Thursday, December 15, 2011

The lure of black music (@ Peril Magazine)

My latest post for the Asian-Australian online arts & culture mag Peril is up and it's about how much culture and ethnicity may influence into liking certain kinds of music, including my own personal journey in musical taste. Check it here.

If you are a wannabe anthropologist like me you can start to speculate about these sorts of things. Why, for instance, do Pacific Islanders have such a love of reggae and soul music? I’d guess that a large factor is that those genres are deeply rooted in the church’s traditions of harmony singing, which is a huge part of Islander culture. In addition, there is clearly something in the meaning and feel of music from black America that resonates with the culture and experiences of the people of the Pacific. Likewise, it’s not hard to see why so many young Sudanese-Australians are so strongly drawn to hip-hop, which shows black people taking pride in themselves. Some things are a bit harder to work out… for instance, what is it with the whole of East Asia and cheesy ballads? That one is still a mystery.

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