BFE One-Day Conference 2020
University of Lincoln
Saturday 7 November, 9:30-17:00
Book Launch (BFE event - FREE - register here), 18:00-19:00
University of Lincoln
Saturday 7 November, 9:30-17:00
Book Launch (BFE event - FREE - register here), 18:00-19:00
- Music exchanges in times of crisis: The Ethno Movement, Grass-root international music exchanges creating contemporary cross-cultural traditions (Elise Gayraud)
- Covid-19 and research practice: From “face-to-face” encounters to on-line interactions (Sarah-Jane Gibson)
- Carnival, violence and solidarity in Cape Town, South Africa (Jonathan Gregory)
- ChorOnline - a Transnational Singing Project Fostering Applied Ethnomusicology (Lea Hagmann)
- An Historical Contextualisation of Music Making, Resourcefulness, and Audience Engagement during the Covid-19 Pandemic Response (December 2019 – August 2020) (Ellan A.Lincoln-Hyde)
- Creative Music Production in Lockdown: democratising the cultural process (Sara McGuinness)
- Trebling-Effect Livestreaming and the Canadian Performing Arts Sector (Laura Risk)
- No hay tanto pan: Neoliberalism, Austerity and Dissent in Silvia Pérez Cruz’s Protest Songwriting (Javier Rivas Rodríguez)
- Music as a tool of information dissemination in time of pandemic: a Nigerian example (Kadupe Sofola, Modupe Oluwadeyi, Pauline Adeolu-Abe)
- Music listening habits among Israeli youth during the Covid-19 lockdown edit (Tal Vaizman)
Music exchanges in times of crisis: The Ethno Movement, Grass-root international music exchanges creating contemporary cross-cultural traditions
Abstract: Challenging participants' perceptions of their own music as well as that of other cultures, Ethno usually holds frequent gatherings of young folk musicians from around the globe, who mutually teach their music for a week, then perform as a world music ensemble. Since 1990, it has drawn together several hundred young musicians from various countries. Many participants became professional folk musicians and integrate features of the musics learnt at Ethno in interpretations of their own traditional music and compositions, a long-lasting legacy of their participation. Nonetheless, when the digital sphere became the only communication channel, this grass-root network has shown remarkable resilience, adapting its teaching methods to the new medium, and maintaining conversations between past participants, emulating face-to-face encounters so primordial to the Ethno mission. Indeed, sharing and understanding foreign traditions is fundamental to Ethno’s ethos, as it provides an insight into different cultures. Thus, the newly centralised Ethno office in Brussels initiated two programmes during the pandemic: the first one, based on the expected musical outcomes of the project, offered forty free online workshops with Ethno alumni, the second one, through live interviews of Ethno participants and leaders, emphasised the cultural exchanges taking place within the usual Ethno camps. These initiatives have nonetheless highlighted crucial shortcomings and limitations of the Ethno endeavours: Relying on word-of-mouth to expand the network and on travel and adventure to entice young participants to join, the live broadcasts reached a very limited audience. Severely limited interactions with other participants, both verbally and musically, seem to have discouraged many from tuning into the online workshops more than once or twice. Examining these initiatives and their outcomes provides an important insight into the opportunities and limitations brought by the use of the Internet as the exclusive communication means for international grass-root initiatives.
Covid-19 and research practice: From “face-to-face” encounters to on-line interactions.
Dr Sarah-Jane Gibson, York St John
The 2020 Covid-19 crisis brought international travel to a stand-still. As part of a three-year research project investigating Ethno World music camps, the impact of the border closures resonated deeply, as, one by one, the musical gatherings that we were to conduct fieldwork at were cancelled. This impact resulted in a need for the research team to re-design their entire methodological approach in a matter of weeks. More palpably, we were also observing the organisers and musicians engaged in the organisation scrambling to resolve the social and financial implications of the cancellation of these events.
In the midst of adjusting to interacting through on-line social platforms, Ethno-World devised the “Hope Sessions”, live on-line music teaching sessions where music facilitators from the camps presented music lessons. Sessions were live-streamed on Facebook with an initial aim of providing “hope and good feelings” as so many people within the Ethno social network were grappling with the impact of Covid-19 restrictions.
