// Sunday June 14, 2009
// Festsaal Kreuzberg, Berlin
// Entrance fee: 5.- € Info
16:00 > Film
PALACE OF THE WINDS
by Hicham Mayet, 50 min., 2008.
Hisham Mayet's new film 'Palace Of The Winds' explores a culture that is cloaked in mystery and mired in struggle: the Saharawis from the dry, tea-fuelled and wind swept Mauritanian Sahara. Journey through music from the northern fringes of the Western Sahara to the Mauritanian capital of Nouakchott – an intoxicating tapestry of sight and sound from some of this obscure region's most legendary musicians. The filmmaker, Hisham Mayet will be in attendance and give a short introduction.
> watch Palace Of The Winds trailer
17:15 > Talk
MUSIC FROM THE BACKYARD MELTING POTS – INTRODUCTION TO SUBLIME FREQUENCIES
Sublime Frequencies (Alan Bishop, Mark Gergis and Hicham Mayet) will be talking about their work and artistic practises as well as taking questions. Members of Group Doueh and the Omar Souleyman band might join, but cant be confirmed at this stage of the preparations.
19:00 > Lecture
by Marcus Boon (CA)
Gayatri Spivak has lamented "the lack of communication within and among the immense heterogeneity of the subaltern cultures of the world", but underneath the label "world music", there exists a vast chaos of different types of music, produced by different cultural groups with separate histories and practices but engaged in a continuous exchange, theft, imitation of and conversation with each others styles and practices. Avant garde and countercultural music in the West also participates in this process of exchange, altho always in the shadow of the history of imperial theft and appropriation. The electrified sounds of the Touareg diaspora such as Group Doueh, or the use of Indonesian popular and traditional sounds by the Sun City Girls are cases in point. Marcus Boon uses the word "ethnopsychedelic" to describe the continuum of practices which different groups use in producing a music that is glorious and psychically and socially transformative, mixing tradition and modernity. He argues that such music is not merely a subcultural form, but points the way towards a new kind of politics and social collectivity, based on a shared sense of values and practices.
BREAKING THROUGH CONSENSUS REALITYSublime Frequencies
(US), Marcus Boon
(CA), Noureddine Ben Redjeb
(TN), Moderation: Johannes Theurer
The panel discusses the possibilities and non-possibilities for agency and for building bridges between margins and centre, between east and west, north and south, tradition and contemporary culture. Three questions will be at the centre of interest: Cacophony of modernity versus folk purity – how to approach the question of musical diversity?
Due to many reasons (urbanization, the transformation of traditional work and life styles, hegemonial politics, religious fundamentalism, war, homogenized markets, repressive copyright regimes etc.) local music traditions are at risk today. At the same time we wittness an explosion of musical hybrids developing from the amalgamation of regional styles with globalized pop music. While hybridized musics might be better capable to picture the transformations induced by modernization and globalization, traditional music styles as elements within those hybrids provide strong notions of regional identity and act as source material for the creation of new musical aesthetics. But the fusion of musical forms of different times and traditions often might be nothing but superficial when not informed by a deeper understanding of genealogy, technique and context. Therefore the question what can be done to preserve and keep the rich heritage of diversified local music traditions alive is a central one. Europe has long lost most of its folk tradition – will the same happen all over the world? Is the vanishing of traditional folk musics inevitable? And if so, is archiving it as recordings the proper answer? Could local traditions be maintained within their place in everyday life? But then, do purist notions of folk musics and the efforts to keep them alive not risk to revitalize reactionist ideas of ethnic separation, exclusion and nationality?How to organize encounters and exchange done right?
The theoretical benefits of cultural exchange seem manifold and obvious, but on a practical level it remains a delicate and fragile thing to do, always on the fringe of falling back into (often unintended) patterns of patronization, exoticism, stereotypes and exploitation. Even though today we begin to realize that everywhere in the world musicians create with the same craftsmanship, the same passion for the raw and transformative energy of music and with the same communal spirit, the access to means of production, communication and distribution still remains highly unequal. How can exchanges on eye-level be organized and crafted in a mutually beneficial way? How to translate each other’s appreciation?How to break through consensus reality?
Experiencing the musics of different regions and cultures has potential to gain a different view of a place or culture and might disclose similarities where before we had been trained to look at the differences. Yet paradoxically, ”world music“ in its attempt to produce a market commodity that represents the positive vision of “successful” communication between cultures, tends to picture regional cultures as easy to grasp distinct units, sharply separated from each other, and at the same time blanks out the existence of unsolvable differences. In the contrary, cultural diversity must not be seen as the mere coexistence of distinct cultural expressions, but as an ongoing, dynamic process of great complexity, of constant chaotic transformation and reconfiguration, full of friction and with unexpected rewards to be gained. In this sense there is no such thing as purity – everything being bastardized and remixed through theft, gift and appropriation to forms of pastiche and montage. How to communicate this complexity? How to interrupt the ingrained notions of the other?