Abstracts and Papers

2nd Global Conference
Music &….Nationalism

Friday 29th June 2018 – Saturday 30th June 2018
Palermo, Italy

Conference Abstracts and Papers

Booing Their Own National Anthem: Hong Kong’ Postcolonial Misidentification
Leiya Lee
Kingston University London

Key Words:
Postcolonialism, national anthem, Hong Kong, China

Hong Kong, a former British colony, was handed back to China in 1997. 20 years on, the city, officially known as a “Special Administrative Region” of China since 97, with its lingering colonial past and strong Chinese cultural roots, is still somewhat confused about its own national identity. Hong Kong has its own regional football team that competes with other national teams, including China and Chinese Taipei, on the international stage. Since 2015, many home fans have been booing the Chinese national anthem played at the start of every international game, which has left their opponents and away fans baffled. Historical protests during national anthems have been about civil rights, anti-war or anti-nationalism initiatives. The most recent examples have been the silent protests by NFL players to draw attention to racial inequality in relation to police brutality in the US. While many have touted the booing incidents in Hong Kong as similar peaceful protests, as an extension to the Umbrella Movement (a series of democracy protests in 2014), contempt for one’s own national anthem is unprecedented and, above all else, absurd; there is in fact a more profound underlying issue concerning the city’s confused identity. After the booing, protesters often shout out their slogan “We are Hong Kong”, hence implying that they are not China/Chinese. This ill-defined “we” demonstrates the city’s misaligned postcolonial dispositions, chief among which is a misidentification of China as the “new coloniser”. As a case study for the destructive powers of colonisation, this paper discusses the chequered political history of the Chinese national anthem (“March of the Volunteers”), the context in which the protesters may be justifying their disrespect to their own country, and how such disrespect, caused by colonialism, may break apart two groups of people who, ultimately, share the same ethnicity and cultural background.

“March of the Volunteers”: from Music of Resistance to National Anthem
Ling Zhang
State University of New York, Purchase College

Key Words:
Chinese national anthem, March of the Volunteers, national salvation, Nie Er, transnational music, music of resistance, film song, anti-Japanese war, political rallies, internationalism

In 1935, during the war of resistance against Japanese invasion (1931-1945), the Denton studio produced Children of Troubled Times (dir. Xu Xingzhi), a film depicting three Shanghai youths who volunteer to fight on the battlefront of Northeastern China. The film’s theme song, “March of the Volunteers,” became both a collective rallying cry for Chinese nationalists and an international hit. This paper traces the interaction of the song with the “New Music Movement” in 1930s China, exploring its creation and circulation in relation to nationalism, internationalism, anti-colonialism, and Chinese musical modernity. Pairing lyrics written by famed poet and playwright Tian Han (1898-1968) with music composed by “people’s musician” Nie Er (1912-1935), it reads: “Arise, you who refused to be slaves! With our flesh and blood, let us build a new Great Wall! As China faces its greatest peril, from each one the urgent call to action comes forth. Arise! Arise! Arise! Millions of but one heart. Braving the enemies’ fire! March on…” The nationalist spirit embedded in the lyrics and military march-like melody contributed to the song’s extreme mass appeal and capacity to mobilize audiences at political demonstrations all over China. “March of the Volunteers” also transcended boundaries between media, languages and nations; its international influence even exceeded that of the current national anthem of the Republic of China. It was featured in Dutch documentary filmmaker Joris Ivens’ (1898-1989) The 400 Million (1939), a documentary about the Chinese people’s national cause against the Japanese military encroachment. Furthermore, the left-leaning African-American singer, actor, and social activist Paul Robeson (1898-1976) recorded the song in Chinese (1941) and popularized it globally. The song’s enthusiastic international reception was yet another reason it became a symbol of Chinese nationalism and was ultimately chosen as the new national anthem of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

Protest Songs – Seeds of Hope
Rebecca Jacoby
Tel Aviv -Yaffo Academic College

I don’t sing for the love of singing
Or to show off my voice
But for the statements
Made by my honest guitar.

My guitar is not for killers
Greedy for money and power
But for the people who labor
So that the future may flower.

