Archive for the ‘Musical performance’ Category
From March 2 through March 5, Asian Improv aRts (AIR) and SF State’s World Music and Dance Program are holding a “collaborative presentation of public dialogue, workshops and performances exploring the intersection of traditionality and hybridity in the formation of community.” It is an interesting mix of events, culminating with “Sounding Asian Improv aRts (AIR),” the keynote session of the Annual Meeting of the Northern California Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology.
ImprovisAsians 2011! – The Art of Agency 3
March 2nd – 5th, 2011
San Francisco State University College of Creative Arts
All events are free and will take place at San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue
Wednesday, March 2nd
Diaspora Tales #2 – An interdisciplinary work featuring music by the Francis Wong Unit, spoken word by A.K. Black, dance by Lenora Lee and media design by Olivia Ting. “1969” reflects upon the Third World Strike at UC Berkeley and Wong’s family history from the period.
- The Northern California Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology – Call for Papers (popculturetransgressions.com)
Self promotion aside (although my chapter, “‘I need contact’ – rock ‘n’ roll ritual: Peter Gabriel’s Security tour, 1982–83” is quite good), this is an excellent collection on an influential figure in popular music. Out on Ashgate on December 23, 2010. From the publisher’s press release:
Ever since Peter Gabriel fronted progressive rock band Genesis, from the late 1960s until the mid 1970s, journalists and academics alike have noted the importance of Gabriel’s contribution to popular music. His influence became especially significant when he embarked on a solo career in the late 1970s. Gabriel secured his place in the annals of popular music history through his poignant recordings, innovative music videos, groundbreaking live performances, the establishment of WOMAD (the World of Music and Dance) and the Real World record label (as a forum for musicians from around the world to be heard, recorded and promoted) and for his political agenda (including links to a variety of political initiatives including the Artists Against Apartheid Project, Amnesty International and the Human Rights Now tour). In addition, Gabriel is known as a sensitive, articulate and critical performer whose music reflects an innate curiosity and deep intellectual commitment. This collection documents and critically explores the most central themes found in Gabriel’s work. These are divided into three important conceptual areas arising from Gabriel’s activity as a songwriter and recording artist, performer and activist: ‘Identity and Representation’, ‘Politics and Power’ and ‘Production and Performance’….
In 2002, I spent the year researching the emergence of an alternative music movement in Morocco. Made up of a collection of genres that lie on the periphery of mainstream culture — hip-hop, electronica, rock/metal, fusion — alternative music had yet to break through. 2002 was its year on the cusp. In 2003, it would make its move to center stage and, within a few years, hip-hop and fusion bands would become major players in Moroccan pop culture.
My dissertation, French Fries in the Tagine: Re-imagining Moroccan Popular Music (UCLA, Department of Ethnomusicology, 2006), which focused on fusion, examined this change in the musical playing field, how it happened and what it meant. I’m posting this link to share the work and ask for feedback. I’m currently writing a book on Moroccan alternative music that will hopefully bring this fascinating story to a wider audience.
All the best,
Jeffrey Callen, Ph.D.
Now for a little music:
Review: Traveling Spirit Masters: Moroccan Gnawa Trance and Music in the Global Marketplace, by Deborah Kapchan (Middle Eastern Studies Association Bulletin)
This review was published in the Winter 2008/2009 edition of the Middle Eastern Studies Association Bulletin
Traveling Spirit Masters: Moroccan Gnawa Trance and Music in the Global Marketplace, by Deborah Kapchan. 325 pages, 19 b/w illus., endnotes, bibliography, index. Middleton, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2007. $75.00 (unjacketed cloth) ISBN 0-8195-6851-1, $27.95 (paper) ISBN 0-8195-6852-X.
