A SWEET LULLABY FOR WORLD MUSIC *
To begin, the music globalization commonplaces that are most broadly circulating in Western intellectual discourse as actualities or immediate predictions at the end of the twentieth century:
1. Music's deep connection to social identities has been distinctively intensified by globalization. This intensification is due to the ways cultural separation and social exchange are mutually accelerated by transnational flows of technology, media, and popular culture. The result is that musical identities and styles are more visibly transient, more audibly in states of constant fission and fusion than ever before.
2. Our era is increasingly dominated by fantasies and realizations of sonic virtuality. Not only does contemporary technology make all musical worlds actually or potentially transportable and hearable in all others, but this transportability is something fewer and fewer people take in any way to be remarkable. As sonic virtuality is increasingly naturalized, everyone's musical world will be felt and experienced as both more definite and more vague, specific yet blurred, particular but general, in place and in motion.
3. It has taken only one hundred years for sound recording technologies to amplify sonic exchange to a point that overwhelms prior and contiguous histories [End Page 145] of travel, migration, contact, colonization, diaspora, and dispersal. It is therefore the recorded form, as it circulates commercially, that defines the authenticity of music globalization. The hero and villain of this situation, the music industry, has triumphed through continuous vertical and horizontal merger and consolidation. By aligning technologies of recording and reproduction with the dissemination capacities of other entertainment and publication media, the industry has accomplished the key capitalist goal of unending marketplace expansion.
4. Musical globalization is experienced and narrated as equally celebratory and contentious because everyone can hear equally omnipresent signs of augmented and diminished musical diversity. Tensions around the meanings of sonic heterogeneity and homogeneity precisely parallel other tensions that characterize global processes of separation and mixing, with an emphasis on stylistic genericization, hybridization, and revitalization.
So, like everything else called globalization these days, this version is clearly about increasingly complicated pluralities, uneven experiences, and consolidated powers. But is there anything distinctive about how this is happening in the world of music? One way to answer is by denaturalizing the now ubiquitous phrase world music, today's dominant signifier of a triumphant industrialization of global sonic representation. Until little more than a decade ago this phrase was considerably more obscure. How did it become so thoroughly and rapidly naturalized in public spheres? How has it participated in ways we have come to imagine, interpret, or contest the notion of globalization? How might a sketch genealogy of world music help make more critically visible the ways a modernity is tensely mirrored in the kinds of commonplaces with which I began?
Circulated first by academics in the early 1960s to celebrate and promote the study of musical diversity, the phrase world music began largely as a benign and hopeful term. In those days, nostalgically remembered by many for their innocence and optimism, the phrase world music had a clear populist ring. It was a friendly phrase, a less cumbersome alternative to ethnomusicology, the more strikingly academic term that emerged in the mid 1950s to refer to the study of [End Page 146] non-Western musics and musics of ethnic minorities. Like ethnomusicology, world music had an academically liberal mission, to oppose the dominant tendency of music institutions and publics to assume the synonymy of music with Western European art music. And in practical terms, the world music idea was meant to have a pluralizing effect on Western conservatories, by promoting the hiring of non-Western performers and the study of non-Western performance practices and repertories.
Whatever the success of these aims, the terminological dualism that distinguished world music from music helped reproduce a tense division in the academy, where musics understood as non-Western or ethnically other continued to be routinely partitioned from those of the West. The binary reproduced by the world music concept thus participated in reinscribing the separation of musicology, constructed as the historical and analytic study of Western European art musics, from ethnomusicology, constructed by default as the cultural and contextual study of musics of non-Europeans, European peasants, and marginalized ethnic or racial minorities. The relationship of the colonizing and the colonized thus remained generally intact in distinguishing music from world music. This musicology/ethnomusicology split reproduced the disciplinary divide so common in the academy, where unmarked "-ologies" announced studies of normative Western subjects, and "ethno-" fields were created to accommodate the West's ethnic others. Even if little of this was terribly contentious in the academy of the 1960s and 1970s, it is nonetheless remarkable that the valorized labels ethnomusicology and world music survive with so little challenge at century's end. The obvious question remains: In whose interests and in what kind of academy must ethno and world remain distinct from a discipline of music, a discipline where all practices, histories, and identities could assert equal claims to value, study, and performance?
Interestingly, the situation would have been little different had world music been more bluntly termed third world music. And outside of the academy, in the world of commerce, that is exactly what happened. For even though commercial recordings were increasingly made in every world location from the beginning of this century, following the invention of the phonograph, the development of a highly visible commercial documentary music recording industry solidified considerably later, in the 1950s and 1960s. This took place when the phrase third world made new marketing sense of the diverse set of previous categories loosely conjoining academic and commercial enterprise, namely recordings variously labeled and sold as primitive, exotic, tribal, ethnic, folk, traditional, or international. [End Page 147]
If these recordings had much in common it was often their politics of representation. They were frequently depictions of a world where the audibility of intercultural influences was mixed down or muted. Academics were particularly complicit with commerce here, becoming guarantors of a musical authenticity meant equally to signify authoritative documentary realism and cultural uniqueness. Ironically it was the turbulence of independence movements, anticolonial demonstrations, and the powerful nationalist struggles of the late 1950s and early 1960s in Africa, Asia, and Latin America that fueled this marketplace creation of and commercial desire for authentic (and often nostalgic) musical elsewheres. Soundprints of those political struggles would not be widely hearable on popular recordings or celebrated in the commercial music marketplace for their own stunningly powerful authenticity for another decade. And complexly intercultural musics, like the ones indexing histories of motion in and through numerous cities and multiethnic or trade regions, were likewise more commercially muffled, as if waiting for the label international to be market tested for multiculturalist, migrant, and middle-class ethnic buyers.
