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World Music

Essay by review  •  November 18, 2010  •  Essay  •  1,414 Words (6 Pages)  •  622 Views

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While world music is a genre, musical exoticism can be classed as a process in which musicians freely interpret attributes of the music of non-western culture and targeting specifically at foreign audience. It is the direct perception of the western audience's view of non-western music tradition, not non-western perception of non-western exoticism, in other words not the true perception, only a concept.

As exotica is only an imitation, the authencity of the music is often questioned, the lack of any link between foreign cultural tradition (musically speaking) often results in guilt free consumption by the audience as stated by Phillip Hayward. (Hayward, 1999: 14)

As technology become more advanced in the recent years, the lines of authencity become more and more blurred because of wider acceptance of cross-cultural diasporic events happening throughout the world.

The use of samples became more and more available to the world, many people utilized it in a way that it almost is another genre of its own. Exotica exists in almost all type of genres because of this.

With the globalization effect, both the audiences and musicians are within reach of many non-western music through the use of internet, television and many other types of media. This also lead to many fusion with western and and non-music with use of traditional elements. This tendency is happening more and more recently.

While western music are creating exoticism by incorporating non-western cultural traditions, usually by either collaborations or using non-western musical instruments and elements of it, e.g.: Yanni, Enya, non-western musicians are also doing similar things, where non-western musicians try approach the western market by fusing their cultural traditions with western musical elements. This can be seen with recent groups like twelve girls band, a Chinese group of female musicians where by using traditional instruments incorporate modern (western) arrangements, created a form of exotica that is appealing to western mainstream audiences. Marketing themselves in the way so that it fits its targeted audiences which are the western mainstream listeners but still categorizing themselves in the world music genre.

It is not just this band uses the processes of exoticism to address to the world music market. In Papua New Guinea, with the announcement of independence in 1975, there has been a burst in the development of new idependent indiginence cultural groups who are enthusiastic about creating are reflecting in the new political change. These PNG contemporary style musicians were inspired by the energy and dynamism of newly independent culture. ( Crowdy, 1998: 13)

One of these bands is a student band called Sanguma, blending in traditional PNG chants and instrumental music with western rock and Jazz element, they created this contemporary PNG exotica style. Although unpopular within their locality, it was achieving success in the international world music market. The band has served as the aesthetic of PNG music style. Crowdy stated: " The bands can be seen to have acted

as cultural ambassadors promoting tourism and cross-cultural exchange." (Crowdy, 1998: 15)

Image also plays an important part to their success in the international stage. Their stage wear referred to as bilas, traditional style of clothing consisting of native head-dress and neckless and armbands from various cultures within the PNG community, which to the normal western audience will see it as just one PNG culture.

Even though they are more marketable internationally, they are having trouble to convince overseas (bigger) labels to market their musics because of their commitment of staying together as a group as members often have personal commitments inside PNG to attend to, they are bounded to one area.

There are strong stand points on both sides in terms of their creativity. On one hand, there is the idea of its preservation of tradition by using new means of conveying it, but on the other hand performing traditional music and mixing it with another culture questions its preservation of its original cultural meaning. Its originality has been lost and misled.

This two-sided perspective is occurring not only in PNG contemporary music, but also in Asian exotica as well. A well-known band, twelve girl band has made its controversial debut in the international world music market, by fusing traditional Chinese instrument with western arrangements. Many critics argue that they had no

originality in their music and that it is just normal western music but using another types of instruments to play it. They have also marketed themselves in a way to appeal foreigners.

In the Twelve girl band website, it described them as: " One dozen beautiful young women, all in their twenties, take the stage and stand before an array of exotic and ancient musical instruments." (http://www.twelvegirlsband.com/bio) Stressing on the image of oriental aesthetics of exoticism for the foreign audiences, and then it goes on the say:

The band's origin help explain this remarkable success. To begin with, twelve is an important figure in Chinese numerology. There are twelve months in a year, twelve jinchai (or golden hairpins, representing womanhood) in ancient Chinese mythology. (http://www.twelvegirlsband.com/bio)

Implying heavily on the mythology ancient Chinese culture. It stress lots more of the image of the band then the actual music itself. Obviously marketing to a foreign audience, creating a sense of mystery for them.

This kind of introduction

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