Session/Séance 1a: CSTM Panel 1. Thursday/jeudi 25 May 2017. 10:30 am – 12:00 pm, EJB 120.
Perspectives on Song as Pedagogy and Praxis
Chair: KALEY MASON (Lewis & Clark College)
Like many ethnomusicologists working in the North American academy, I teach courses in “world music” to undergraduate students. Most of my students are unilingual Anglo-Canadians, who are frequently asked to listen to sung texts that are unintelligible to them. Like most world music pedagogues, I provide students with glosses on the general meanings of a vocal performance and text translations whenever possible. Still, I have often wondered how students make meaning out of incomprehensible semantic materials. To this end, I examined the responses of three former students to songs sung in Hawaiian and Armenian. In this paper, I address three questions: How does sung language that is beyond denotative grasp, emerge in the experience of listeners, moment by moment? How are listeners’ multiple sensory modalities engaged in the process of constituting language sounds in experience? And how do listeners’ general disposition toward lyrics – their language ideologies – shape their listening practices?
Speaking French in Nova Scotia is perceived as a political gesture. After a long history of assimilation into the province’s dominant anglophone community, French-speaking Acadians in Nova Scotia are pressured to assimilate further by abandoning their regional Acadian accents and adopting Standard French. This paper discusses two waves of Acadian music revival in Nova Scotia’s Baie-Sainte-Marie, and how Acadians singing in both Standard French and Acadian French can be interpreted as a form of resistance from cultural assimilation. Whereas the 1990s saw groups like Grand Dérangement sing in Standard French to resist assimilation into the anglophone majority, contemporary groups like Radio Radio and Cy currently sing in Acadian French as a way of resisting assimilation into the Standard French community.
Nearly forty years after her death, the famous Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum is still loved by many. The older generation of Iranians still remember Umm Kulthum and compare her with respected Iranian singers. These comparisons are not simply about her music but have to do with her political views and ethical values. I focus on the position of a legendary non-Iranian female musician in Iranian society to better understand the double standards that affect the life and reputation of female musicians. I attempt to answer the following questions: What socio-cultural and spiritual meanings do Iranians assign to Umm Kulthum’s artistic character? How do these meanings reflect the challenges female musicians face in male-dominated societies? I also study the historical and cultural factors contributing to the iconic role of Umm Kulthum in Iranian society and highlight the restrictions around the participation of female musicians in the cultural scene of Iran.