The 1960s and 1970s witnessed the rise of token forms of musical pluralism through the academic proliferation of ethnomusicology courses and their world music shadow versions. But this was in many ways overwhelmed in the1980s by the rise of popular music studies, whose international prominence was quickly marked by the emergence of a professional journal (Popular Music in 1981) and society (IASPM, the International Association for the Study of Popular Music, also 1981) and a succession of influential theoretical texts (for example, Frith 1983; Chambers 1985; Middleton 1990; Shepherd 1991; McClary 1991). Even though much of the early emphasis was on studying Western popular musical forms, particularly rock music, popular music studies' concern to theorize the global dominance of mediated musics in the twentieth century signaled to ethnomusicology that its uncritical naturalization of "authentic traditions" was in trouble. Increasingly, ethnomusicology incorporated insights from popular music studies to effect a shift from studying bounded and discrete musical worlds to ones created out of contact histories and colonial legacies, out of diaspora and hybridity, out of migration, urbanization, and mass media. Reflecting on this moment in an introduction to a collection of early IASPM conference papers, Simon Frith (1989, 5) writes: "Perhaps it is not a coincidence that IASPM has grown as an academic organization just as 'world music,' the sounds of countries other than North America or Western Europe, has begun to be recorded, packaged, and sold as a successful new pop genre." [End Page 148]
This commercial potential of world music began developing rapidly in the 1980s, as did the discursive shift in the term from academic designation to distinct marketing category. Reprising an earlier trend, signaled commercially in the promotional relationship of the Beatles to Ravi Shankar, pop star collaboration and curation became the central world music marketplace signifier for the mid-1980s. This was made possible by the ability of Western pop music elite and their record companies to finance artistic forays into a world that would quickly come to be experienced as geographically expansive and aesthetically familiar. The key examples were Paul Simon's Graceland (1986) with South African musicians, and David Byrne's Rei Momo (1989) with Latin musicians. Academics greeted these productions with critical inquiries into how they mixed pleasure and imperiousness (for example, Feld 1988; Hamm 1989; Goodwin and Gore 1990; Meintjes 1990; Lipsitz 1994), and popular culture itself threw an occasional ironic glance at Simon's and Byrne's adventures, for example in Drew Friedman's cartoon (fig. 1), which dresses their curatorial voyages in colonial safari gear.
Into and through the 1990s, pop star curation continued to lead the marketplace expansion of world music. But in each case distinct models of the inspiration and collaboration mix also emerged, revealing more of the political and aesthetic [End Page 149] possibilities for promoting both artistic equity and wealth distribution. The key examples were Peter Gabriel's WOMAD (World of Music and Dance) festivals and Real World label, and his collaboration with artists as diverse as Youssou N'Dour and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan; Mickey Hart's World Series on the Rykodisc label, his projects with Tibetan Monks and African and Indian percussionists, and his Endangered Musics Project in collaboration with the U.S. Library of Congress; Ry Cooder's collaborations with Hawaiian, Mexican American, African, and Indian guitarists and his promotion of Cuban music and musicians; Henry Kaiser and David Lindley's Madagascar collaborations and promotions; and David Bridie's Not Drowning, Waving collaboration with musicians from Papua New Guinea and his productions of Aboriginal, Islander, and Melanesian musicians like Archie Roach, Christine Anu, and George Telek.
But, significantly, the 1990s music industry was no longer dependent on pop stars to sell the world; the marketplace success of world music was building more on rapid product expansion and the promotional support of both the recording and aligned entertainment industries. In 1990 Billboard magazine reinvented world music as a sales tracking category and began charting its commercial impact. In 1991, the American National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences invented a world music Grammy award category out of its former "ethnic and traditional" one. The magazine Rhythm Music: Global Sounds and Ideas started at the same time, followed by World Music in the mid-1990s, and, in 1999, Songlines. Additionally, world music news and review sections spread through numerous consumer recording, entertainment, and audio technology magazines over the decade.
The same pattern emerged with listener guides. The Virgin Directory of World Music (Sweeney 1991) appeared in 1991, followed by World Beat (Spencer 1992) the next year. By 1994 there was an almost seven-hundred-page World Music: The Rough Guide (Broughton et al. 1994); its popularity led to an expanded two volume second edition in 1999 and 2000. Even for those seeking something more pocket-sized, Billboard's world music pocket guide manages to include the top-selling nine hundred CDs by the top selling one hundred and fifty artists (Blumenthal 1998).
World music airplay proliferated likewise in the 1990s and, with tremendous record industry and fan support, expanded into new venues, like airline world music channels, video and television series, and thousands of Internet web sites. The 1990s also brought a development of stores, mail-order catalogs, and web sites either merchandising world music or devoting special sections to it. Upon purchase of world music products, one could become the recipient of regular [End Page 150] e-mail "info-tisements," best-seller lists, critic's hot picks, downloadable samples, and other promotional fare. Likewise there was a proliferation of recording labels devoted to world music and even distinct marketing plans specifically devoted to the genre--for example, the Putamayo compilations, now ubiquitous in Starbucks and other chains (Zwerin 1993).
So if the 1990s created a world of consumers increasingly familiar with musical groups as diverse in history, region, and style as Ladysmith Black Mambazo and The Mysterious Bulgarian Voices, or The Chieftans and Zap Mama, or Carlos Nakai and The Gipsy Kings, or Apache Indian and Yothu Yindi, or Ofra Haza and Manu Dibango, it was due to a major reconfiguration of how the musical globe was being curated, recorded, marketed, advertised, and promoted. World music was no longer dominated by academic documentation and promotion of traditions. Rather, the phrase swept through the public sphere first and foremost signifying a global industry, one focused on marketing danceable ethnicity and exotic alterity on the world pleasure and commodity map. By century's end, world music had come to signify "a small world with a huge number of possibilities: sonic excursions as close as a CD player," in the memorable phrasing of the New York Times' "Pop View" columnist Jon Pareles (1999, E1).
