music from the global ghetto

Lately I’ve been obsessed with music from the global ghetto, stuff from pretoria, the shitty slums of paris, rio de janeiro — all kinds of crazy ass beats and different languages. But I think to myself — am I just a total poseur in search of some street cred? What does the ghetto have to do with me?

And then I see Thai kids dancing to Block Party and the Libertines, and I think what does our indie music have to do with them?

But then I think — maybe that’s the whole point of art — to communicate instantly one’s experience as a particular kind of human being, in a way that makes people want to understand you and listen to you.

I’ve quoted this before, but it’s good here:

“I love this mad project they had, of getting people to like the Jews.

I think human populations need friendship. When men sense that they are not liked, the invent the blues, or gypsy music or klezmer… That’s how they make their condition understandable to others. ” — Joann Sfarr, Klezmer

1 Response to “music from the global ghetto”


  1. 1 James March 21, 2009 at 3:10 am

    Yo, yo…

    It’s good that you’re considering whether you might a ‘total poseur’ lol ;P That’s how a complex relationship with the music you listen to (or DJ) develops and perhaps potentiates possible transversal relations.

    I think the reason why people involved in these scenes proper, are suspicious of hipsters (Diplo etc), is that they don’t really think about these things, they’re more unconscious pilferers who take credit for things that they have no real relationship with. There’s quite a big thing in UK scenes esp. where you need to be seen to have ‘paid your dues’ to be allowed credit.

    Plus it’s generally/often the case that the most popular tracks from a given genre will (at least when that genre reaches a certain ‘tipping point’ vs popularity in the general culture) be its most generic, obvious & edgeless tunage. So when the likes of Diplo take this stuff, they just replicate the more obvious sonic signifiers, and leave out the stuff that really makes the scene (give it its cutting edge) i.e. the vibe — so everything becomes all surface and generic. A total reduction – prized for its difference/eclecticism rather than any intrinsic worth.

    Doesn’t have to be that way though, obviously… (btw I use Diplo as an example, because I think I remember him taking a lot of credit for making baille funk big or some shit, but you could insert any dj receiving the pitchfork love here).


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