Manifesto by Victor Jara (Chile, September, 1973)

In his seminal article “Delinquency as a Sign of Hope” the British psychoanalyst D.W. Winnicott claims that the anti-social tendency in the young represents his efforts to reclaim what he has lost, in order to continue his normal development. By that he is expressing his unconscious need for hope or maybe his unconscious hope.

Accordingly I would like to suggest that protest and /or resistance songs that were written by slaves, political and social activists, captives, prisoners as well as in the concentration camps during the holocaust, entail within them seeds of hope. Hope for change, hope for freedom and hope for justice that were taken from them.

The same as the child’s behavior invites his neighborhood to “listen” to his hopes beyond his pain, protest songs invite us to discover the seeds of hope that lay beyond the rage, anger and suffering expressed by them.

In my presentation I would like to develop my assumption by presenting some protest songs from different countries, while emphasizing the power of music for individuals as well as a unifying factor in societies.

“Land of the Free?”: The United States National Anthem Protest
Nicholas Villanueva
University of Colorado, US

Key Words:
Anthem, Protest, Racism, Nativism, Nationalism, Patriotism, Xenophobia, Sport

“O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!” The final words of the U.S. national anthem are immediately followed by boisterous cheers sporting events. This song of nationhood and nationalism is used at sporting event to create a semblance of unity. On August 26, 2016, Colon Kaepernick refused to stand during the playing of the U.S. national anthem. Kaepernick stated that he was not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppressed black people and people of color. The United State’s current racial climate is a reflection of decades of racial injustice, subjugation, and marginalization. Sports, especially in America, are evidence of not only the current racial quandary, but also the intrinsic fact that race and racism is an institutional structure that permeates every facet of society. In recent months, the playing of the U.S. National Anthem and player protest of the ceremony has gained international attention. In the U.S., spectators and players are divided about social protest, racial injustice, and the peaceful protest of “taking a knee” during the anthem. Sports has become a space that until recently has been unwilling to admit and illustrate the problems and complexities of race and racism that have undoubtedly always been a component of the sports world. From team owners, to athletes, to fans in the stands, race and racism has always been at the center of sports, but has been indirectly and covertly implemented, demonstrating the institutional characteristic that racism has developed over time. This paper presentation will examine how the playing of the national anthem in current racial climate of the U.S., has become a national spectacle.

The Kalifornia Dreamstock of The Yankee Reaper: Subversions of Nationalism in the Music of Carl Stone
Jack Goldstein
Goldsmiths University, London

Key Word:
Carl Stone, Experimental Music, Nationalism, music and identity formation, America, Electronic, Electroacoustic, Capitalism, Postmodernism, Colonialism, Sampling

This paper sets out to examine the relationships established between nineteenth-century musical nationalism and the American electroacoustic composer Carl Stone’s 1986 composition, VIM. The author will then propose an argument for Stone’s subversion of folklore as it relates to the musical nationalism of the nineteenth-century. Stone studied at the California Institute of the Arts, under James Tenney and Morton Subotnick and is often referred to as ‘The King of Sampling’. He was introduced to the technique when Subotnick found him a job at the CalArts Music Library in 1972. On VIM, Stone samples the chorus and outro of The Beach Boys’ 1964 song Fun, Fun, Fun and in doing so weaves the contrary motion of Brian Wilson’s four part harmonies into an eleven-minute long exercise in postmodern sample composition. Whilst the musical material sampled by Stone can be compared to the traditional templates set out by musical nationalism, Stone does not allow the casual listener to make these connections easily. Instead, the national symbolism pointed to in VIM is more ideological. Stone points to a mythology that can be traced back to the early colonialists that held California up as a magnet for dreamers, the mise en scène of American simulacra that rose from the Post-World War II economic expansion and the remarketed capitalism of Reagan-era America. Stone shows nationalism not as a concept pure of heart, but as a facet of an economic ideology that is inherently divisive and is itself born out of myth. In this sense, the national folk material for Stone is American capitalism: capitalism as a form of cultural folklore.