This paper reflects on the shift in conceptualisation of the fieldwork space from “face-to-face” encounters to on-line sessions. In particular, there will be a reflection on the impact of data gathering when formal on-line interviews replace informal discussions and participant observations that usually occur during on-site research. Research findings are based on the on-line ethnographic fieldwork of the “Hope Sessions” conducted between March and June 2020. This research is part of Ethno Research, a three-year international project seeking to explore the hypothesis that Ethno-World provides transformational socio-cultural and musical significances for those that engage in its activities.
Carnival, violence and solidarity in Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town has one of the highest murder rates in the world with rising inequalities over the post-apartheid period, suppressing the Black majority from participating in the city’s social and economic mainstream. In this paper, I examine the role of local music communities, historically trapped by conditions of ambivalence and marginality, in helping to compensate deficiencies of the state and mitigate problems of urban violence by extending their field of social action. In particular, I draw on the Kaapse Klopse carnival, a resilient cultural expression associated with a subset of South Africa’s Black population, to reflect on solidarity and coping strategies employed by the urban poor to offset stereotypes and images of criminality and mobilise the civil society, regulating antisocial behaviour and providing cheaper substitutes for mainstream entertainment. The tradition dates back to colonial slavery when Cape slaves were given a day off on 2 January. Since the beginning of the twentieth century, carnival troupes also gather in football stadiums to compete for trophies, social status, bragging rights and financial rewards. I conclude by arguing that competitions provide opportunities to overcome frustration and the costly existence of modernity, allowing participants to enact success and self-glorification largely denied in the larger society, thus fulfilling important human needs outside divisions that characterise menial labour, unemployment and the national political agenda.
ChorOnline - a Transnational Singing Project Fostering Applied Ethnomusicology
Dr Lea Hagmann, University of Bern, Switzerland
When the Covid-19 pandemic caused a complete lock-down in Switzerland in mid-March 2020, making gatherings impossible, the Swiss choir conductor Franziska Welti decided to transform the weekly choir practices of both her choirs in Winterthur and Berlin into a virtual choir practice by using the videoconference tool Zoom. What started as relatively ordinary online-rehearsals, soon took on a life of its own. The repertoire of Welti’s choirs consists in arrangements of traditional songs from various cultures. Therefore, Welti soon invited her friend, the Georgian choir conductor Tamar Buadze, to one of these virtual choir practices to teach traditional Georgian polyphonic songs. Even though members had to be muted during the practice to prevent microphones interfering with each other, singing in two voices became possible for everyone. When Buadze spontaneously called in her son from the room next door to sing the bass line, choir members had the experience of singing in three voices.
Shortly after this experiment’s first success, Franziska Welti asked me to join her in expanding the project further. We started co-organising online singing workshops twice a week and invited traditional singers of various cultures as our workshop leaders. This proved beneficial for both the participants as well as the singing teachers (Armenia, Ukraine, Macedonia, Italy etc.). Our decision to base our project ChorOnline entirely on participants’ donations meant that people from more than 10 European and even Asian countries were able to take part in the sessions, independently of their economic situations. At the same time, our workshop leaders learnt how to use videoconference tools as an alternative for teaching, while at the same time they had the opportunity to make an income. This proved especially important for teachers living in countries that did and still do not offer any financial support for artists during this crisis.
An Historical Contextualisation of Music Making, Resourcefulness, and Audience Engagement during the Covid-19 Pandemic Response (December 2019 – August 2020)
Ellan A. Lincoln-Hyde, SOAS, UoL
Music and associated performance media have been described by traditional and social media as the ‘saviour’, ‘lifesaver’ and ‘inspiration’ for many living in regions ‘locked down’ as a result of Covid-19 response measures. This is not the first time in the last 50-100 years that performing artists and their work have received such praise in times of conflict or crisis. This presentation shall present the current role of musicians in the global pandemic in the historical context of two other, major eras of mass upheaval: China in the 1930s/40s and WWII in Europe. Despite the obvious difference in audience participation and proximity to performers, these case studies shall highlight historical ‘solutions’ to limited and/or altered performance contexts and production techniques. Examples of genre innovation and resourcefulness from China in the 1930s and ‘40s, will be compared with contemporary examples of musical production as they have emerged online and in person since December 2019. In WWII Europe, opportunities for ‘non-mainstream’ performers emerged, in the form of troop tours for Allied forces especially. Moreover, a broader range of genres and performance were made available and accessible to far more diverse audiences. Similarly, this case study shall also be analysed through the lens of the ‘Covid Era’ arts production and proliferation as it continues at the present time. In combination, these case studies shall offer historical solutions and possible lessons for individual performers and musical institutions seeking to ‘survive’ the current pandemic artistically speaking.
