The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #18331   Message #183321
Posted By: Peter T.
23-Feb-00 - 09:54 AM
Thread Name: Is there a future for traditional music
Subject: RE: Is there a future for traditional music
Sourdough, the point I was making badly is that the general anthropologist's opinion about "native tribes" was that they were helpless victims. It turned out that while they were obviously in deep trouble, they had been able to find some ways of responding to the onslaught creatively, and retaining some fragments of their way of life deliberately. The bricolage metaphor -- basically bricolage means making works of art out of pieces of different kinds of junk -- seems to me to be appropriate. It is strengthening that capacity that seems to me to be the best strategy in what is not a happy overall situation.

Catspaw's note raises the question about whether "work songs" are the critical litmus test for some people's views on folk music or tradition. Obviously common work that gives rise to songs is a potent metaphor of community -- the spontaneous emergence of music from toil -- but, given that work of that kind is disappearing fast, if the definition is tied to that, then it is more or less finished. This is not just true in offices. From my (limited) field experience in South America, what I have seen (in well-off agribusinesses) is radios and the occasional prized walkman among peasant labourers -- just getting them through the long day, not work songs. But maybe other parts of the tradition come to the surface: such as the personal lament; or (the new/old tradition) the alienation from life song (called the blues). More rambling....
yours, Peter T.