Toward a methodology for research into the revival of musical life after war, natural disaster, bans on all music, or neglect

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Abstract

This chapter discusses revivals of the musical arts in societies suffering or recovering from musical decline or deprivation as a result of war, natural disaster, enforced bans on all music, or neglect, focusing on case studies from the early 2000s. The genres in question include traditional, folk, and classical music, bardic singing, dance, musical theater, and the commercially distributed popular and media arts. After briefly reviewing the ethnomusicological literature on such revivals in a few areas of the world, the chapter will focus on two main case studies, with additional reference to one subsidiary case. The first case study will be the post-tsunami, post conflict revivals in Aceh, based on my fieldtrips to the province in 1982, 2003, and annually from 2005 to 2010 (Kartomi 2014). This will be followed by a short discussion of the parallel situation in post-tsunami, postwar Sri Lanka. The other main case study will be Afghanistan, where efforts have been made in the cities of Kabul and Heratto restore and revive musical life as the country copes with its continuing war and the effects of the Taliban s bans on all music making and listening; here I draw mainly on studies by john Baily, Veronica Doubleday, lorraine Sakata, and Ahmed Sarmast. The chapter concludes with an outline of a preliminary methodology for research into musical revivals after major catastrophes, bans, or neglect. The term revival is used here in the sense of the restoration or revitalization of a musical tradition that has severely declined or even virtually died out due to the fact that its people have had to devote most of their energy to coping with disasters and emergencies. The serious decline of a society s music culture that results can easily be recognized when it becomes apparent that few or no master performers or teachers of the traditional music culture have survived to pass on the tradition to the next generation. The decline also becomes apparent when a considerable proportion of the population is traumatized by a disaster and is in need of therapy, including therapy through the revival of the music culture.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Music Revival
EditorsCaroline Bithell, Juniper Hill
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
PublisherOxford University Press
Pages372 - 390
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9780199765034
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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