Abstracts

The Cultural Rights and Cultural Power of Integrated Minorities:
The Music of Chinese-Tibetan Han Hong

Nimrod Baranovitch

Han Hong is one of the most famous female singers today in China, who gained her popularity mainly because of her many songs about Tibet, which combine elements of mainstream modern Chinese culture with Tibetan traditional culture. The hybrid nature of Han Hong's music reflects her own life; she was born in Tibet to a Tibetan mother and a Han Chinese father, and when she was nine moved to Beijing, where she has lived ever since.

This paper will raise several related questions: Who and what does Han Hong represent and can she and her music be considered Tibetan? Why is she so popular in China and why, in sharp contrast to the Tibetan female singer Yungchen Lhamo, she has never gained any fame in the West. Finally, I will ask what does Han Hong's music and its popularity tell us about China today and about Tibetan people who live in China and their culture.

I will argue that Han Hong's music is a manifestation of a hybrid identity, which although greatly influenced by the dominant Chinese culture is still unique and Tibetan; that although she clearly serves the political interests of the Chinese state and the Han majority she nevertheless also serves the interests of many Tibetans living inside China. I will also propose that Han Hong has not been embraced by Western music lovers because she doesn't fit the romanticized spiritual image of Tibet and the ideological cause of Free Tibet that dominate Western attitude towards Tibet. Finally, I will suggest that serious attention should be paid to the hybrid culture that Tibetans (and other minorities) who have been integrated into Chinese culture create today inside China, and that we should acknowledge their right to preserve and/or reform their own traditional culture and express themselves in a way that makes sense for them in the context of their changing lives in China.


Composing for the Community or for Self?:
The Effect of Copyright Law on the Akan Traditional Composers

Eric O. Beeko

Ghana’s copyright law, embodied in the Copyright Act 1985, is aimed at protecting a wide range of works, including, but not limited to, literary works, artistic works, musical works, sound recordings and broadcasting. Being a modern-day act, and an offshoot of the human right instruments designed within the global system, this law fundamentally seeks to protect the rights of the individual to ownership. But as much as this act has been successfully tailored to meet individual needs, it does not seem to articulate the very culture into which it was implanted. This is because within the Ghanaian traditional milieu, concepts of rights over traditional music had evolved more around indigenous cultural rights, which often had a strong community or collective basis among the various cultures in Ghana. And although traditional songs were originally composed by individuals, they had evolved around the community, and once they were made they were considered to belong to the entire society. However, with the coming of the copyright laws, which apparently elevate individual rights over collective or communal rights, many traditional musicians are now in a dilemma to rethink about the ownership of their creative works. In this paper, by taking the Akan musicians as a case in point, I wish to examine the two apparently opposing concepts of rights—one defined under the tradition and the other under the global system, and the conflict associated with them. I wish to further discuss the effects those rights under the global system seem to have on the Akan traditional musicians and the need to articulate the cultural needs of the community in the global system so as to forestall the apparent attitudinal shift from communalism to individualism.


Cultural Rights and the Changing Marketplace:

New issues and challenges to local musicians, their local communities, and the international music industry presented by the new digital technologies

Jon Kertzer

We are in the midst of paradigm shift in the sales and distribution of music, as well as other digitally-enables intellectual property- such as movies, books, and photographs. Content formerly carefully controlled through libraries, collections and archives, and very selectively sold through physical means; can now be easily transformed into digital forms and moved worldwide through the newly created world wide web. This has tremendous implications at many levels’ for both the creators of these works, its consumers, and of course, to those commercial institutions whose business depends on the old systems of distribution, marketing, and sales.

My focus in this presentation is what this shift means for the songwriters and performers of traditional music in the developing world, as well as the social and business industry gatekeepers in these countries. Also, an important question is if the western music industry utilizes the technological advances to transform the inequitable old commercial system, with a new, fairer model. Through my recent work with Microsoft and its MSN music download service, as well as my previous Global Sound project at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, I will focus on the emerging realities of the new world of digital content, and the impact, both negative and positive, for the traditional music communities. This will include examples in countries including India, South Africa, and China- where these new online networks are bringing immense shifts in the musical landscape.


Individual and Group Rights in the South African Ensemble Ikusasa Lethu: Exploration, Definition, Contestation and Protection

Patricia Achieng Opondo

This paper will explore individual and group rights in the South African ensemble Ikusasa Lethu, which draws it’s membership from current and past students in the African Music and Dance Programme at the University of KwaZulu Natal in Durban, South Africa, and forms part of the Arts on Tour programme under the umbrella of the African Music Project.

The paper discusses the limitations of international legislations vis-à-vis folklore and indigenous performing arts in the African context. Much discussion around the issue of group rights in the ensemble is guided by both cultural codes and individual ethics, most of which is not a black and white issue, and at times results in some contestation. The ensemble draws its inspiration from South African indigenous music and dance, and adapts and choreographs the repertoire for staged productions and folklore festivals within Africa and in some countries in Europe.

