation isn't a useful concept.

Mordy , Tuesday, 26 November 2013 14:27 (four years ago) Permalink

when we start talking about who is achieving chart success -- as though that it something that matters and is important to the development of human culture -- I take exception. Especially when we start conflating economic exploitation and racism,

Take money out of the equation and you are still left with a situation in which minorities are taught by experience that their cultural totems are not suitable for mass consumption, or lack validity, unless presented by a white face. That surely has a psychological impact over and above the economic.

Ramnaresh Samhain (ShariVari), Tuesday, 26 November 2013 15:06 (four years ago) Permalink

This is fascinating.

Scik Mouthy says "Likewise appropriating ideas from African (or wherever) musicians and becoming very famous and successful, whilst those African musicians remain relatively unheard of in your audience. Byrne's attempted to give something back by releasing records, taking people on tour, collaborating etc, but I doubt any of them enjoy the success and cache he has achieved. Neo-liberalism might say that's OK, because people wanted to buy his product and not the product of the people he was inspired by, but understanding market forces allows you to take advantage, and just by being raised within the (US pop music) market Byrne's at an advantage."

Is there anything you think he should have done differently? Do you know how well the support acts went down on those tours? I hate to think what some audiences might have been like, especially if this was at the height of Taling Heads fame (or was this in his solo era?).

Sanpaku- That list of dead languages is very interesting but I'm fairly confident that many of those will have elements that survived in a positive way.
A few months ago there was a BBC art documentary about anicent tribes that are now collectively referred to as Barbarians. It was about how Vandals, Huns and Goths and other cultures I'm forgetting were misrepresented by romans and christians and now the names of those tribes mean something entirely different now, usually in a negative way.
Then I see "Philistine" listed among those languages and think surely that is another culture mocked into a different thing entirely? I'll think twice about using that word again now.

Should Hitler really be forgotten? Or any of the previous people like him who are now largely forgotten?
I'm sick of WW2, but it probably is important that it keeps being discussed. Some might say that us not knowing about earlier warmongers and not learning about enough of the errors of the past is why the world is still shitty in so many ways? Or will the lesson of Hitler have outlived its usefulness eventually?

Robert Adam Gilmour, Tuesday, 26 November 2013 17:23 (four years ago) Permalink

Mordy I think to the extent that "appropriation" is ever problematic, it depends on the context of power relations. If a conquering power takes the culture of the conquered and presents it as its own and denies it as that of the conquered, I think that's the kind of "appropriation" that is usually criticized. I think that's why the music industry of the 50s, for example, gets criticized for its "appropriation" of black music. The problem isn't that white artists were influenced by black music, it's that the entire apparatus of "rock and roll" consisted of putting forward white artists while simultaneously ignoring or minimizing the black artists who developed the music.

i wish i had a skateboard i could skate away on (Hurting 2), Tuesday, 26 November 2013 17:39 (four years ago) Permalink

here is a drew friedman comic appropriated from someone's blogspot:
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_W8pwMnZMNuQ/TINIzcGfauI/AAAAAAAADoA/wrlli9MgQcs/s400/slfig1.jpg

Philip Nunez, Tuesday, 26 November 2013 17:44 (four years ago) Permalink

the entire apparatus of "rock and roll" consisted of putting forward white artists while simultaneously ignoring or minimizing the black artists who developed the music.

Exactly. This is why Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley are forgotten today, while we're all still listening to Pat Boone and Fabian.

Humorist (horse) (誤訳侮辱), Tuesday, 26 November 2013 17:46 (four years ago) Permalink

Durr. Things have changed a little since the 50s.

i wish i had a skateboard i could skate away on (Hurting 2), Tuesday, 26 November 2013 17:48 (four years ago) Permalink

On the other side, Hurting, those white artists in the 50s arguably opened up those sounds to a broader audience that followed up by returning to the original artists. I'm not an expert in 50s rock&roll, but I know that Byrne + Simon both inaugurated huge Western interests in African music. I listen predominately to African music in 2013 (almost 100% from non-white artists) and I think Graceland gets some credit for that. In such a case, yes, Graceland can be critiqued for exploiting Ladysmith Black Mambazo + SA afropop, but it can also be credited for the plethora of reissues + access to obscure African music now available in the US.

I take ShariVari's point that requiring a white face to normalize a style/genre can be psychologically debilitating to the original practicing group, but I also think such a thing can't be helped to a certain extent. There are language, idiom, regional, etc elements involved. And once that lacuna between two groups is bridged it opens the door to cultural influence that may have been impossible before. It would be better if ppl didn't require the stepping stone, but if it's required it's maybe misguided to condemn it?

