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Print of Note #7


Subject Citation Contents
Asian points of view in international music activity Music and Communication; UNESCO International Music Congress, September 6-15, 1968, New York and Washington, D.C. Notes from panels on the categorization, relationships, and distribution of musics. For example:

TRAN VAN KHE replied to Mr. Danielou's question: "What can our musical language borrow from other musical cultures?" in a lengthy and highly pertinent explanation that included examples which he himself sang. The borrowing of material from another culture can have fruitful as well as negative results, as is evidenced by the musics of several Far Eastern civilizations, he said. In his own country of Vietnam, both Indian and Chinese elements have been absorbed, but Vietnamese music in a sense "straddles the two" and retains its own character and individuality. He warned, however against the imporation of colloquialisms and specific forms of syntax from another musical culture. Music, he pointed out, is a language, and the results of such hybridization can be ridiculous. (p.53)
[Hybridity is bad?!! My, how times have changed.]

Asian Americans and music in higher education Racial and Ethnic Directions in American Music; Report of the College Music Society, Committee on the Status of Minorities in the Profession (T.J. Anderson, Chairman). CMS Report No. 3, 1982. A short section on Asian Americans is written by Hiromi Lorraine Sakata, a University of Washington ethnomusicologist specializing in Afghani music. (Currently, she's a dean at UCLA.) After making some historical and social remarks, she makes some interesting (and, perhaps, somewhat contestable or dated) points:
Throughout the years of Americanization, individuals have kept in contact with the "old country." If instruments or performers were not available in the communities, recordings could easily be found to accompany dances and other performances.
  Perhaps for this reason, or for the more fundamental reason of resistance to acculturation, hybridized Asian-American musical forms, for the most part, have not evolved. While Asians readily learn and accept Western art forms, conceptually they manage to keep the forms separate. For many, this bi-musical ability seems a natural extension of their bilingualism.
  At a time when social consciousness is heightened, when people are encouraged to look to their past, when schools are recognizing ethnic minorities as an important part of America and are incorporating the study of their history and culture into curricula, Asian-Americans need only look to nearby Asian-American communities for a continuing awareness of their cultural heritage.
Cobi Narita, Sumi Tonooka Madame Jazz: contemporary women instrumentalists by Leslie Gourse. (1995). NY: Oxford U Press. The book profiles women in jazz from the late 70's to the early 90's. Not only does the author describe their careers, but also a bit about their personal lives. Not all the dozens of women she interviewed were musicians:
Cobi Narita invented a unique position for herself in the jazz world, when she founded a nonprofit educational group called the Universal Jazz Coalition in the late 1970s. It was her idea to help musicians manage their own business affairs when they lacked managers and bookers. Her premise grew so that she became a concert promoter and producer. And she hired well-known musicians to teach workshops for newcomers. She soon noticed that women were having even more difficulty than young, struggling men in jazz; so she founded a women's jazz festival in New York to give women a chance to play in public with a great deal of fanfare and catch media attention. (p.60)
karaoke In search of a voice; Karaoke and the construction of identity in Chinese America by Casey Man Kong Lum. (1996). Mahway, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.
Miya Masaoka, Eyvind Kang Arcana: musicians on music, edited by John Zorn. (2000). NY: Granary Books.
Miya Masaoka "Border Crossings" by Sam Prestianni, SF Weekly, July 26 - August 1, 2000, p.75 "Using everything from kotos to cockroaches, synthesizers to strippers, Miya Masaoka is redefining the musician's creative process..."
Kurtis Kato, One Voice, C-Quence, Pure Harmony "Asian Americans go on record: new label hopes to fill neglected ethnic niche", by Christine Louie, Oakland Tribune, 3 Jan 2001, p. A2 "The 24-year-old is the founder and president of Kamikaze Records, an independent record label that's helped promote aspiring singers' music through local and national air waves.
  He's firmly committed to his artists, which include alternative, pop and R&B Asian American groups..."
Yoshida Brothers "A whole lotta shamisen; cool, cute and culturally correct -- meet the Yoshidas", by Maria Cheng and Murakami Mutsuko, Asiaweek, 26 Jan 2001, p. 36-7 "Certainly no one had ever heard the shamisen played like a rock guitar until the Yoshidas came along. Nor had anyone witnessed such animated performances. 'Just like in jazz, we create our own story of sound by improvisation,' says Kenichi. 'Every day we challenge the possibilities.'"
The Birthday Machine, Kid Koala, Harry Hiro Aoki, Sook-Yin Lee Rice Paper, V 6.2 (2001) "They think like I'm Casey Kasem," Kid Koala says of some family friends. (by Doretta Lau)

"You're Sook-Yin Lee, right?"
I am immediately shot into a blinding heat of indignation. Of the six billion people inhabiting
the planet, I am mistaken for a two-dimensional, overrated television tart.

"Sook-Yin Lee?" The very utterance brings bile to my throat. (by Yen To)

Yat-Kha "Coming in from the cold", by Andy Morgan, Songlines, Winter 2000 / Spring 2001, p. 24-6 "Albert Kuvezin remembers the Kafka-esque rigamarole that a rock group had to endure to get a gig in Tuva in the mid 1980s. 'It was like an examination. We had to submit a list of songs with composers and lyricists to a jury of Communist party officials and maybe one musician who was, like, a teacher from college. Then we performed and they listened and made some notes.' On that occasion, Kuvezin and his long-haired pals from Kyzyl, the Tuvan capital, failed on 11 counts:
  1. They didn't stick to Communist ideology
  2. They didn't teach young people good ideas
  3. They brought influence from the West
  4. They had long hair (the limit was shoulder length)
  5. They were wearing jeans
  6. They didn't look nice
  7. They didn't have a female singer
  8. They didn't play enough waltzes
  9. They played too loud
  10. Their guitar strings looked spiky and disorganised
  11. They jumped around like animals

(Ah, no wonder the Soviet Union crumbled. It wasn't because of the efforts of Ronald Reagan. Rather, the Soviet state couldn't deal with rock!)

Cui Jian "Rock icon's new colors; Cui Jian struggles to shake his image as china's dissident musician -- through dance", by Maria Cheng (with reporting by Yulanda Chung), Asiaweek, 23 February 2001, pp. 52-3


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