Within Ikusasa Lethu each individual assumes a new group identity characterised by the communal nature with which the repertoire is developed in the ensemble. With increased success each year, the branding in the dress, repertoire, choreography and even ideology is established. The paper will explore group ownership of heritage within the ensemble and discuss the politics associated with access to South African indigenous cultural heritage, and unpack the aesthetic dimension of movement of cultural practices away from the context of communal living, borrowing and adaptation, to the institutional setting; to debate the code of ethics in a globalised context as the ensemble tours and explores and expands it’s frontiers to Pan African and European markets influenced by global flows and markets.

The ensemble being based in a tertiary institution context is guided by a preservationist agenda that underpins the African Music and Dance programme; and at the same time there is much exploration, extension and redefinition of indigenous performance genres that happens, as the ensemble under the artistic direction of an ethnomusicologist, prepares to participate in festivals and tours outside of South Africa, and since 2000 has achieved international success representing South Africa at a number of prestigious events, and as a result serves as a beacon for youth who opt for a career as performers in staged productions of indigenous music and dance.


Songs of our Native Selves

Jon Osorio

Music: mele; oli; and himeni and even contemporary music compositions have represented not merely creative expressions but a systematic and effective way of transmitting knowledge and memory between generations. For thousands of years our oral cultures have formalized and memorized our sensory data into songs that are passed down as sacred and reliable knowledge. Such details as chiefly genealogies, names and geographies of places, rituals to gods and temples have been presented in poetry that are intimately remembered and repeated over centuries. This presentation; a sequel to a graduate paper composed and delivered nearly 15 years ago, portrays not just the Kanaka maoli's relationship to the `aina (the land), but to a universe of ancestors, to language, to loss and change, and to identity and renewal.


Use and ownership of folk music in the People's Republic of China (PRC)

Helen Rees

Conventional Chinese socialist ideology attributes creation of folk music to the unnamed masses. Against this background and that of a planned economy that disallowed individual profit-making, it was the norm in the PRC through the 1970s for state song and dance troupes and composers to mine folk repertory for inspiration. Many popular propaganda songs from that era started life as folksongs, with no payment to the songs' originators.

Much has changed since the late 1970s with the introduction of a socialist market economy that encourages private profit, the influx of pop music and global culture, the institution in 1991 of the PRC's first copyright law, and the high profile of UNESCO's "masterpieces of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity" program. Some traditionally professional genres have regained their former economic viability as practitioners are once again permitted to make money from them. A few traditional musics previously dying out have achieved new viability through tourist performances; most notably, an ensemble of the Naxi minority in the southwest has brought huge economic benefits and name recognition to their previously impoverished region, and has inspired dozens of local children to learn the music. There have been several lawsuits and scandals over unauthorized use of traditional repertoire, and now there is a scramble to get individual genres nominated for UNESCO's program.

On the positive side, there seems to be new respect in some quarters for the unvarnished folk performance aesthetic that was previously considered backward and "unscientific," and greater tolerance for some traditional performance contexts; research on local musics has also become much easier. On the other hand, resentment of actual or perceived exploitation is also more common, and new performance contexts sometimes conflict with traditional values. These developments are so new that it is impossible at present to predict the final fallout.


Indigenous Musics in the Global Marketplace

Felicia Sandler

In the liner notes of his 1973 recording African Sanctus, David Fanshawe writes:

The raw material for this section I discovered quite by accident one moonlit night when I was riding my camel across the Mara mountains in West Sudan... On top of the mountain under a full moon I saw four men on a prayer mat. They were in a trance swaying backwards and forwards reciting the Koran in a strange mixture of local dialects and Arabic. I recorded them for half an hour and they never knew I had been there.

For many in the West, there is nothing in Fanshawe’s account that appears unusual or extraordinary except, perhaps, the adventure he describes. There are, however, serious issues embedded in this text, many being addressed today in forums regionally, nationally and internationally. Scientists, museums, archivists, scholars, artists, musicians, business and industry personnel working with materials made and cultivated by indigenous peoples are finding that their work is coming under scrutiny.

The issue of the misappropriation of indigenous peoples’ music by non-indigenous musicians is complex, especially when considered in tandem with the strides toward local, national and international protections. I will address the topic in two over-arching sections. (1) An exploration of the issues raised by indigenous delegates in these forums, including some musical case studies of some of the more pressing ones, (2) A discussion of some differences in values and world views across borders that make a consensus on propriety regarding music use difficult. This final section will include a select review of some strides being taken by indigenous peoples to acquire control over the representation and disposition of their cultural heritage, especially in the realm of copyright.