Mordy , Tuesday, 26 November 2013 17:49 (four years ago) Permalink

Certainly we can note that someone is being exploited and someone is doing the exploiting but when we start talking about who is achieving chart success -- as though that it something that matters and is important to the development of human culture -- I take exception.
-Mordy

Pat Boone having commercial success with covers of Little Richard songs at the same time that African-Americans were struggling greatly with issues of segregation certainly relates to the development of human culture. K. Michelle being marginalized in 2013 similarly matters regarding culture.

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 26 November 2013 17:57 (four years ago) Permalink

I think the sounds are important to an artist being loved about the same amount that a sports team ability to win does for their fandom

Philip Nunez, Tuesday, 26 November 2013 22:48 (four years ago) Permalink

But having said all that, this is one of the few places on the internet you can have extensive discussions about loads of obscure music that arent covered by any other forum/community. There might be better forums for metal, world music and classical but is there anywhere else I can talk about Susumu Hirasawa? Maybe there is.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Tuesday, 26 November 2013 22:49 (four years ago) Permalink

Are there better forums for world music? Links please if you know of any.

Mordy , Tuesday, 26 November 2013 22:50 (four years ago) Permalink

I think the sounds are important to an artist being loved about the same amount that a sports team ability to win does for their fandom

p cynical view of pop music.

Legitimate space tale (LocalGarda), Tuesday, 26 November 2013 22:54 (four years ago) Permalink

i mean just throwing the idea out there that how music sounds may play a role in its success, even to those who lack our superior intelligence.

It plays a role, sure; which music gets presented to people (the 99% who don't make that much effort to seek out new music) plays a larger role imo.

Why did two long paragraphs about klezmer + chassidic niggunim get totally ignored and a throwaway line about Billboard being unimportant get focused on?

I thought it was interesting fwiw!

famous for hits! (seandalai), Tuesday, 26 November 2013 23:00 (four years ago) Permalink

I think the sounds are important to an artist being loved about the same amount that a sports team ability to win does for their fandom

p cynical view of pop music.

― Legitimate space tale (LocalGarda)

not cynical enough imo, sounds far less important than that

30 ch'lopping days left to umas (darraghmac), Tuesday, 26 November 2013 23:03 (four years ago) Permalink

Mordy says "Are there better forums for world music? Links please if you know of any."

Sorry I dont know any, I just assumed there must be world music forums.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 27 November 2013 15:42 (four years ago) Permalink

There are various forums for all kinds of non-"Western" music--but we're looking for a better one in English, and hmmm, not sure of one. Alas, a West African one I used to read whose contributors were mainly Congolese folks living in Belgium, France and the US, seems to be gone now. Does that other ilx-like forum Dissensus still exist? They used to discuss international sounds.

Regarding Klezmer and Roma music and Mordy saying Similarly, isn't that the far more empowering (and sensible) way of characterizing even white American appropriation of black music?

Also, Mordy, I think there is plenty of discussion on ilx music threads that goes being who is being exploited.

No, I do not think so, for a myriad of reasons having to do with race, politics, economy , etc. Also, Mordy and uh, is that Unperson (real name starts with a P) , its ok for you two to not personally care about Billboard charts but they are important as a tool and placement on such charts, even their genre ones, can help musicians sell music and get gigs, and culturally can bring attention to music as well. Also I second ShariVari's thoughts upthread on this.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 27 November 2013 16:43 (four years ago) Permalink

Oops, with my cutting and pasting.

This should have gone at the end and said: Also, Mordy, I think there is plenty of discussion on ilx music threads that covers more than who is being exploited

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 27 November 2013 16:45 (four years ago) Permalink

There is some but it seems like those are the hot topics that get the most replies / conversation. Certainly besides me and you the World Music is pretty unpopulated, which is a constant disappointment :/

Mordy , Wednesday, 27 November 2013 16:52 (four years ago) Permalink

I appreciate World Music a lot, fwiw. I have nothing to contribute, but it's an excellent guide.

jmm, Wednesday, 27 November 2013 16:57 (four years ago) Permalink

When we change it to "Outernational" next year, the postings will be flying. :) I think its human nature that the hot topics get more attention than the discussions of Bassekou Kouyate's latest album or K. Michelle's.

Do any of the outernational non-Brit/non-American/non-European etc threads get lots of postings? The Afro-Latin one does not; the Arab music not otherwise classified does not. I don't go on the K-pop thread much, so I don't know. Same with Japanese pop ones and South Asian ones.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 27 November 2013 17:00 (four years ago) Permalink

People are just too anxious about discussing African music - they're afraid they might accidentally appropriate something.