Anxiety and Celebration
That any and every hybrid or traditional style could so successfully be lumped together by the single market label world music signified the commercial triumph of global musical industrialization (Chanan 1995). But the same process signified something more critical to scholars in ethnomusicology and cultural studies of music, namely, the relative ease with which the music industry could, in Jocelyne's Guilbault's (1993, 40) phrase, "banalize difference." Correspondingly, the first decade of academic investigation of the making of world music focuses on how difference has fared in this world music industry (for example, Erlmann 1993, 1996a, 1996b; Feld 1988, 1994, 1996; Garofalo 1993; Goodwin and Gore 1990; Guilbault 1993, 1997; Hayward 1998; Lipsitz 1994; Mitchell 1996; Neuenfeldt 1997; Sharma, Hutnyk, and Sharma 1996; Taylor 1997). These works ask how musical difference has been represented, exalted and fetishized; how its market shares have risen and fallen, where they have been depreciated and mortgaged; how they have been traded, merged, and cashed out. These stories first and foremost are about the uneven rewards, the unsettling representations, and the complexly entangled desires that lie underneath the commercial rhetoric of global connection, that is, the rhetoric of "free" flow and "greater" access. They [End Page 151] present stories of how music's forms of local, regional, and social distinction are more and more tensely poised, living the contradictions encountered through embracing and resisting dominant hegemonic trends in the global popular music industry.
Witnessing and chronicling these stories has produced a new discourse on authenticity, a discourse forged out of narratives equally anxious and celebratory about the world--and the music--of world music. Anxious narratives sometimes start from the suspicion that capitalist concentration and competition in the recording industry is always productive of a lesser artistry, a more commercial, diluted, and sellable version of a world once more "pure," "real," or less commodified. This suspicion fuels a kind of policing of the locations of musical authenticity and traditions. It questions whether world music does more to incite or erase musical diversity, asking why and how musical loss is countered by the proliferation of new musics.
In response, celebratory narratives counter these anxieties by stressing the reappropriation of Western pop, emphasizing fusion forms as rejections of bounded, fixed, or essentialized identities. That is, celebratory narratives of world music often focus on the production of hybrid musics. They place a positive emphasis on fluid identities, sometimes edging toward romantic equations of hybridity with overt resistance. Celebratory narratives tend toward hopeful scenarios for cultural and financial equity in the entertainment industries. Here the designation global can replace the previous label international as a positive valence term for modern practices and institutions. This can have the effect of downplaying hegemonic managerial and capital relations in the music industry, focusing instead on the ways larger segments of the world of music now get somewhat larger returns in financial and cultural capital to match their greater visibility.
Celebratory narratives of world music tend to normalize and naturalize globalization, not unlike ways "modernization" narratives once naturalized other grand and sweeping currents that transformed and refigured intercultural histories. As with these predecessors addressing the questions of what has been brought and what has been taken, celebratory narratives stress the costs to "tradition" as rather surface ones, ones that will, in the larger sweep of things, be overcome by creativity, invention, and resilience. "Sure, the world's developing and no tradition will stay the same," writes philosopher-musician David Rothenberg in a Chronicle of Higher Education commentary on music's place in college courses about technology and global development. "But," he continues, "diverse musical strains need not fade away into one global monotone. If there is such a thing as development, [End Page 152] it will include a joyful and chaotic mix of many sounds, a music that plays on while no one knows how it's going to end" (1998, B8). Celebratory narratives then imagine a natural tenacity of the past resounding in possibilities for an amplified present, one that Sean Barlow and Banning Eyre characterize in their celebratory book AfroPop! as an "endlessly creative conversation" between "local roots and international pop culture" (1995, vii).
On the anxious side we read narratives that insist on the complicity of world music in commodifying ethnicity, locating it in the "finanscapes" and "media-scapes" of global popular culture (Appadurai 1996) and the "noise" or "channelized violence" of music's industrial economy (Attali 1985). Anxious narratives see little possibility for resisting commodifications of ethnicity and focus, instead, on understanding the hegemonic location they occupy within globalization practices and institutions. In Veit Erlmann's (1993, 130) phrasing: "The global musical pastiche is more an attempt at coating the sounds of the fully commodified present with the patina of use value in some other time and place." In particular, it is the production and dissemination of world music in cosmopolitan and metropolitan centers that clearly underscores the character of the exotic labor it imports and sells. Ashwani Sharma (1996, 22) locates it this way in Dis-Orienting Rhythms: The Politics of the New Asian Dance Music, an exemplary collection of anxious essays: "instances of 'musical and cultural conversation' validated under the sign of World Music too easily mask the exploitative labour relationship of the very powerful transnational corporations with the 'Third World' musicians, let alone with those of the Third World with only their photogenic poverty to sell."
At the same time, anxious narratives also chronicle indigenization as a response to globalization, a response that is resistant either to trends in cultural imperialism or to increased cultural homogeneity. Likewise, anxious narratives also insist on world music's abilities to reassert place and locale against globalization. Indeed, in some anxious narratives, the very term global comes to be synonymous with displaced. In other words, displacement metaphorizes globalization as a simultaneity of alienation and dispersal. Anxious narratives then want to discover a cost of globalization, want to calculate the kinds of loss and diminution of musical heterogeneity that proceed from its practices. At the same time anxious narratives want to claim the potential and hope that every loss opens up for resistance, for reassertion, for reclamation, for response.
The broad picture then, is that today's world music, like globalization discourse more generally, is equally routed through the public sphere via tropes of anxiety and celebration. While sometimes quite distinct, these narrative positions on anxiety and celebration seem increasingly more intertwined, seamlessly [End Page 153] indexing the status of world music as a tensely modern category. Where anxious and celebratory narratives typically merge is in the space of a guarded optimism for musical futures. Recognizing how, in a remarkably short time, the diversity of world music--its promise--has come to be consistently suspended in the specter of one world music--its antithesis--the anxious and celebratory both embrace musical plurality as a dialectical necessity in a world where world music circulation is increasingly dominated by predictable musical commodities.
I shift now from world music as a discourse to world music as a contact zone of activities and representations. I particularly want to explore some of the experiential effects of world music, asking how its routes, circuits, and traffic--the now familiar motional and transport metaphors of transnational flow--involve intersubjective clashes for musicians, recordists, industry players, journalists, and academics. The particular case I review is one that begins with the unabashed reproduction of primitivism in world music. This is a theme that has already produced considerable critical commentary, yet its persistence continues to expose significant issues in understanding musical power and difference. The question I'll pose concerns how the notion of being "into world music" in Willi Kerr's recent postcard (fig. 2) has something to do with the reproduction of primitivist representation and desire.
