As part of the workshop STEREOTYPING, DOMESTICATING ANDINVENTING POPULAR MUSICS IN/OF ASIA, a talk called:
“Stereotypes that Are Knocked Down just Get Up again: Music and Repetition in World War Three”
Stereotypes are nasty. Despite critique of the often evident simplifications involved, knocking them down can tend to reinforce them. This has been the case with the controversy, somewhat contrived, that surrounds Sri Lankan rapper Maya Arulpragasam’s recent Romain Gavras-made video promo for her track ‘Born Free’, from the new MIA album /\/\/\Y/\. Consideration of transliteration and repetitions in music – from Edgar Varese’s (mis)understanding of Hinduism, through Adorno and Twelve Tone, the work of Zappa, South Asian Hip Hop, up to Slavoj Žižek’s appreciation of Freudian witticisms – can set the political context of the track in relief. In the video the reference is to immigration crack-downs in the USA; on the album the association is with Sri Lankan army execution of Tamils. Can we think music (musicology, hip hop scholarship, pop) without addressing a wider syncopation? The predicament of Samina Malik, the UK’s ‘lyrical terrorist’, arrested in 2007, will also be noted.
9.30am Friday August 6th 2010
Karl Jaspers Centre, Conference Room 212
Voßstr. 2, Building 4400, 69115 Heidelberg
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