Mordy , Wednesday, 27 November 2013 17:01 (four years ago) Permalink

Ha ha. I was reading a DC blogger grumbling that most folks involved in the non-profit and governmental etc community in DC do not go out and dance to programmed beat Nigerian and South African dance music in the few clubs in DC that play such sounds. The blogger says that such folks (many of 'em white, former Peace Corps folks), if they listen to music at all, only listen to what he snears at as old-people African music -- made with guitars and such from people in Mali.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 27 November 2013 17:08 (four years ago) Permalink

xposts
the dancehall one sure doesn't!

you're joking, but actually I do think that for people who are aware of these issues, whether or not they're valid, there's a wariness around discussing African music in a way that doesn't make you sound ignorant...and I am ignorant of huge amounts of African culture.

rob, Wednesday, 27 November 2013 17:09 (four years ago) Permalink

I feel bad that everytime I look at the dancehall thread I have nothing to contribute and say--but I often enjoy the youtubes posted. Its hard to keep up with everything and to try to grasp an understanding of the underlying cultures that the music comes from.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 27 November 2013 17:15 (four years ago) Permalink

ha, no worries, a few people have made it clear that they bookmark it and it's not like I often have anything incisive to say. I do wish some of the pros who follow the genre would post, but we all have different posting cycles

rob, Wednesday, 27 November 2013 17:17 (four years ago) Permalink

Ha ha. I was reading a DC blogger grumbling that most folks involved in the non-profit and governmental etc community in DC do not go out and dance to programmed beat Nigerian and South African dance music in the few clubs in DC that play such sounds. The blogger says that such folks (many of 'em white, former Peace Corps folks), if they listen to music at all, only listen to what he snears at as old-people African music -- made with guitars and such from people in Mali.

Haha I can totally sympathize

乒乓, Wednesday, 27 November 2013 17:27 (four years ago) Permalink

Just received this pr email from a publicist about the #1 album on the Billboard World Music charts. Ugh, I admit it, I do not care about this:

CELTIC WOMAN Returns to #1 World Music Chart... "LIVE IN CONCERT" Airs on PBS Through the Holidays!

Why is there not a thread on CELTIC WOMAN and why are there not zillions of posts all mentioning tweets, instagrams, blog discussions, etc. about it. Seriously, I am sure there are folks here into Celtic music, but its not my thing. ‏

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 27 November 2013 17:36 (four years ago) Permalink

i glance at the billboard world music chart occasionally and it very very very rarely contains any albums i'm interested in

Mordy , Wednesday, 27 November 2013 17:44 (four years ago) Permalink

I made friends with a group of South African girls once because I was the only American they'd met who new SA house and kwaito.

when a real whiney hold you down, you sposed to drown (The Reverend), Wednesday, 27 November 2013 17:50 (four years ago) Permalink

I would like to get into "world" music because I have some itches that I think cant be scratched by anything else, I was thinking of asking for the best steelpan drum music because I fooking love the sound of that instrument; also stuff with the super tropical fruity sounds that I really like.
I was searching out Calypso a year or two ago and not much of it really fit what I was looking for except Shadow (sometimes called Mighty Shadow; for some reason Calypso artists have names like Mighty Swallow and Mighty Sparrow. I think maybe the "mighty" is added later in their careers?). Great song....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iEpBzIbUKw

Last time I checked this stuff is difficult to find.

The reason I havent put up any of these request threads or participated in the World Music thread is because I'm shoulder deep in several rock/pop genres, I've been meaning to be big in brit/european folk for almost a decade but I've still barely scratched the surface; I also really want to be big into classical but I only have like 5 or 6 classical records.
I recently bought the Rough Guide To Classical Music (someone recommeded it in one of the classical threads) and it is marvellous, but I also thought "Am I ever going to hear even a quarter of these guys, and these are only the superstars, there is way more. In the back there was an advert for the Rough Guide To World Music and I thought "I'll need that too someday, but I'm not ready yet".

