Accepted Paper:

Tying the traditional and the popular  


Rumi Umino (Hagoromo University of International Studies)

Paper short abstract:

This paper attempts to show the possibility of the concept, "ethno-arts" that can open an arena where traditional and the popular music can be discussed in the same terrain, with describing and analysing the Griqua people's cognition and practices of "music".

Paper long abstract:

"We can't do music. We just sing hymns. Music is theirs." Griqua people of South Africa told me with surprised eyes as soon as the terms "your music" slipped out from my mouth. And, they explained that the music was something they could listen to, watch and buy. On the other hand, singing hymns is what "everyone in the community can naturally do" for the Griqua people. They say that a Griqua child would start singing hymns in any language when s/he starts to talk.

Definitely consuming musics in the market economy, the pops, Griqua people naturalise themselves with those at the church. How could we perceive the popularity of the traditional hymns and the speciality of the pops? Here we see the traditional casual and popular, and the popular special and non-popular.

In this paper, the author employs the concept of "ethno-arts" introduced by Shigenobu Kimura. The concept of "ethno-arts" should be critically examined for its static view on culture and community. The concept's everyday practice-based perspective, however, opens an arena where the traditional and the popular musics, so-perceived, can be discussed in the same terrain. The paper suggests the possibility of the concept in description and analysis of the Griqua's case as an example.

Panel P114
Anthropology of music, popular music scenes, performance practices and challenges of the present