In 1973 the UNESCO Musical Sources collection released an LP titled Solomon Islands: Fateleka and Baegu Music from Malaita, recorded in 1969 and 1970 by Hugo Zemp of the Ethnomusicology Department of the Musée de l'Homme and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. The LP was re-released as a CD in 1990, in the reorganized UNESCO series Musics and Musicians of the World, distributed by Auvidis. Among the selections on the LP and CD is a Baegu lullaby from Northern Malaita. Titled "Rorogwela," it is an unaccompanied vocal sung by a woman named Afunakwa. While this recording is well known to ethnomusicologists of the Pacific Islands, it received little airplay, limited distribution, and minimal sales.
All of this changed in 1992 when "Rorogwela" began a career as a popular hit song in the world music marketplace. This took place when Zemp's recording of Afunakwa was digitally sampled by Eric Moquet and Michel Sanchez for Deep Forest, a CD produced by Dan Lacksman for Celine Music and marketed by 550 Music/Epic, a division of Sony Music. The song appeared under the title "Sweet Lullaby" and includes Afunakwa's voice singing "Rorogwela" to a dance beat [End Page 154] provided by a drum machine. The recording also includes synthesizer accompaniments and interludes of digital samples from Central African forest water-splashing games and vocal yodels. On the first chorus Afunakwa's voice is solo; on the second chorus she is backed by digital voice multiplication and a studio chorus, creating a dense "We are the World" vocal effect; on the third chorus Afunakwa's voice disappears into the linguistic indistinction of an ensemble singing her lullaby. Through this progression one hears how what was once distinctly Afunakwa's world is now up for a new sharing, becoming, ultimately, a world where her voice is no longer necessary to her imagined presence.
In the liner notes to Boheme, their 1995 Grammy award-winning CD, Deep Forest refer to the sampling of "native melodies" as the use of "raw material, an opportunity to cross and blend." Of their relation to these "native melodies" on their first recording, their liner notes say: "Deep Forest is the respect of this tradition which humanity should cherish as a treasure which marries world harmony, a harmony often compromised today. That's why the musical creation of Deep Forest has received the support of UNESCO and of two musicologists, Hugo Zempe [sic] and Shima [sic] Aron [sic], who collected the original documents." [End Page 155]
The second reference here is to Simha Arom, another CNRS ethnomusicologist, whose recordings of Central African pygmy music are sampled on many of Deep Forest's tracks. In fact much of the music on Deep Forest involves pygmy references, and the theme of the African rain forest and its peoples is announced strongly in the CD's music and packaging. Indeed, the introductory song, also titled "Deep Forest," begins with a very deep and resonant voice that announces (in English): "Somewhere deep in the jungle are living some little men and women. They are your past. Maybe they are your future."
This particular mix of respectful reverence and primitivist caricature creates the celebratory ambience of Deep Forest, and it struck a financially responsive chord. The recording has attracted a huge audience worldwide, selling approximately four million copies and appearing in several editions and remixes. Several songs, including "Sweet Lullaby," appeared in video form; several, again including "Sweet Lullaby," were also licensed as background music for TV commercials by, among others, Neutrogena, Coca-Cola, Porsche, Sony, and The Body Shop (fig. 3).
In 1996 Hugo Zemp wrote an article in the Yearbook for Traditional Music, ethnomusicology's main international journal; his piece was one of four on the theme of ethnomusicology and the politics of global sound recording (Zemp 1996; Feld 1996; Mills 1996; Seeger 1996). In this article Zemp (1996, 44-49) [End Page 156] spoke out about his presumed "support" for Deep Forest--indeed, he sharply challenged the legal and moral circumstances of UNESCO's contractual relationship to the recording. His protest contains the following key narrative points:
Noriko Aikawa, UNESCO's Chief of Cultural Heritage, from the division in charge of their recording series, contacted Zemp in 1992 to seek his permission to license to Deep Forest samples from a UNESCO recording he had made in West Africa. Zemp was told that Deep Forest wished to sample several UNESCO recordings for a project in honor of Earth Day; UNESCO was willing to grant license for the samples as long as Zemp and the other recordists agreed, and if the source musicians and recordings were properly credited. Zemp listened to a Deep Forest extract over the phone and refused to give his permission; in opposition he encouraged Aikawa and UNESCO to support projects that more directly benefit indigenous musics and musicians.
Sometime later Francis Bebey called Zemp, urging him to reconsider his refusal. Of this episode Zemp (1996, 45) writes: "Since Bebey, a well known African composer and musician (who wrote also a book on traditional African music), gave his personal support to the matter, I reconsidered my point of view, and out of respect to him, I said O.K. on the telephone to him. After all, I thought, it was for a justifiable aim: preserving and protecting tropical rain forests in the world."
Zemp's next encounter with the recording was unrelated. After Deep Forest was released, Le Chant du Monde, the publisher of the ethnomusicological record series Zemp directs at the Musée de l'Homme, informed him that Deep Forest had, without license, sampled material from an African recording in the museum series. Le Chant du Monde pursued the case, eventually winning an out-of-court financial settlement from Celine Music.
Only after this episode, plus press reports of the CD's mounting marketplace success and two letters from overseas colleagues inquiring about his advertised complicity in Deep Forest, did Zemp actually receive and listen to a copy of the CD. While he heard no samples taken from his West African UNESCO recording, he was quite surprised by the sampling of Afunakwa's "Rorogwela" for "Sweet Lullaby." He had never been asked for his consent to use any material from his Solomon Islands recording (figs. 4 and 5). Then, moved by hearing "Sweet Lullaby" as background music for a shampoo commercial on French TV, Zemp requested meetings with both Francis Bebey and Noriko Aikawa.