National Anthem Controversy and the ‘Spirit of Language’ Myth in Japan
Naoko Hosokawa
European University Institute, Florence

Key Words:
National anthem, nationalism, Japan, language, myth

This paper will discuss the relationship between the national anthem controversy and the myth of the spirit of language in Japan. Since the end of the Pacific War, the national anthem of Japan, Kimigayo (His Imperial Majesty’s Reign), has caused fierce controversies in Japan and its intensity is said to be exceptional. Those who support the song claim that it is a traditional national anthem sung since the nineteenth century with the lyrics based on a classical waka poem written in the tenth century, while those against the song sees the lyrics problematic for its imperialist ideology and the association with negative memories of the war. While it is clear that the controversies are mainly based on the political interpretation of the lyrics, the paper will shed light on the myth of the spirit of language, known as kotodama, as a possible explanation for the exceptional fierceness of the controversy. The main idea of the myth is that words, pronounced in a certain manner have impact on the reality. Based on this premise, the kotodama myth has been reinterpreted and incorporated into Japanese social and political discourses throughout its history. Placing a particular focus on links between music and the kotodama myth, the paper will suggest that part of the national anthem controversy in Japan can be explained in reference to the discursive use of the myth.

Nationalism, Fascism and Identity in English Extreme Metal Music
Niall Scott

-no abstract available-

The Affective Resonances of Gharana: 21st Century Anamnesis in Indian Raga Music
Sonali Barua
Azim Premji University
Bangalore, India

Key Words:
Music History, Musical Auto/Biography, Nationalism, Modernization, Gharana, Authenticity, Market Orientation, Dialectical Resistance, Anamnesis, Affective Resonance

Raga-based Indian music has had a complicated modernizing trajectory, closely linked to nationalist Hindu postcolonial cultural self-fashioning. This modernization came in the form of an aggressive conservationism in which, as David Clarke observes, “modernity is articulated not as a dialectical form of resistance, but as a resistance to the eclipse of tradition.” To recuperate what was perceived as the sullied purity of raga music, access to formal performances was wrested from its then practitioners: Muslim and “lower” caste instrumentalists, vocalists, and singer-courtesans, seen as usurpers of an ancient Hindu musical tradition. The nationalist goal was to “sanitize” raga music and recuperate it for performance by “respectable” men and women. Since this music is improvisatory and has traditionally been taught without notation, documenting its rules was a challenging project. The repositories of musical knowledge and the owners of the rarest melodies were most often Muslim ustads or teachers, who transmitted learning within kinship spheres, rarely permitted outsider apprentices, and forbade recordings. Training took place within the gharana, the musical “family/house” or stylistic lineage.

If the nationalist project was to breach these ramparts, it met with some success; committed Hindu musicians and scholars used every means fair and foul to document lyrics and notations, thus, at one level, supposedly “freeing” music from the gharana-bound “clutches” of ustads. But what they had not counted on were the continuing affective resonances of the gharana association. In this paper, I analyze the renewed 21st century tendency for raga performers to locate a gharana connection, effectively, a link to a founder ustad. The music of the contemporary raga performer is presented as authentic by virtue of having been received and passed down from a gharana “founder” according to gharana norms. In this paper I work with/in a combination of music history, musical auto/biography and digital ethnography to argue that the hankering for gharana indexes a deep and abiding suspicion – on the part of audiences, but equally on the part of performers – of the all-pervasive hybridity of our time. Vitiated by posers and imitators and the market oriented watering down of rules, the notion of the gharana still offers safe harbour in storm-tossed musical waters. On the musical auto/biography continuum, a new breed of practitioner-scholars evidences an urgent need to undertake gharana responsibility as a collective literary mission: telling the story of raga music, as related to them individually by their gurus/ustads, in the form of gharana history. The practitioner-scholar thus experiences and describes the past simultaneously, and relates it to the present, becoming, in her performances, the very history she seeks to recreate. For other performers too, on stage, in recordings, and in the presentation of a public persona there is an un-remembering of nationalist Hindu-ness and its concomitant urge to repossess raga music. Instead, performers and audience collectively submit to a yearning anamnesis for the stylistic certainties of gharana. This is the more remarkable because it comes in an extended period of right wing Hindu cultural aggression, in which history is being rewritten in every sphere to erase signs of Muslim contributions to Indian art, culture and science.

