Readings for May 15

Required readings:

Larkin, Brian. “Indian Films and Nigerian Lovers: Media and the Creation of Parallel Modernities.” Africa: Journal of the International African Institute, 67.3 (1997): 406-440. Availa

Sen, Biswarup. “The Sounds of Modernity: The Evolution of Bollywood Film Song.” In Global Bollywood : Travels of Hindi Song and Dance. Edited by Sangita Gopal, Sujata Moorti. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008. 85-104. Available on Blackboard.

Suggested readings:

Manuel, Peter. “Popular Music in India: 1901-1986.” Popular Music 7 (1988): 157-176.

Chadha, Tina. “Mix This: Young South Asians’ Love-Hate Relationship with Hip-Hop’s New Indian Beats.” Village Voice. July 1, 2003. 

Readings for May 10

Slobin, Mark. “Micromusics of the West: A Comparative Approach.” Ethnomusicology, 36.1 (1992): 1-87.

Erlmann, Veit. “A Reply to Mark Slobin.” Ethnomusicology, 37.2 (1993): 263-267.

Slobin, Mark. “A Reply to Veit Erlmann.” Ethnomusicology, 37.2 (1993): 267-269.

Stokes, Martin. “Music and the Global Order.” Annual Review of Anthropology, 33 (2004): 47-73.ed

Readings for May 8

Required readings:

Reck, David B. “India/South India.” In Worlds of Music [Fifth Edition], ed. Jeff Todd Titon, et al. Available on Blackboard.

Dhar, Sheila. “Sound and Hindustani Music” and “The Raga: an Inward Journey” (213-223), in Raga’n Josh: Stories from a Musical Life. New Delhi: Rupa & Co., 2005. Available on Blackboard.

Rahaim, Matt. “That Ban(e) of Indian Music: Hearing Politics in the Harmonium.” The Journal of Asian Studies. 70.3 (2011): 657-682. Available on Blackboard.

Okinawan-feeling Japanese video

Eat your fruits and veggies! (Can you hear the Okinawan influence in this song?)

Readings for May 3

Required readings:

Tenzer, Michael. Balinese Music. 11-25. Hong Kong: Periplus Editions, 1998. Available on Blackboard.

Brinner, Benjamin. Music in Central Java: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture. 1-24. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. Available on Blackboard.

Harnish, David. “Teletubbies in Paradise: Tourism, Indonesianisation and Modernisation in Balinese Music.” Yearbook for Traditional Music, 37 (2005): 103-123.

Readings for May 1

Required readings:

Nasr, Seyyed Hossein. “Islam and Music: The Legal and the Spiritual Dimensions.” In Sullivan, Lawrence E. ed. Enchanting Powers: Music in the World Religions. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997. 219-236. Available on Blackboard.

Hirschkind, Charles. “Islam, Nationalism, and Audition.” In The Ethical Soundscape: Cassette Sermons and Islamic Counterpublics. New York: Columbia University Press, 2006. 32-66. Available on Blackboard.

Atia, Tarek. “Pimpin’ a Classic.” Al-Ahram. 1-7 June 2000. 

Sublettian Cuban influences on popular music

In class on Thursday I mentioned that an overwhelming majority of hip hop, and consequently, popular music in general over the past few decades, has rhythmic patterns that can be traced back to the Cuban influence on pop music that Sublette identifies in the essay we read. While a genealogical mapping of that influence from the nineteen sixties to today is a topic too vast for a single blog post, I thought it would be useful to look at the current top ten singles on the Billboard charts through the lens of Cuban rhythm. Of course, all of this is entirely speculative and up for debate.

#1. Gotye, “Somebody That I Used To Know (feat. Kimbra)”

While the rhythmic patterns here are more reminiscent of Brazilian genres, we can still here the influence of the habanera beat and the interplay of various percussive parts common to Afro-Cuban music.


#2. Fun, “We Are Young (feat. Janelle Monae)”

Check out the son clave rhythm in the snare before the verse kicks in. It continues in the kick drum throughout, more or less.


#3. The Wanted, “Glad You Came”

Like a lot of techno, nearly everything in this song except for the four-on-the-floor bass beat has the syncopated feel of the son clave.


#4. One Direction, “What Makes You Beautiful”

There’s the cyclic chord progression Sublette identified in Louie, Louie, as well as the cowbell and the clave beat in the bass drum.


#5. Justin Bieber, “Boyfriend”

It’s subtler here, but listen for the groove in the syncopated bass drum and the electric tom toms.


#6. Flo Rida, “Wild Ones (feat. Sia)”

Right away the piano is playing a form of the bossa nova clave beat, and this syncopation is picked up by various synth sounds throughout.


#7. Nicki Minaj, “Starship”

There’s the bossa nova clave again. The son clave shows up in the chorus (“meant to fly,” “touch the sky,” etc.).


#8. Carly Rae Jepsen, “Call Me Maybe”

While we didn’t immediately find anything in this song when we listened to it in class, it’s possible that the strings in the chorus could be playing the distant cousin of a clave beat, and the lead guitar lick in the chorus is very similar to the bossa nova clave.


#9. Kelly Clarkson, “What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger)”

Not much here. Pretty straight ahead disco rhythms, although the rhythm guitar lick that pops up just before the bridge shares traits with the  tumbao.


#10. Katy Perry, “Part of Me”

This song is overwhelmingly a hybrid of rock and house, and the influence of Cuban music is less apparent, since syncopation has been wrested out almost entirely.

Readings for April 26

Required readings:

Roberson, James E. “Uchinaa Pop: Place and Identity in Contemporary Okinawan Popular Music.” Critical Asian Studies, 33:2 (2001): 211-242.

Gillan, Matt. “Imagining Okinawa: Japanese Musicians and Okinawan Music.” Perfect Beat 10.2 (2009): 177-195. Available on Blackboard.


Suggested readings:

Roberson, James E. “Singing Diaspora: Okinawan Songs of Home, Departure, and Return.” Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power, 17.4 (2010): 430-453. 

De Ferranti, H. “Music and Diaspora in the Second Metropolis: The Okinawan and Korean Musicians of Interwar Osaka. Japanese Studies, 29.2 (2009): 235-253.


Readings for April 19

Required readings:

Stanyek, Jason. “Transmissions of an Interculture: Pan-African Jazz and Intercultural Improvisation.” In Fischlin, Daniel, and Ajay Heble. The Other Side of Nowhere: Jazz, Improvisation, and Communities in Dialogue. Middletown, Conn: Wesleyan University Press, 2004  87-130. Available on Blackboard.

Sublette, Ned. “Kingsmen and the Cha Cha.” In Weisbard, Eric. Listen Again: A Momentary History of Pop Music. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2007. 69-94. Available on Blackboard.

Suggested readings:

Brennan, Timothy. “Introduction to the English Edition.” Music in Cuba [Alejo Carpentier]. 1-58. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2001. Available on Blackboard.

Readings for April 17

Required readings:

Askew, Kelly M. “Of Ginger Ale and Soda.” Performing the Nation: Swahili Music and Cultural Politics in Tanzania. 68-122. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2002. Available on Blackboard.

Fair, Laura. “‘It’s Just No Fun Anymore’: Women’s Experiences of Taarab before and after the 1964 Zanzibar Revolution.” The International Journal of African Historical Studies. 35.1 (2002), 61-81.