Creative Music Production in Lockdown: democratising the cultural process
Dr Sara McGuinness, University of West London
This paper reflects on how the Covid-19 crisis has impacted a multi-cultural group of musicians in London, and actions we have taken in order to survive. Many of these musicians are first generation in the UK with no access to benefits or Governmental support and lockdown saw their income plummet to zero overnight. We wanted to create a project which would provide income and activity for the musicians during lockdown, with long term benefits. Thanks to the Arts Council Emergency Response Fund, we were able to design a project which allows us to create and record new music in isolation.
One of the challenges in recording and producing musical content remotely is the problematising of audio quality control as traditionally envisioned by a single, overseeing record producer. Therein, however, also lie profound educational, creative and cultural-exchange opportunities. By disseminating creative control to the musicians as recordists, makers become co-producers, assuming a shared sonic vision defining engineering decisions. Importantly, the paradigm of assuming creative collaboration in enforced isolation empowers a team, traditionally negotiating technoartistic decisions in a studio environment, to maximise digital communication, online collaboration and cutting-edge recording technologies leveraging a digital DIY workflow. Furthermore, the dynamic of the sonic-musical dialectic becomes multi-directional: not only are musicians guided by producer and project leader in their negotiation of effective engineering workflows – rather, the discursive approach collectively defines the ideal sonic conditions leading to the capture of unique expressive performance ephemera.
The ramifications extend beyond the current period defined by the pandemic, and the challenge becomes redefined as the collaborative pursuit of uncompromised sonic vision facilitating audio-cultural priorities whilst avoiding digital alienation.This dismantling of the power structure empowers the creative team, breaking down historic divisions between producer and artist, allowing us to test new paths and democratise the cultural process.
Trebling-Effect Livestreaming and the Canadian Performing Arts Sector
Laura Risk, University of Toronto Scarborough
As Canadian musicians, audiences, and promoters moved online en masse in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, livestreams and video simulacrums of ensemble music-making became the norm. This trend was soon codified, as both national and provincial arts funding agencies called for artists and presenters to pivot towards digital media. In this paper, I explore what I term “trebling-effect” music livestreams, wherein a musical event occurs in (at least) three simultaneous spaces: the physical location of the performer(s), the physical location of the listener, and a virtual “third place” (Hamilton et al. 2014; Oldenburg 1999) in which listeners may meet and, through playful and often mundane conversation, form and maintain community. Following Auslander (2012), who argues for digital liveness as a “claim” made on audience members, and Drott (2019), who argues that audio streaming platforms such as Spotify do not sell music per se, but rather “the right to enter a digital enclosure” in which users “regulate” their moods and social interactions through music (175), I interrogate both the claims to liveness made by pandemic-era online performances and the ways in which viewers have used livestreams to regulate individual mental states and group social life following the pandemic. I also consider the affective labour required of performers to generate a sense of human connection via livestream. I conclude with a case study of the #CanadaPerforms livestreaming series, a public-private collaboration between the National Arts Centre and Facebook Canada, originally conceived as a performer relief fund but now rebranded as a pan-Canadian digital stage. This paper draws on an ongoing series of conversations with performers, arts presenters, and other cultural workers about the impact of the pandemic on their creative practices, organizational structures, and livelihoods, including an interview with representatives of Facebook Canada and the National Arts Centre.
Keywords: livestream, pandemic, Canada, liveness, digital performance
No hay tanto pan: Neoliberalism, Austerity and Dissent in Silvia Pérez Cruz’s Protest Songwriting.