Francis Bebey confirmed that he had been enlisted by the producer at Celine Music to persuade Zemp to reconsider. Bebey's subsequent letter to Celine Music, quoted by Zemp (1996, 47), put it this way: "Mr. Zemp, after making sure that I [End Page 157] really believed in the value of using his recordings in the context of a modern musical creation as yours, was remarkably courteous and understanding. At the end of our telephone conversation, he consented to let you use forty seconds of music taken from his disc . . . I hope that this allows you to finish your project for The Day of the Earth successfully. Yours . . ." Based on this letter and their meeting Zemp decided that Celine Music had misled Bebey to believe that the recording was a limited release for a noncommercial purpose, comparable to other UNESCO recordings.
In his meeting with Noriko Aikawa, Zemp reviewed three items in the UNESCO correspondence file. First was Aikawa's letter to Auvidis (the company that holds licensing rights on UNESCO's behalf) indicating that Zemp had denied permission for his West African recording to be sampled. Second, there was a letter from Celine Music to Auvidis asking for confirmation that Zemp had reconsidered. Finally, there was a subsequent letter from Auvidis to Aikawa, asking UNESCO to confirm the authorization and to state whether rights should be given freely or to specify the required payment. What Zemp then discovered was that Aikawa never answered the letter from Auvidis, and that Auvidis never answered the contingent letter from Celine Music. In other words, Zemp discovered that UNESCO authorized no sampling of his recordings to Auvidis or to Celine Music. This would indicate that Celine Music and Deep Forest acted solely on the basis of Francis Bebey's letter, treating it as a legally binding document. None of this addressed why UNESCO contacted Zemp only about his West African recording and not the Solomon Islands one.
Zemp (1996, 48-49) wrote to Deep Forest in July 1996, denouncing their usurpation of his name and requesting compensation to the Baegu community for the use of "Rorogwela." They answered two months later, insisting that their project had the full authorization of Auvidis (Sanchez and Mouquet 1996). But in the meantime Zemp had already received a contrary letter, from Auvidis's director, Louis Bricard, asserting that no such permission had ever been authorized. Bricard's letter also confirms that Celine Music's lawyer had, in February 1992, requested authorizations for sampling from UNESCO discs, including the ones Zemp recorded in West Africa and the Solomon Islands. But he indicated that Auvidis, hearing from UNESCO of Zemp's initial refusal, signed no agreement and informed Celine Music's lawyer of the impasse in March 1992 (Bricard 1996).
Faced with reconciling Deep Forest's claim that their project had legal license, and Auvidis's claim that no such authorization was signed, Zemp wrote a postscript to his Yearbook for Traditional Music article, concluding: "somebody (Deep [End Page 158] Forest or Auvidis) is lying." This statement was never printed. It was cut by the journal's editor, who informed Zemp that neither the journal nor its parent academic organization, the International Council for Traditional Music (both, ironically, sponsored by UNESCO), could afford the risk of possible legal action from either the combination of Deep Forest, Celine Music, and Sony, or from UNESCO and Auvidis. In the three years since there has been no other resolution. Zemp's further requests for clarification from all parties have gone largely unanswered. For their part, Deep Forest has successfully used the music press to present themselves as guardians of respect; when pressed on questions of sampling ethics they have made themselves out as would-be victims of academic purists (for example, Goldman 1995; Prior 1996).
Pygmy (sic) Lullaby
Aside from Zemp's chilling article, something else important happened to Afunakwa's lullaby in 1996. An acoustic and instrumental adaptation of "Rorogwela" was recorded by Jan Garbarek, a Norwegian saxophonist, on his ECM CD titled Visible World. Garbarek didn't encounter "Rorogwela" though Zemp's UNESCO recording but rather through Deep Forest. Since Deep Forest gave no source for "Sweet Lullaby," Garbarek assumed that the song originated in Central Africa, at the site of many of the CD's sources. So on Visible World his adaptation is titled [End Page 159] "Pygmy Lullaby," and the liner notes credit the composition as "a traditional African melody, arranged by Jan Garbarek."
On Deep Forest, the use of synthesizers, samplers, and drum machines take "Rorogwela" from ethnomusicological aura (the primitive "your past") to global forest groove (the modernist "maybe . . . your future"). But on Visible World this ethno-techno sound clock is transformed into an acoustic and spiritual soundscape. With stark reverb, new age arpeggios, and suggestion of plagal cadence, Garbarek harmonizes Afunakwa's "Rorogwela" to the modal style of Protestant hymnody and sweetly delivers the melody on soprano saxophone in the romantic "smooth jazz" radio format style associated with Kenny G (fig. 6).
This prayer-like "Pygmy Lullaby" was on my mind when I went to a music globalization seminar in Norway in June 1998 to discuss my research on "pygmy pop," the history of jazz, rock, and avant-garde appropriations and extensions of musics from Central Africa's rainforest peoples (Feld 1996). While not Africa-derived, Garbarek's "Pygmy Lullaby" nonetheless bore an interesting relationship to trends in the genre. It seemed an example of the kind of second-generation schizophonic mimesis that was becoming popular in the softer, kinder, and gentler (also often ethnically whiter) mid- to late-1990s world music scene. Where global pop's first generation of sampled electronic versions of indigenous musics was becoming old news, the marketplace was now greeting many examples of refashioned acoustic versions [End Page 160] of the same or similar material, following on the tremendous commercial success of "unplugged" recordings, a trend MTV initiated for rock in 1989.
One of the seminar participants was Marit Lie of Norway's NRK radio. Having presented programs of Garbarek's music, she volunteered to contact him about the "Pygmy Lullaby" story. When she did Garbarek acknowledged Deep Forest's "Sweet Lullaby" as his source and registered surprise and some dismay about his miscredit. But, comparing himself to Edvard Grieg, Garbarek claimed folk music to be an important source of inspiration for him and not a scholarly preoccupation, where attention to source origins might matter more. He told her that he could not do anything about the printed attribution on Visible World, but that he would correct the title if he performed the song in concert.