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 27 November 2013 17:57 (four years ago) Permalink

come to the world music thread, rag - you're awesome + you'll love it

Mordy , Wednesday, 27 November 2013 18:02 (four years ago) Permalink

You've flattered me enough that I'll feel guilty for not going there now. I'll take my questions that I mentioned above.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 27 November 2013 19:24 (four years ago) Permalink

So yeah this thread concerns some things that are deep in my wheelhouse yet vex me time and time again. So many of my favorite things are technically guilty of exoticization/othering/orientalism. How do I square the perniciousness of the mechanism with the bone deep pleasure I have derived over the years from things like

Debussy Pagodes etc
Britten Curlew River, Death In Venice
Szymanowski 3rd symphony after Rumi
Les Baxter LPs
Miklos Rozsa and Jerry Goldsmith and Henry Mancini film scores
Koechlin's Les Heures Persanes
Bernard Herrmann 7th Voyage of Sinbad
Rimsky FFS
Strauss fantasy operas like Die Frau Ohne Schatten
Delius incidental music for Hassan
Sun City Girls
Gil Evans LPs
Duke Ellington 'Bakiff'
Coltrane 'India' and Ole!
Georges Delerue's many north african tinged film scores
The Russian ballet tradition

This is all stuff which I love with a real fever and I so often respond more strongly to culturally promiscuous and mongrelized versions of things much more than I do to the genuine articles. Or I like the genuine article to be jumbled in a trunk a la the Secret Museum series.

I might note that I am an impoverished american sickly areligious white runt who has never gone ANYWHERE irl despite being well read. I am fucking 43 and have been to Canada and that's it. Is that why I vibe so hard with exotica artifacts from eras when euro/US composers and musicians really hadn't been anywhere in person and used that as an excuse to trip balls? Am I deeply racist for cherishing this stuff?

yes, i have seen the documentary (Jon Lewis), Wednesday, 27 November 2013 19:54 (four years ago) Permalink

just an amen to the above post, esp with regard to Duke Ellington and Sun City Girls in particular- they are both entirely self-aware artists who know what they're up to, and part of that does feel like a perverse desire to push the very buttons in question- but the SCGs really do have a love of the things they're stealing (hello Eric Lott's "Love and Theft" argument re: minstrelsy!)- with Ellington it's harder to figure out what his actual take on Asian music was . . .

I guess that's part of why the Mauricio Kagel piece "Exotica" is so amazing to me- it builds the structure of racist fantasy and mimesis into the supposed free space of responding in real time to recordings of ethnic music and works the whole delivery system into itself- it's an inspired way to make music with and about these tense moments of encounter

the tune was space, Wednesday, 27 November 2013 20:06 (four years ago) Permalink

How could I have forgotten Far East Suite and Afro-Eurasian Eclipse! Durrr.

I rly need to hear that kagel piece.

yes, i have seen the documentary (Jon Lewis), Wednesday, 27 November 2013 20:11 (four years ago) Permalink

five months pass...
one year passes...

It's kind of fascinating to me how much the pop music machine continues to do essentially what it did in the 50s, i.e. pump out white artists who can make black musical/cultural tropes just slightly more accessible to white audiences. I mean the difference now is that the white artists "appropriating" black music and the black artists coexist more in the pop universe and a listener is more likely to listen to both. But I think we're so used to hearing white artists incorporate diction/vocal tics/slang/dance moves/etc. associated with black culture that we sometimes don't even notice it, e.g. Meaghan Trainor singing that she's "All About That Bass." I mean what's weird to me is that people specifically single out Miley Cyrus twerking as "appropriation" but not like 95% of white pop artists outside of country music.

I don't know that there's anything wrong with cross-cultural borrowing per se, but it seems like what is perceived as "black culture" in 2015 continues to be a space for white people to let loose, be more sexual, be more aggressive, etc. like in certain ways the role of black people in the white imagination hasn't changed much.

on entre O.K. on sort K.O. (man alive), Friday, 4 September 2015 15:06 (three years ago) Permalink

Yeah. I was listening to Negativland's "Dispepsi" and there is a clip from a marketing exec about marketing to stereotyping and perceived roles. It basically describes what the entertainment industry is doing now, yes, but also always doing. It isn't limited to a single industry but illustrative of a lot of unresolved cultural issues that are maybe now being more discussed and broadcasted than ever before.

The entertainment industry has always been exploitative of minorities and women, the only question is are we at an all-time high or have things really always just been this bad and not talked about bc of media supremacy?

AdamVania (Adam Bruneau), Friday, 4 September 2015 15:35 (three years ago) Permalink

It's certainly still constant and a serious issue but when a bunch of stars show up to support jay-z's tech venture I can't imagine we're at an "all-time high"

da croupier, Friday, 4 September 2015 16:05 (three years ago) Permalink

like macklemore is definitely on the timeline with pat boone but i don't think pat boone ever publicly apologized to little richard

da croupier, Friday, 4 September 2015 16:09 (three years ago) Permalink

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQ-qRSsmg10

AdamVania (Adam Bruneau), Friday, 4 September 2015 16:26 (three years ago) Permalink

t's kind of fascinating to me how much the pop music machine continues to do essentially what it did in the 50s, i.e. pump out white artists who can make black musical/cultural tropes just slightly more accessible to white audiences...

it seems like what is perceived as "black culture" in 2015 continues to be a space for white people to let loose, be more sexual, be more aggressive, etc. like in certain ways the role of black people in the white imagination hasn't changed much.

