Pop Goes the Meme, Yo

I’m headed north this weekend to take part in the Pop Montreal conference. I’ll be speaking/playing on a “DJed Lecture Series” alongside such keen observers / boosters / makers of “World Street Music” as Guillaume Decouflet (aka Khiasma / Valeo from Masalacism), Brian Shimkovits (of awesometapes fame), Sao Paolo’s Dago Donato, and 90210’s favorite hip DJ (aka /Rupture).

What is a “DJed Lecture Series” you might ask? Sez the conference website:

It is a live musical paper that combines speaking with direct audio sampling. This special invite-only roster of ethno-musicologists/DJs will present on the subject of street music, a label often interchangeable with electronic music. What are the ways that society and the dominant open-source culture and technologies impact creative process and emerging genres? Come learn while celebrating and promoting the artists, sounds, and songs behind some of the most innovative and thriving musical movements today. 5 DJs. It’ll be like the best article you’ve never read on global street music.

I suppose I’ve been DJ-lecturing for years now, and I’m always happy to revisit some of my favorite well-worn musical materials (sometimes referred to, including by me, as memes) in order to talk about common practices of reuse, reference, and remix.

I’ve been feeling, however, less and less comfortable with the term “meme,” in part based on some persuasive ideas articulated recently by Henry Jenkins (and affirmed elsewhere). So part of my talk will trace a couple of my favorite so-called “musical memes” and the other part will call into question the very language a lot of us have been using to describe these phenomena.

Hence, my title — & allow me to share my copanelists’ as well:

DJ 1. Wayne Marshall, “To Meme or Not to Meme?”

DJ 2. Guillaume Decouflet, “L’Authenticité du Mélange / The Authenticity of the Mix”

DJ 3. Dago Donato, “Favela Soundsystem”

DJs 4 & 5 Jace Clayton & Brian Shimkovtiz, “Marketing The Local: Navigating the Divide Between Local Taste and Global Impact”

Definitely looking forward to the panel — and the conference more generally — not to mention just getting back to MTL, which is without a doubt one of the greatest cities in North America. So special. And get this: among other musical luminaries appearing at the conference, Roxanne Shante will be speaking on Friday; color me curious to hear what she has to say post-“exposé.”

Also (and this is a BIG ALSO), I’ll be in town for the launch of the Mighty Poirier‘s new party, Karnival !

Don’t miss Ghis’s new mix, which gives a good sense of his latest melange of internat’l street beats.

See you there, mon frere?