While Garbarek's response indicated concern, it didn't address the underlying legal and financial relationship, or rather lack of it, that he and ECM have to the original composer and performer. By law, of course, Garbarek and ECM owe nothing to the Baegu community and to Afunakwa. The historical accident that makes this possible is that her "Rorogwela" was created within and circulates through what is called oral tradition. Academically that means that her song typically circulates in an aural and oral economy, without an underlying written or notated form. Legally, however, the term oral tradition can easily be manipulated, from signifying that which is vocally communal to signifying that which belongs to no one in particular. When that happens, the notion of oral tradition can mask both the existence of local canons of ownership and the existence of local consequences for taking without asking. Consequently, in the hands of a Western music lawyer, oral tradition is a concept that might more easily protect those who wish to cheaply acquire indigenous cultural property, and rather less to protect indigenous cultural property or its originators. The phrase arranged by (as in "arranged by Jan Garbarek") further naturalizes this power relationship, separating and distancing the creative work of musicians and recording companies from the "traditions" of their muses (on the moral and legal complexities of these matters, see Frith 1993; Mills 1996; Seeger 1992; Ziff and Rao 1998).
The local Norwegian dimension of this minor world music saga would have ended there, save for the fact that it played out just as ECM was about to release a major Garbarek double CD project, titled Rites. Indeed, Rites includes a booklet documenting the acclaimed relationship between Garbarek and ECM. Over the twenty-eight year period from 1970-98 Garbarek was featured as a leader on twenty-three ECM recordings and as a participant on another twenty-seven. Rites both celebrates and extends this history, again indicating how Garbarek's compositions [End Page 161] and performances link and blur the genres usually called jazz, classical, and folk. They involve numerous crossings of acoustic and electronic, improvised and written, vocal and instrumental, art and popular, Western European and non-Western European musical styles. Garbarek's ECM recordings feature a veritable who's who of global contemporary jazz, indigenous, and avant-pop worlds. He has also worked with distinguished European art orchestras, string and brass groups, and vocalists--for example, with the medieval-music specialist Hilliard Ensemble, collaborating on Officium, one of ECM's best-selling recordings (Griffiths 1999).
So just when, or maybe just because, Garbarek's music and accomplishments were, with the release of Rites, once again news in the Norwegian music world, one of Marit Lie's NRK colleagues seemed particularly interested that someone might be asking a few atypical questions about Garbarek's repertory. NRK's Per Kristian Olsen then called me to discuss the "Pygmy Lullaby" story, and I suggested that he also contact Hugo Zemp. These interviews were edited into a short broadcast on NRK's 15 September edition of Kulturnytt (Culture News).
In the opening to the program Per Kristian Olsen indicates that Garbarek has been criticized for his use of indigenous music on Visible World. He then plays some of Garbarek's "Pygmy Lullaby," misidentifying the song's source as the Samoa (not Solomon) Islands. Olsen says that Deep Forest and Garbarek "earned millions" from the song but that the recordist and performer didn't get "a penny." My voice follows, and is translated, to say that Western copyright law is not comprehensive enough to equitably include indigenous cultures, creating a new kind of imperialism, one that musicians and record companies must engage rather than avoid.
Olsen then says that Garbarek was interviewed by Kulturnytt and that he repudiated these notions. But, he says, Garbarek called an hour later to withdraw his interview, refusing further comment. Olsen then indicates that Zemp, who made the recording in Samoa (sic), is disillusioned by these events. The piece closes with Zemp's voice (in English), addressing Garbarek: "So I would ask you, would you accept to correct this on the next reissue? Would you also accept to send part of the royalties you get from this record to the Solomon Islands, where it can be used for promotion and preservation of cultural heritage?"
A few weeks later Marit Lie called me to say that Jan Garbarek was extremely upset by Per Kristian Olsen's program. Indeed, Garbarek had written to the NRK accusing Olsen, Zemp, and me of lies that tarnished his reputation. She said she would get me an audio copy of the radio program and generously offered to translate it. [End Page 162]
But before these arrived I received a surprise phone call, on 12 October, from Jan Garbarek. He wasted no time asking if I had branded him a thief to the NRK. He said that he did not hear me say this but that it was implied in the program's introduction. I explained that my concern was not to attack him personally but to raise the issue of ownership inequities in intellectual and cultural property. He said he was relieved to hear that my concerns were structural and not specific to him. Nonetheless he said he wanted NRK to issue an apology because Per Kristian Olsen's statements were misleading. He said that the program singled him out, giving listeners the impression that he hadn't paid for songs he recorded.
On this point Garbarek stressed, repeatedly, that he had indeed paid for "Pygmy Lullaby" because in Norway, TONO, the national collecting agency, splits the revenues from songs attributed to oral tradition between the performer and a fund to promote "folk music." TONO judges, on a percentage basis, what portion of a recorded song is a uniquely new arrangement and performance and what portion is the source material. In the case of "Pygmy Lullaby" TONO considered 50 percent of the song to be Garbarek's original work. From his point of view the 50 percent of withheld royalties (whether or not they went to the song's original source) constituted compensation for the use of oral tradition material. After this call I sent Garbarek a letter reviewing my concerns, enclosing copies of the articles Zemp and I had written for the 1996 Yearbook for Traditional Music. Crossing with this in the mail, I was surprised to receive a gift of Rites, inscribed "I'm glad you didn't say what NRK quoted!"
Meanwhile, I continued to hear from Norway that Garbarek felt accused by NRK of not paying royalties. Arguing that he had handled all of his TONO obligations precisely as required, he insisted that his case against Kulturnytt be reviewed by the highest broadcasting review board. The review that followed upheld Kulturnytt's integrity. The report stated that culture journalism in Norway was once typically less critical in style and that Kulturnytt's current approach was welcome, although it could be accomplished with more accuracy. This comment was not a reference to Per Kristian Olsen's confusion of Samoa with the Solomon Islands; rather it was a reference to the inaccurate statement that Garbarek was "earning millions from Third World musics." The decision also stated some sympathy for Garbarek's predicament, reminding the NRK that the effect of criticism may be hurtful, even if the content is technically correct.