reviewed by Jeffrey Callen
The ritual practice of the Gnawa, a Moroccan Islamic order formed by descendants of slaves from sub-Saharan Africa, centers on the performance of healing rituals (lilat; sing. lila). During a lila, afflicted individuals enter into trance and communicate with and placate spirits that are causing disturbances of their physical or psychological well-being. Lilat and the experience of trance have been the predominant focus of scholarly attention on the Gnawa, most notably from Francophone scholars (most notably Viviana Pâcques and Bertrand Hell). Traveling Spirit Masters, the first English language book of scholarship on the Gnawa, extends that focus to examine the ways in which trance and the Gnawa themselves have become commodities in the international marketplace. In the “Introduction”, Kapchan asserts that Traveling Spirit Masters is not a book about the Gnawa but an exploration of the “power of trance, the way it circulates globally, and its relation to music and gendered subjectivity” (1). To fulfill the broad scope of this goal, the book is divided into two sections: “The Culture of Possession” (Chapters 1-5) and “Possessing Culture” (Chapters 6-11). The first section, set in Morocco, explores the ritual practice of the Gnawa with particular focus on the role and involvement of women, both as individuals who seek relief through trance, and as overseers of the rituals (mqaddemat, pl.). The second section, set in France and Morocco, examines the movement of the Gnawa and their musical practice into the global marketplace. (for the entire review click here)
From the back of the concert hall, the five-person ensemble, four dressed in simple black clothing and one in simple white, proceeds through the crowd, playing drums. As they reach the stage, the synthesizer takes up the same rhythm and the band members pick up their instruments and don headsets. The singer, dressed in white, re-appears from the back of the stage, his face, now clear in the stage lights, in stark black and blue make-up that recalls, to some, a shaman from some non-specified culture and, to others, the image from his latest video.
That’s the intro to ““I need contact” (from Performance and Popular Music), a piece I wrote in 2006 for inclusion as a chapter in Performance and Popular Music: History, Place and Time, edited by Ian Inglis, a pop music scholar at Northumbria University in Britain. The chapter analyzes Gabriel’s use of ritual in his live performances of material from the influential Security album and discusses the musical sources (and inspirations) Gabriel drew upon.It’s going to be reprinted in 2010 in Peter Gabriel: From Genesis to Growing Up (Michael Drewet, Sarah Hill & Kimi Kari, eds. – London: Ashgate Publishing) and I think it stands up pretty well. The use of ritual in secular popular culture, especially music, is a continuing interest of mine and a key element in my research on Moroccan alternative music. 2010.
- Album cover from Peter Gabriel Plays Live
Gabriel has continued create interesting and sometimes innovative pop music (and hits) but, for me, none of it has the creative spark of his ’80s work after leaving Genesis. The latest effort, the forthcoming Scratch My Back, is interesting in theory, featuring Gabriel covering a dozen songs written by other songwriters. The set list if intriguing but the instrumentation (an orchestra) plays into Gabriel’s worst musical instincts that haven’t had such free rein since his over-dramatic and sometimes treacly performances with Genesis on The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway and Selling England by the Pound. At least that’s my impression from hearing clips of the first three tracks — AND I hope I’m wrong. Check it out yourself at PeterGabriel.com.
““I need contact” (from Performance and Popular Music) — a nice piece I wrote in 2006 for Performance and Popular Music: History, Place and Time, (Ian Inglis, ed. – London: Ashgate Publishing). It’s going to be reprinted in Peter Gabriel: From Genesis to Growing Up (Michael Drewet, Sarah Hill & Kimi Kari, eds. – London: Ashgate Publishing) in 2010. The chapter analyzes Gabriel’s use of ritual in his live performances of material from the influential Security album and discusses the musical sources (and inspirations) Gabriel drew upon.
Gabriel has continued create innovative music (and hits) but, for me, none of it has the creative spark of his ’80s work after leaving Genesis. The latest effort, the forthcoming Scratch My Back, is interesting in theory, featuring Gabriel covering a dozen songs written by other songwriters. The set list if intriguing but the instrumentation (an orchestra) plays into Gabriel’s worst musical instincts that haven’t had such free rein since his over-dramatic and sometimes treacly performances with Genesis on The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway and Selling England by the Pound. At least that’s my impression from hearing clips of the first three tracks — AND I hope I’m wrong. Check it out yourself at PeterGabriel.com.