Javier Rivas Rodríguez, Department of Music, King’s College London
The past decade stands as a moment of transformation in Spain and the wider Mediterranean region. The dissolving of the social welfare state and aggressive practices of economic liberalization, as well as the Eurozone austerity measures, have crystallized in 2011 with the 15-M movement, a grassroots movement that took aim at governmental corruption and neoliberal policies. Music and musicians have been at the centre of this struggle, often articulating the demands of the streets in the stage. In this paper, I will examine the case of the Catalan singer-songwriter Silvia Pérez Cruz, perhaps the most prominent Iberian folk music artist today, who throughout the past decade has routinely shown opposition to austerity and neoliberal values in her music and her public persona. Although Cruz has often aimed for an implicit and affective approach to social change – in her words, an “emotional revolution” – I will consider in this paper a song that explicitly tackles the inequalities of contemporary Spanish society: No hay tanto pan. The title – “There is not enough bread” – is polysemic and alludes to both the hunger crisis of the precariat and a 15-M demonstration slogan: “There is not enough bread for so much chorizo” – a colloquial way of calling someone thief and corrupt. I will argue that Cruz’s No hay tanto pan draws on cultural bricolage, in Lévi-Straussian terms, rearticulating the discourse of the 15-M street protests in a song. By considering Cruz’s performance style, choice of language, lyrics and venues, I aim to trace the sonic and performative responses to a decisive moment of economic, social and political crisis in contemporary Spain.
Keywords: 15-M; protest song; austerity; financial crisis; Spain; Catalonia.
Music as a tool of information dissemination in time of pandemic: a Nigerian example.
Kadupe Sofola, Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan.
Modupe Oluwadeyi, Department of Creative Arts, University of Lagos, Nigeria. Paulina Adeolu-Abe, Department of Music, Federal College of Education, Abeokuta
Since the outbreak of corona virus (COVID-19) pandemic, health organizations and authorities of the world have approached the pandemic in various ways, since there has not been a precise cure for the virus. These approaches include the use of the media, entertainment and various publications to create awareness on the virus, with focus on how its spread can be prevented. In Nigeria, several musicians have used music to address issues on the corona virus pandemic in order to curb its spread. This paper therefore investigates the use of music in information dissemination in the fight against the corona virus pandemic in Nigeria. Utilizing random sampling technique, it looks into textual analysis of three selected covid-19 awareness songs. It is also concerned with the use of local dialects in the selected songs to pass information, as well as the use of indigenous musical elements which communicates directly to the mind of indigenous listeners, and affirms music as a reliable tool of communication. Finally, from the research, sufficient guidelines are provided on effective use of music in time of pandemic such as COVID -19.
Music listening habits among Israeli youth during the Covid-19 lockdown
Tal Vaizman, Department of Music, School of Arts, University of Haifa
Music listening is an important part of youths’ leisure activities. It accompanies sports, crafts, commuting, conversation, chores and homework, and sheer listening passes the time by itself. Yet Covid-19 lockdowns all over the world have changed daily time organization and habits. As part of my wider PhD research probing the listening habits of Israeli youth, 37 Israeli teenagers (14-18) from the Sharon region were interviewed immediately post-lockdown, and were asked about the effect of "Covid-19 time" on their listening habits, especially on the ways and degree to which they were exposed to new materials, and on the quantity of music that they consumed.
Being teenagers from a vast rural area, losing school transport meant losing time for private "meditational" listening, as well as mutual music consumption at school with friends. For some, the reduction of their peer-time meant less exposure to new music. For others, spending extended time with their family meant the exact opposite. For many, it meant creating new habits and incorporating music in different ways into their lives. The purpose of music listening was not the same for everyone, neither was the drive to engage with new materials. Some saw listening to music as a way to calm themselves during a stressful time. Others saw themselves as receiving the gift of time, allowing them to explore new genres and albums, and to converse and expose themselves to music via social media. Some got bored with what they consumed and were "forced" to actively find new materials. My preliminary results suggest that being active searchers during the lockdown and consulting people and/or streaming software, exposed teens to a wider range of music, while being a passive consumer, depending on exposure on social occasions or during daily life, diminished music consumption.