The matter didn't end there. Unsatisfied by NRK's response, Garbarek then asked the Norwegian Press Council, the highest journalism body in the country, to review the case, documenting his grievances in a 17 November letter of over [End Page 163] 2,500 words. The Norwegian Press Council agreed to review the case, even though they more typically deal with social and political complaints involving censorship and free speech. First among Garbarek's grievances was that NRK personalized the story. In this context he cited our phone conversation as evidence that Per Kristian Olsen had overstated my concerns. Then, insisting that he adequately paid through TONO for the use of any unoriginal material, he argued that he could hardly be held accountable for a prior error that was made by Deep Forest. He said that he was open to correcting the song title, if and when it was proven to him that he was in fact in error (thereby refusing to take NRK and its "experts" at their word). But most critically, Garbarek insisted that NRK's program insinuated that he generally gave wrong information or ignored the ownership of indigenous property. In this way he said that NRK had manipulated the feelings of its listeners, making him into "the one who shot the Bambi." In short, Garbarek built a lengthy and emotional case that he was the victim of zealous journalism founded on misinformation. The Norwegian Press Council was convinced by this appeal, indicating, in February 1999, that they sided with Garbarek and against the vindication of "Culture News" by the prior broadcasting board review (Lie 1999).
Of the many twists and turns of the "Rorogwela" variations, this Norwegian phase plays out in a distinctively national mediated space, focused around radio journalism and the stakes in critical discourse. As the events unfolded around Garbarek's protests, anthropologist Odd Are Berkaak responded to their shape by seeing how the Norwegian media were staging a distinct nationalist drama. He read it as "a morality play where the central issue in the Royal Norwegian ethos is being threatened, that of being the Global Samaritan. Jan Garbarek is the national moral icon who is now falling from grace like the tragic heroes of the melodrama. On next week's episode of JanWatch: will he be thrown into the dungeon forever or will he be restored to the throne?" (Berkaak 1998).
At the same time, from an engaged position in Norwegian music journalism, the irony of what transpired pleased Marit Lie. She felt that owing to Jan Garbarek's high profile, the issue of copyright and ownership inequities for indigenous musics was thrust more substantially into the Norwegian public arena than ever before, writing, "If he was a nobody, there would never have been any discussion around it" (Lie 1998). Ultimately, it may be less significant that Garbarek prevailed with the Norwegian Press Council than that the resulting publicity moved UNESCO's Norway branch to seek a meeting with Noriko Aikawa. [End Page 164]
Whose Master('s) Voice?
Much more could be detailed about these versions of "Rorogwela," and the sonic, aesthetic, and political issues they raise. Much too could be added about why nobody knows whether "Sweet Lullaby" or "Pygmy Lullaby" have had a hearing or response from Afunakwa or the Baegu community. But even this introductory accounting begins to make clear how companies, performers, recordists, organizations, and media can now find their identities embroiled in complex multilocal song histories. These histories can be reviewed as signs of anxious and celebratory contradictions in world music and as signs of globalization's uneven naturalization.
First, the world music story has something to say about power under globalization, specifically the fraught politics of the copy, as revealed by chains of schizophonic mimesis. In Mimesis and Alterity, Michael Taussig writes: "Once the mimetic has sprung into being, a terrifically ambiguous power is established; there is born the power to represent the world, yet that same power is a power to falsify, mask and pose. The two powers are inseparable" (1993, 42-43). Here those two inseparable powers are productive of the anxiety and celebration that links aura to authenticity, creativity to caricature, difference to dominance. Critically, the musicians who made "Sweet Lullaby" and "Pygmy Lullaby" didn't need to know the name Afunakwa, the name "Rorogwela," or the song's actual geographic location. From the initial standpoint of the sampler, Afunakwa is not a person but a sound; from the subsequent standpoint of the arranger that sound is a melody and not a distinct performance. Thus, when it comes to mimetic power, it is the detachability of their underlying acoustic material that takes precedence over hearing "Rorogwela," "Sweet Lullaby," and "Pygmy Lullaby" as the same song.
These representational politics call out for more historical contextualization, which can in part be accomplished by juxtaposing today's world music with a moment in its prehistory, one hundred years ago, at the close of the nineteenth century. Consider then John Comfort Fillmore, a pianist and pioneer field recordist of Native North America active at that time. In 1895 and 1899 he wrote articles in the Journal of American Folklore and American Anthropologist to argue that natural and universal acoustic laws underlie the latent harmonic logic of Native American vocal melodies. Accordingly, he produced transcriptions of early wax cylinder field recordings in the form of harmonized piano arrangements, and presented them as revelations of what American Indians really meant to sing, but couldn't realize. This work initially suckered the most prominent ethnomusicologist (Frances Densmore) and anthropologist (Franz Boas) of the day, although [End Page 165] both later repudiated Fillmore's methods, recognizing them as reflective more of the romantic nationalism of his compositions (for example, Indian Fantasia Number One for Full Orchestra, 1890) than a scholarly inquiry into acoustic universalism.
One hundred years later, Deep Forest take to their samplers, synthesizers, and drum machines. Listening to old recordings, they search for the natural rhythms; then, in virtual collaborations with the indigenes, they amplify the latent beat they hear inside difference. Listening to that amplification, Jan Garbarek hears yet more; arranging the inner harmonies, he suggests their underlying spirituality. These strains of "world music," like their primitivist and romantic nationalist antecedents, then, are deeply about exploration, about the power and privilege to contact and know, to take away and use. That these blends and mixings are celebrated as liberatory and inspiring, that they unquestionably bring pleasure and stimulation to many, retells a story of the affinities of moderns and primitives. Like varieties of primitivism well chronicled in other domains (for example, Rubin 1984; Clifford 1988, 189-214; Torgovnick 1990; Barkan and Bush 1995), world music creates a voyage of discovery, a sonic experience of contact, an auditory deflowering that penetrates the harmony of difference. And like other sites of discovery, this one provokes the same anxious question: Is world music a form of artistic humiliation, the price primitives pay for attracting the attention of moderns, for gaining entry into their world of representation? (on development and humiliation, see Sahlins 1992).
