I have just started digital photography, and thank god for the fact that PCs and fancy cameras have made the task a lot easier. Although, I have many albums up on Flickr, I would like you to visit and comment on this one. It's ironical that the more things change, the more they remain the same.
After my sporadic status update[!] I was asked about what I was doing, and this is what I said. At the moment, it's all a bit "untidy", so to speak. But let me go through what's still in my head.
I'm aiming to write a "play in music" - where specific groupings of instruments in a sextet taking on characters, but using the language of the performers [who are all improvising musicians]. There are no words or images. The audience picks up the drama from the sounds/music. Although… Continue
My wife and I are expecting our first child (yeah!) and as a result I was asked to find out my blood type. My wife is of Filipino/Irish descent and I am of German/British/Italian descent and my understanding is that knowing our blood types helps the doctor to determine health risks the co-heir or heiress to Create Culture might face. As it turns out my blood type is B Negative. I wouldn't have given this a second thought and…
Son was disliked by the authorities from the moment it first appeared in Santiago de Cuba, in the easternmost provinces. Rock and roll carried its hint of sexuality and raciness, but for early son it wasn’t implied, it was clearly displayed. Son dancing uses a hip… Continue
The MIM. That's what they call it. I met a rep from the Musical Instrument Museum at the APAP conference in January who announced that with the final stages of construction almost complete, the exhibits were now being prepared for a launch end of April for a museum in Phoenix, Arizona, USA, that would house instruments from every country in the world.
Over lunch with Culturalist@s Kaoru Watanabe and Mari Nakano on Tuesday I started discussing some of my discomfort with the term "World Music". One of the paradoxes of the term is that while it is supposed to express an openness to the diversity of the world it simultaneously groups every "other" culture together. Are… Continue
If you traveled to Seoul, Korea in 2004 for the Culture Games you would have seen the World Peace Award handed to Uighur dancer Dilnar Abdulla for this wonderful performance to the folk song Qemberhan. These games were organized by the organization World Culture Open and brought together 400 artists from all over the world. Although the dance is from 2004 the fact that it won the peace award caught our eye… Continue
This is a book that opened up for me a whole way of looking at culture, tourism and issues of tradition. The book is a series of articles written by the eminent scholar Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett on ways in which the "display" of people and objects in museum or tourism settings is… Continue
We are here in shock at what is happening in Haiti and praying for the people of this small island. When I visited Haiti in January 2008, I spent some time meeting some of the cultural leaders. I had heard of an arts center called FOKAL (Knowledge and Freedom Foundation), so I sent an email to the then Director, Michele Pierre-Louis- who went on to become the country's Prime Minister- and she agreed to see me the next day.… Continue
There is almost no published information about the life of Cricket (or Crickett?) Smith. Yet he is a fascinating historical figure whose career spanned at least five decades of music, before jazz all the way to lead and solo trumpet in jazz and dance bands.
That is not the least of it. An expatriate, his career took him from his place of birth, Nashville, Tennessee in 1883, to Goa, in India, where he was instrumental in establishing the jazz played there today. Here’s some of his… Continue
My wife had one wish this year. She wished for it over and over again. She would watch "Dancing with the Stars" and "So You Think You Can Dance" night after night. Afterwards, she would swoop into the room (where I was diligently working on this site) and plead with me. "John, will you take dancing lessons with me?" And over and over… Continue
There seems to be a close similarity between the body of music known as New Orleans Jazz and what is known as West Indian, Caribbean and/or Calypso music, but which represents musical characteristics associated with Creole culture in the Caribbean. The melodic and harmonic ties are there, but the strongest ties are reflected in the use of the same rhythmic patterns in both geographic areas - in fact, exactly the same rhythmic patterns, and combinations of rhythmic patterns.
If you are planning a trip to Africa and/or just want to increase your familiarity with the continent's music and culture we suggest two sites that we have recently become fans of. Voice of America's "African Music Treasure" goes to great lengths to provide cultural context with its music samples. This we greatly appreciate. For example, below is the opening of a recent posting from… Continue