Saving ethnic musics?

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malc laney
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Saving ethnic musics?

Post by malc laney » Sun Oct 18, 2015 8:14 am

I read an article in yesterdays Guardian about many hundred year old plus musics being under risk , being under threat from all the other stuff available.
i have played with an oud player , and enjoyed it , but can these musics be put in a museum?

simonm
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Re: Saving ethnic musics?

Post by simonm » Sun Oct 18, 2015 10:44 am

Ethnic music like languages with very small numbers of speakers is a thing of the past. Any that are not dead will be gone shortly. The first assault was the recording industry, radio, TV and the advent of amplifiers. The second was/is the concentration of ownership of distribution of recorded music. The third is the absolutely ubiquity of personal listening devices such as smart phones. Few people in the western world aged 40 or under play any instrument or take part in any kind of social activity involving creating music. We are all passive consumers of industry production.

I do not know how many active participants we need to have to keep a music alive but most active music participants in music today at some point have dreams of "hitting the bigtime".

There is the additional question as what constitutes an "ethnic" music. Music of all kinds evolves over time. The worrying feature in the evolution of ethnic music is that it becomes homogenized out of existence. Looking at "Irish traditional" music the typical instruments used over the last 50 years are in the main introductions of the last 300 years: violins, "uillean pipes", mandolin, banjo and modern flutes are all relatively recent inventions or developments. The "Irish Bazouki" is quite a strange concept and even that has changed immensely since it was introduced about 40-50 years ago. How old lilting/diddling is, is an open question but in any case it has become pretty much extinct in the music scene.

Ethnic music: R.I.P

CathyCate
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Re: Saving ethnic musics?

Post by CathyCate » Sun Oct 18, 2015 1:20 pm

As players of a portable instrument with access to portable recorder and player devices, perhaps we can help a bit by doing our best to make music a part of the daily fabric of life.

Concerts and recitals are great, but there are many other settings where music is appropriate and adds to the spirit of an occasion: Weddings, wakes, funerals, camping trips etc. Many social events tend to be intergenerational, so it makes for a great opportunity to introduce youngsters to live music. At the same time everyone can take in some of the tunes, lyrics or oral history the elders may have to offer.

Admittedly, much older music may already be lost and gone forever, but people can take action and provide support, financial and otherwise, to save what we can.

Are there some forum members currently at work on this or familiar with such projects? It will be great to hear about existing efforts.

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bear
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Re: Saving ethnic musics?

Post by bear » Sun Oct 18, 2015 3:29 pm

The American Library of Congress has a collection of ethnic music, old jazz, blues, gospel etc.. It is far from complete but an interesting resource.

http://www.loc.gov/jukebox/
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dory
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Re: Saving ethnic musics?

Post by dory » Mon Oct 19, 2015 3:27 am

I don't think all ethnic music is disappearing, although I would agree that all particularities of culture are tending to disappear in the face of increasingly homogeneous global culture. I also agree that people are experiencing and participating in less live music now than at some times in the past. I am old enough to remember times when someone would take out a guitar at parties (usually but not always a steel string) and people would sing together. I think that happens MUCH less now, although some of us old fogies sometimes get together and sing traditional Colombian songs-- with other old fogies. However, there are some ways in which ethnic music has been thriving. Forgive me because I am most familiar with Latin America. A lot of older Caribbean rythms and melodies are incorporated into even commercial Salsa and Cuban Son. Andean music was virtually unknown or at least looked down on outside of indigenous comunities. Its popularity peaked in the 1980s and early 90s, but I think even today most people recognize the sound of a quena, a bombo, etc, and there are still some groups of musicians from Quechua speaking indigenous cultures travelling internationally, although, sadly many fewer than 20 years ago. In Colombia, and I presume Venezuela, because there is a lot in common between the music in the two countries, there are still a lot of young people playing traditional instruments like the bandola, the cuatro and the requinto. The interesting thing to me is that this type of music was traditionally male, but among the young players a great many are female. There are things like bandola orchestras which are more than 1/2 young women. I would love to hear about traditionsl music revivals in other areas of the world. Threatened? Yes. Dead? Not yet, I think.
Dory

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Re: Saving ethnic musics?