Anthem of Nationalism: Music and Governance in Today’s India
Budhaditya Bhattacharyya
SOAS, University of London

On 12 December 2016, three people in Chennai were harassed and beaten up for not standing to the Indian national anthem, before the screening of the movie ‘Chennai 600028-II’, at the Kasi theatre. The event was subsequent to an order from the Supreme Court of India, passed on 30 November 2016, which made it mandatory for all cinema halls in the country to play the national anthem before the screening of every film. The order courted large-scale controversy and polarised public discourse. The situation, however, soon changed course on 23 October 2017 when a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra shifted the onus on the government to take a stand on this issue. After a couple of months of silence, the government responded by issuing an affidavit that suggested the court to take back its 30 November ruling. The court revised its judgement on the 9 January, 2018, once again making it optional for cinema halls to play the national anthem before the screening of films. The government now has an inter-ministerial committee in place to oversee regulations concerning the playing/singing of the national anthem and suggest alterations to provisions relating to the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971.

This paper, while primarily focusing on the aforementioned national anthem, seeks to investigate the manner in which music is being used by the incumbent right-wing government in India to infuse a certain kind of nationalist consciousness into the lives of its people.

Imagining Oromumma in Music: A History of Oromo Nationalism and the Birth of Oromo Music
Anaïs Mar
Queensland University Technology (QUT)

Since the 1960s, the Oromo people of Ethiopia, despite their heterogeneity, developed a form of nationalism in opposition to domination by other groups, less numerous but politically stronger (Baxter, Hultin, & Triulzi, 1996).
In this process, music played a crucial role that supported 3 dynamics within the construction of a national identity:
– (1) Defining the social unity of the group as a centripetal force. In traditional polity, music plays a central role in social control and individual/group regulation (Qashu, 2007). The group is traditionally defined, not within its boundaries, but around a centre of focus working as a centripetal force.
– (2) Defining the other. Since what Oromo call ‘colonisation’ by emperor Menelik II in the 1830s, music also operated as cultural resistance to preserve local identity and culture (Dibaba, 2015). When this process started, there was no pan-Oromo consciousness, however, through music professionalization in the 1960s, many groups in similar political situations started to develop an Oromo consciousness.
– (3) Hologramization (Morin, 2014) of a diverse community: Since Haile Selassie’s cultural policy of folklorisation in the 1940s (Ferran, 2012), traditional music of Ethiopia has been staged in the National Theatre and toured. The Oromo community used these recognisable forms to include and absorb the heterogeneity of their group as a cultural asset. Oromo music is becoming a unified concept, aggregating various forms of traditional music, in the process holding the community together beyond heterogeneity.

These three dynamics have chronological starting points, however, their force remains active through-out history and can be seen today in online music videos that nourish Ethiopia-based and diaspora-based Oromo nationalism called Oromumma.

Variations on a Nationalistic Theme: Subjectivity and Agency in Nineteen-Century Improvisation
Angeles Sancho-Velázquez
California State University, Fullerton

Key Words:
Improvisation, Nineteenth-century Western Classical music, Subjectivity, Agency

My paper raises the following question: Is improvised music suitable for nationalistic purposes? I address this question from a historical perspective by exploring changing perceptions of improvisation in the Western classical tradition during the nineteenth century. Franz Liszt’s career offers a fruitful starting point. As a touring virtuoso, one of his most acclaimed offerings in public concerts was to improvise variations on nationalistic themes of the places he visited, as he did to great acclaim during his 1844-45 tour of the Iberian Peninsula. However, after 1848, he stopped touring and improvising in public. The widespread decline of public improvisation at that time coincided with the post-revolutionary emergence in Europe of aggressive forms of nationalism. In previous work I argued that improvised music did not lend itself to the demands that cultural institutions serving nation-building agendas placed on the arts during the second half of the nineteenth century. The changing relationship between improvised music and nationalism, I argue here, hinges largely on a transformation of the connection between subjectivity and nationalism. Raymond Williams’s claim that subjectivity and institutions became increasingly separated spheres in the later part of the nineteenth century gives support to a main thesis of this paper: Early nineteenth-century nationalism was compatible with the display of (inter)subjectivity and agency in loosely institutionalized public concerts; later in the century, a more stringent institutionalization of culture eliminated from public stages those obvious displays. Improvising musicians could not be controlled in this regard: Improvisation would always leave the door open to subjectivity, to the expression of unsanctioned and alternative forms of nationalism. Intersubjective and unscripted, variations on nationalistic themes are only tolerated when the institutions themselves are just and nimble enough to be able to accommodate a plurality of nationalism and even a critique of nationalism itself.