Singing the Subaltern's song

Zoe Sherinian

When does the practice of ethnomusicology become advocacy for cultural rights? My study of the music of Dalits in India (formerly so-called untouchables) examines their engagement in a struggle for full human rights. While music is an essential weapon of Dalit liberation, their fight is simultaneously for the cultural rights of their musical and social identity to be considered worthy of respect, not degraded as it has been for hundreds of years by most upper castes. This paper examines the Tamil Dalit Christian communities' relationship to the contemporary Dalit civil rights movement. I look particularly at the music of J.T. Appavoo (1940---), a Protestant Tamil Dalit composer/theologians who is leading a process of Christian liturgical reform that reclaims a positive village Dalit identity through embracing "degraded" village cultural elements and folk style and redirecting liturgy to the cultural/political perspective of Dalit villagers. I examine Appavoo's concepts of liberation and liberation theology in relation to caste, class and gender oppression and outline his neo-Marxist approach to social analysis that includes psychology, gender, the environment and spirituality. From this, I develop the foundation of my theory that people create liberation through musical relationships--something I call transcultural dialogical ethnography. Through musical and reception analysis I show how the transmission and re-performance of Appavoo's music by Dalit villagers raises the cultural and psychological self-esteem of the devalued oppressed, empowers consciousness through sensory impact in performance, and creates tangible social change (acquiring material benefits like water and electricity) through direct action. I also critically examine the alliance between Appavoo and myself as partners in an ethnomusicological duet of interpretation, political debate, shared values and an active attempt to create liberating change through music.


When Humpty Dumpty's Pieces are Out of Reach:

Cultural Rights, Indigneous Communities, and Access to Collected Resources

Amy Ku'uleialoha Stillman

My research on the history of so-called "modern" Hawaiian hula—the westernized form that emerged in the mid-19th century—has taken me on odysseys into libraries and archives across the United States, and allowed me to see many items not in Hawai'i repositories. With the advent of online auction sites such as eBay, yet more materials have come into view, eliminating the necessity of physically locating things in antique markets all over the country.

By drawing on my experience in archival research on hula, my paper will consider issues of cultural rights that relate to institutionalized resources for performance traditions. This is significant in the context of indigenous revitalization movements, born out of ethnic awareness movements of the 1960s and 1970s. Indigenous communities express renewed interest in strengthening performance traditions, and are doing so through the languages of disciplinary ethics, intellectual property law, copyright, and indigenous patrimony. Much attention has focused on dismantling the power imbalances within economies of knowledge production, as communities assert claims to speak for themselves, to seek repatriation of human remains and sacred paraphernalia now in museums worldwide, and to access information sources on cultural heritage for their own interests and purposes. The intense focus on objects, however, have overshadowed issues concerning other realms of cultural patrimony, chief among them the archived resources that relate to performance traditions. And herein lies the makings of tragedy: what kinds of understandings of a community's patrimony can be achieved if the pieces are scattered?

How, indeed, can fragments be recognized as such without a sense of the larger canvas that fragments come from?

Thus, what rights can indigenous communities such as Native Hawaiians assert in order to reunite with resources that have been scattered across the globe? What can be done to bring dispersed resources back into community hands—or view? What responsibilities do institutions have with respect to items of cultural patrimony in their care? What can scholars do to enhance access to the contents of archived resources? How might the aspirations of communities and scholars be articulated toward common outcomes? And what are the civic obligations of an engaged citizenry in triangulating indigenous communities, cultural patrimony, and the institutions that now stand in between?

My paper seeks to explore these issues and develop a conceptual framework for action, so that archived resources relating to performance traditions do not share Humpty Dumpty's unseemly fate.


Notions of Cultural Rights and Ownership:

the Philippines at the 1998 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Ricardo D. Trimillos

In the context of modern nation states, expressive culture has often been appropriated for the purposes of national identity or often conflated with it, be it a physical object such as the Cultural Center of the Philippines, or a song such as the late George Canseco’s “Ako ay Pilipino (I am Filipino),” composed in 1982 on commission from then First Lady Imelda Marcos. The nation with its bureaucratic apparatus often considers itself a principal steward of expressive culture within its borders, including concomitant rights. In the Philippines the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) is at present one such apparatus. The NCCA stewardship of minority communities in the Philippines, including lumad and Muslim populations, is notable in this regard.

In a time when “ethnic” is very much the mode, the question can arise as to the locus of either ownership or stewardship of cultural expressions: the nation, a region, a community, or a specific family. Differing notions of ownership and cultural property offer sites for confrontation or negotiation, especially when a cultural expression enters globalised or transnational spheres.

The paper considers these notions, using as case study the Philippines cultural delegation to the 1998 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Washington DC as a site for celebrating the centennial of Philippine independence from Spanish colonial rule carries its own set of ironies, of which cultural rights is one.


Striking a Balance between Cultural and Economic Developments:
Two Approaches

Danny Yung

Two initiatives on cultural policies in the global context were launched in recent years: the International Network of Cultural Diversity in 1999 and the World Cultural Forum Alliance in 2002. They were created and are being guided by the fundamental principle of a balance between cultural development and economic development. The paper will briefly introduce the history and framework of the two initiatives, and explain the principle which guides them.

 For more information, contact: Chris White cmw22@pitt.edu  
This conference is funded by a grant from the Ford Foundation  

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