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the world of music 40, 1998-2

Old Instruments in New Contexts:
Case Studies of Innovation and Appropriation

Guest Editor: Karl Neuenfeldt

ISBN 3-86135-709-7





Karl Neuenfeldt
Notes on Old Instruments in New Contexts

Raymond Ammann
How Kanak is Kaneka Music? The Use of Traditional Percussion Instruments in the Modern Music of the Melanesians in New Caledonia

Karl Neuenfeldt
Good Vibrations? The "Curious" Cases of the Didjeridu in Spectacle and Therapy in Australia

Don Niles
The Conchshell Band as Preserver of German and Papua New Guinean Lutheran Traditions

Toru Seyama
The Re-contextualisation of the Shakuhachi (Syakuhati) and its Music From Traditional / Classical Into Modern / Popular

Thomas Turino
The Mbira, Worldbeat, and the International Imagination

Book Reviews (Jonathan Stock)

Martin Clayton
International Index to Music Periodicals, Chadwyck-Healey

Barry McDonald
Fiddling for Norway: Revival and Identity, Chris Goertzen

Gregory D. Booth
Indian Music and the West, Gerry Farrell

Susanne Ziegler
Volksmusikinstrumente und instrumentale Volksmusik in Rußland, Ulrich Morgenstern

Max Peter Baumann
'Vom tönenden Wirbel menschlichen Tuns' - Erich M. von Hornbostel als Gestaltpsychologe, Archivar und Musikwissenschaftler, Sebastian Klotz, ed.

Publications Received 

CD and Video Reviews (Janet Sturman)

Donald Francis Addison
Rhythm of Life, Songs of Wisdom: Akan Music From Ghana, West Africa, Roger Vetter

Ursula Reinhard
Albanie. Polyphonies Vocales du Pays Lab, Ensemble vocal de Gjirokaster

Max Peter Baumann
The Music of Islam, CD series produced by David Parson

CDs: Briefly Mentioned

Max Peter Baumann
'Als Susi noch ein Baby war...' - Kindereigene Klatschspiele, Gesangsspiele und Tänze. Video films by Helmut Segler and Dore Kleindienst-André


Jonathan Stock
The British Forum for Ethnomusicology

About the Authors



How Kanak is Kaneka Music? The Use of Traditional Percussion Instruments in the Modern Music of the Melanesians in New Caledonia
Raymond Ammann

Kaneka is the contemporary and highly popular music of the young Melanesians in New Caledonia. The musicians say kaneka is the sound of their ancestors; their grandfathers on the other hand say there are not enough traditional elements in kaneka. Most of the traditional music of New Caledonia has been forgotten, and there is only a limited number of musical expressions from which the young musicians can take their ideas. The most evident link between kaneka and their grandfathers' music is the use of traditional percussion instruments. However, how percussion instruments accompany traditional singing and how they accompany kaneka music can show important differences. Perhaps the typical Melanesian element in kaneka lies not in the music itself but in the way the musicians treat kaneka as a cultural and political movement.

Good Vibrations? The "Curious” Cases of the Didjeridu in Spectacle and Therapy in Australia
Karl Neuenfeldt

The didjeridu dates back at least fifteen hundred years before present in northern Australia. In the last several decades, however, it has come to be used globally and nationally in contexts falling outside the parameters of local, "traditional” Aboriginal musical, socio-cultural, and spiritual practice. The contexts chosen for examination here are spectacle and therapy. I argue that Feld's formulation of a process of "schizophonia to schismogenesis” for how sounds can become distorted when split from their source can also be applied to musical instruments. What is of general interest is the interplay of the curious and the common in the rebirth, refashioning and recontextualisation of a particular musical instrument (or any musical instrument for that matter) which not only helps make music but also helps socially construct and culturally produce meaning and value for those who play it, make it and hear it. What is of a more specific interest is how didjeriduists are using the instrument in ways unforeseen even a decade ago. The didjeridu's trajectory as an instrument, icon and industry is both reflected in and shaped by indeterminant cultural appropriations which operate globally and are enacted primarily by non-Aboriginal people.

The Conchshell Band As Preserver of German and Papua New Guinean Lutheran Traditions
Don Niles

Missionaries entering Papua New Guinea at the end of the nineteenth century expected their congregations to learn to sing European hymns properly. However, the results were often less than desired. German Lutherans greatly improved such singing through the innovative use of a traditional instrument, the conchshell trumpet, in ensemble. Today, amidst a phenomenal transformation to a hymnody based on Papua New Guinea music, the conchshell band preserves German Lutheran hymnody.

The Re-contextualisation of the Shakuhachi (Syakuhati) and Its Music from Traditional/Classical into Modern/Popular
Toru Seyama

The shakuhachi, a Japanese five-holed vertical bamboo flute, is today not only used in the traditional Japanese music but also featured in various genres of music such as jazz, pop, and rock. Despite the simplicity of the instrument, the shakuhachi can create a rich and complex variety of sounds. It has also a unique historical background in which still exist many unsolved mysteries such as its origin, some religious legends, the lineages of transmission, and the process of dissemination/ transformation. Having experienced drastic changes in the society since the Meiji Restoration more than 120 years ago, the Japanese are greatly influenced by the West and have modernised throughout the course of history. Although there are people who preserve generations-old traditions, most contemporary shakuhachi performers consider themselves to be free and not confined to restricted repertoires. With the cultural heritage on one hand and the infinite future on the other, the shakuhachi and the performers of the shakuhachi are in a stage of "re-contextualisation”. They are moving from traditional/classical into modern/popular, in search of the shakuhachi for tomorrow.

The Mbira, Worldbeat, and the International Imagination
Thomas Turino

This paper addresses the processes by which a localised indigenous African tradition, the mbira, rose to prominence at the national level in Zimbabwe after the 1960s and became relatively widely diffused throughout the world after the 1970s. It is suggested that this instrument's fit with the mass media and cosmopolitan aesthetics, along with nationalism, were key to the mbira's transformation from a localist to a world tradition.



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