Traditionally Modern

Since Canyon is bugging me to follow thru on my promises to make pdfs the new mp3s, and b/c Chief Boima put up a provocative post that inspired me to upload a couple of my favorite ethnomusicological articles about African music, I figured I should share them here too.

Here’s what I wrote on Boima’s site:

Great post, Boima! You raise a lot of points that ethnomusicologists were discussing in the 80s and 90s — often times around the marketing of “world music” and the constraints created by discourses of authenticity. For some listeners, the real Africa could never be represented by guitars and synths — just “tribal” drums, right? I’m definitely heartened by the kind of approaches that resist and push against false dichotomies between the traditional and the modern. Which reminds me of one of my fave ethno articles from the 90s (1990 to be exact) —

Christopher Waterman, ‘ “Our Tradition Is a Very Modern Tradition”: Pan-Yoruba Music and the Construction of Pan-Yoruba Identity’

While I’m uploading ethno pdfs (= the new mp3s!), I may as well add another interesting, relevant article, Tom Turino’s account of how mbira ironically came to be ascendent in / representative of Zimbabwe:

Tom Turino, “Mbira, Worldbeat, and the International Imagination”

I mean, if you’re gonna invoke academic discourse about African music, I gotta represent for my field, knamean.

That’s me, a card-carrying ethnoid — at least until I’m not.