Tbf, the American popular music industry (which owes some of its early history to the minstrel show era) was doing this before the 50s. Cf. the Jazz Age, etc.

EveningStar (Sund4r), Friday, 4 September 2015 18:17 (three years ago) Permalink

I'm kind of fascinated that someone could post the OP on ILM in 2001 and have several people agree with him.

EveningStar (Sund4r), Friday, 4 September 2015 18:18 (three years ago) Permalink

I wasn't quite here yet, but wasn't Dave Q known for those kinds of posts, as a schtick? He was like the "hot takes" guy of earlier ILM, is my impression.

on entre O.K. on sort K.O. (man alive), Friday, 4 September 2015 18:26 (three years ago) Permalink

iirc ILM 2001 was into white boy bands doing Eurofied takes on Tony! Toni! Toné!

welltris (crüt), Friday, 4 September 2015 18:27 (three years ago) Permalink

lol

on entre O.K. on sort K.O. (man alive), Friday, 4 September 2015 18:28 (three years ago) Permalink

I wasn't quite here yet, but wasn't Dave Q known for those kinds of posts, as a schtick? He was like the "hot takes" guy of earlier ILM, is my impression.

Yes, and I think my point stands.:P

EveningStar (Sund4r), Friday, 4 September 2015 18:38 (three years ago) Permalink

This actually reminds me that last year I observed Yom Kippur for the first time in many years, and since I couldn't actually go to a Kol Nidre service (night service for beginning of Yom Kippur with special service/melodies for that night only) I listened to a really good recording of it on Spotify alone. And it struck me what an amazing, harrowing piece of music it is, but I couldn't bring myself to listen to it again on any other time, because I didn't want to disrespect its purpose.

At the same time though, I would have no problem whatsoever with a non-Jewish person (or a Jewish person for that matter) listening to Kol Nidre purely for pleasure/interest, completely stripped of its context. So appropriate away.

on entre O.K. on sort K.O. (man alive), Friday, 4 September 2015 19:57 (three years ago) Permalink

rules obtain: appropriation of the velvet underground = good; appropriation of procol harum = bad

reggie (qualmsley), Friday, 4 September 2015 20:18 (three years ago) Permalink

nine months pass...

Sund4r- isn't the majority of the thread mostly in agreement with the top post?

http://davidbyrne.com/archive/news/press/articles/I_hate_world_music_1999.php

Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 9 June 2016 21:25 (two years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DNpUZCXXcAExoEa.jpg

mark s, Thursday, 2 November 2017 17:59 (eleven months ago) Permalink

three months pass...

I find my self more and more struck and sometimes annoyed at how much american/british pop music there is that leans heavily on trying to sound like soul and R&B music. Like I had always *known* "rock and roll is black music" but I didn't realize when I was younger how much every single fucking white rock/pop singer is imitating black singers.

Fedora Dostoyevsky (man alive), Tuesday, 6 February 2018 20:32 (eight months ago) Permalink

any specific examples here? surely a lot of rock singers, especially contemporary ones, are imitating other rock singers?

Badgers (dog latin), Tuesday, 6 February 2018 21:02 (eight months ago) Permalink

Bob Seeger was one who struck me recently. Wasn't thinking so much about contemporary as 60s-80s.

Also, less of a singer thing, but it hit me recently that the Doors rhythm section was trying to sound like Booker T. and the MGs.

Fedora Dostoyevsky (man alive), Tuesday, 6 February 2018 21:08 (eight months ago) Permalink

were they? I always thought Densmore wanted to play bebop and got stuck in a rock band

It's not delivery, it's Adorno! (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 7 February 2018 03:53 (eight months ago) Permalink

Tom waits embarrasses me to listen to now lol

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Wednesday, 7 February 2018 04:14 (eight months ago) Permalink

For this reason among others

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Wednesday, 7 February 2018 04:15 (eight months ago) Permalink

this is a good piece btw https://www.currentaffairs.org/2017/09/the-question-of-cultural-appropriation

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Wednesday, 7 February 2018 21:56 (eight months ago) Permalink


You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.