Post by simonm » Mon Oct 19, 2015 9:36 am

dory wrote:... I also agree that people are experiencing and participating in less live music now than at some times in the past ...
This is the key. People singing together happens rarely in the places I have lived. I don't hear anyone whistling a tune more than once a year if that. But almost everyone on public transport is wearing earbuds and in their own little world. Sometimes they have their music so loud that you can listen comfortable if sitting near them.

In Germany a further nail in the coffin: recently Kindergartens have been chased by the local performing rights company for licenses if the kids sing. I don't know the outcome but even the thought of it is repellant. Do I have to apply for a license if I want to sing in the shower?

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Re: Saving ethnic musics?

Post by dory » Mon Oct 19, 2015 7:08 pm

Truly horrifying Simon!
Dory

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Re: Saving ethnic musics?

Post by MessyTendon » Mon Oct 19, 2015 11:46 pm

Popular culture has inhibited an open mind to the world of music outside of their own comfort zone. But I think cyberspace and modern communications have made great advances in preserving old music.

One can search for it and find it. However finding performing artists is merely a big act of chance. Sometimes it's right under our noses, other times we have to seek it out.

I don't go chasing ethnic music, usually it finds me. If I challenge myself to apply myself to go to concerts of unfamiliar music, I am greatly rewarded.

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Les Montanjees
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Re: Saving ethnic musics?

Post by Les Montanjees » Tue Oct 20, 2015 4:14 am

Much depends on what you mean by "ethnic" music. If you mean simply music played by other cultures, there's still plenty around, even if the tunes might be played on modern instruments. To many people "ethnic" music is thought of as some static genre existing in museum archive recordings along with black and white photos of semi-naked tribal musicians playing bush instruments. That type of ethnicity probably is under threat. (These days you can probably go deep into the Amazon and find an indigenous person listening to heavy metal on an iphone).

Nevertheless, there is still a rich vein of traditional styles of music being played all over the globe. It's just dressed differently. Musicians from Senegal, Mali, Bekina-Faso, Morocco, the Middle East, Asia, wherever, have been pumping out CDs of traditional music in modern guise by the truckload. Some call it World Music and you can hear it live in WOMAD festivals all over the world. (I used to run a radio show featuring World music). I think it could be said that ethnic music, however you want to define it, is evolving rather than dying or remaining static. The tunes and lyrics are still around and the cultural essence is still present but the arrangements are different, as befits many cultures that are emerging into the modern world.

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AndreiKrylov
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Re: Saving ethnic musics?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Tue Oct 20, 2015 2:51 pm

simonm wrote:
dory wrote:... I also agree that people are experiencing and participating in less live music now than at some times in the past ...
This is the key. People singing together happens rarely in the places I have lived. I don't hear anyone whistling a tune more than once a year if that. But almost everyone on public transport is wearing earbuds and in their own little world. Sometimes they have their music so loud that you can listen comfortable if sitting near them.

In Germany a further nail in the coffin: recently Kindergartens have been chased by the local performing rights company for licenses if the kids sing. I don't know the outcome but even the thought of it is repellant. Do I have to apply for a license if I want to sing in the shower?
Oh great! That is the key how to save ethnic music!
It has no copyright by definition! It is folk music therefore no license required! Therefore those kindergartens have to start use FOLK MUSIC ONLY! :)
In general - if music is recorded then it is saved.
Performance is secondary thing... and if there is a demand for it - it would be always possible to relearn for performance.
Recording would be complete if not only music would be recorded but techniques of playing and construction of instruments too.
But certainly music exist in the totality of the culture and to recreate it completely one have to live in it, and this would be impossible and cultures will disappear very fast.
Therefore it has to be recorded now if it is still exist.
I'd better speak by music...Please listen my guitar at Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, etc.

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