For recordists or ethnomusicologists, these power and representation themes can be productive of a different humiliation: complicity. The despair of seeing documentary projects transform from icons of musical diversity to "raw material" for industrialized neocolonialism surely marks the end of all ethnomusicological innocence. The lesson for researchers is that community trust, academic recognition, and institutional prestige mean little when you are up against international entertainment law, major record companies, the media and marketing world, music collecting agencies, and highly paid, highly protected pop stars. Here they are globalization, and you are a dinosaur. And your action on behalf of local "oral tradition" or "heritage" can become more of a struggle, not less, when your allies, like professional academic societies and their journals, or famous indigenous composer-performers, or even UNESCO, are revealed to be even weaker or more complicit in the whole affair.
But these occasional pains of ethnomusicology seem vastly overwritten by the pleasures of musical participation, and that is still the world music location where celebration rules most. Musicians are having a great time, and they are [End Page 166] very invested in reminding everyone that for them, world music means the joy of playing any kind of music, anywhere in the world, with anyone (live or virtual) they choose. The opportunities are numerous for crossing what were once physical and aesthetic boundaries. Industry has the ability to take big risks in technological and promotional support of those crossings, and musicians are eager to do the exploring, to be identified as voyagers. Audiences are happy; there is plenty to listen to, plenty to buy, plenty to dance to. The marketplace is flooded, with five or six times as many titles as ten years ago. For many consumers this overwhelming amount of product choice is imagined as some kind of sign that democracy prevails, that every voice can be heard, every style can be purchased, everything will be available to everybody. The desire to advertise a democratic vision of world music is central to its industrial success in the West. For example, the world music page in a recent HMV (His Master's Voice) catalog circulated in my Sunday newspaper begins: "The best World Music reminds us of our global community. Great music knows no national boundaries. Much of this year's list has elements of more than one influence with a celebration of sharing."
The advertisement of this democratic and liberal vision for world music embodies an idealism about free-flows, sharing, and choice. But it masks the reality that visibility in product choice is directly related to sales volume, profitability, and stardom. Successful musicians don't just get "royalties," they become "royalty," the princes and princesses of an aesthetic and technological kingdom guarded by sales (Keil and Feld 1994, 321). How else could one read Deep Forest and Jan Garbarek presenting themselves as the victims in a history where they are guaranteed vastly disproportionate gain to their muses? The inability of pop music "royalty" to examine their privilege (Lipsitz 1994, 63), and their lack of reflexivity about how those being curated might see and hear it all quite differently, is a stunning act of narcissism for an industry so invested in a democratic image of collaboration.
In the end, no matter how inspiring the musical creation, no matter how affirming its participatory dimension, the existence and success of world music returns to one of globalization's basic economic clichés: the drive for more and more markets and market niches (Harvey 1989; Kumar 1995). In the cases here, we see how the worlds of small (UNESCO and Auvidis) and large (Sony) and major independent (ECM) music owners and distributors can come into unexpected interaction. We see how production can proceed from the acquisition of a faraway cheap inspiration and labor. We see how exotic Euromorphs can be marketed through newly layered tropes, like green enviroprimitivism, or spiritual new age avant-garde romanticism. We see how what is produced has a place in a [End Page 167] larger industrial music zone of commodity intensification, in this case artistic encounters with indigeneity, as made over in popular Western styles. In all, we see how world music participates in shaping a kind of consumer-friendly multiculturalism, one that follows the market logic of expansion and consolidation. This is the place where a "sweet lullaby" might resonate most as a fitting musical trope for globalization's capital project. Drifting off, the dream desires of technological and artistic elites are jolted by market cycles of agitated wakefulness. Then, blanketed in promotion, they are once more cradled and lulled on a firm mattress of stark inequities and padded mergers, and nurtured at the corporate breast.
Steven Feld teaches anthropology at New York University. His work as a sound recordist includes the CD Voices of the Rainforest. As a musician he has played with Bonefied, TG3, Leadbelly Legacy, and Live Action Brass Band. His "Notes on World Beat" appeared in the first issue of Public Culture.
* Thanks to Afunakwa, Deep Forest, and Jan Garbarek for the unending mix of celebration and anxiety in their recordings of Rorogwela; to Marit Lie, Odd Are Berkaak, and Hugo Zemp for their friendship, comments, and provision of documents; to Arjun Appadurai, Veit Erlmann, Lisa Henderson, Alison Leitch, David Samuels, Tim Taylor, and Public Culture's readers for suggestions; and to Spring 1999 colloquia audiences at Mt. Holyoke College, Amherst College, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and Wesleyan University. As I drafted this essay, my grandmother, Anna Ross Feld, died halfway through her 102nd year. I dedicate this to her, remembering how she initiated me into my own music world with "Rozinkes mit Mandlen," a very sweet Yiddish lullaby.
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Figure 3--Deep Forest. © 1992 Celine Music/Synsound 1992 Celine Music/Synsound/550 Music-Epic (Sony Music, Inc.). Produced by Dan Lacksman, arranged by Eric Mouquet and Michel Sanchez. Design and photos: F.A.W.
Figure 4--UNESCO Collection Musical Sources. Fataleka and Baegu Music, Malaita, Solomon Islands. The Primeval Cultures I-1, 1973. (LP) Edited for the International Music Council by the International Institute for Comparative Music Studies and Documentation. General Editor: Alain Daniélou. Recordings, Notes, and Photographs by Hugo Zemp. LP © 1973 Philips/UNESCO.
Figure 5--UNESCO Collection Musiques et Musiciens du Monde/Musics and Musicians of the World. Solomon Islands/Iles Salomon: Fataleka and Baegu Music from Malaita. Recordings, Notes, and Photographs by Hugo Zemp. (CD) Reissue with the support of the French Ministry of Culture and Communication for the International Music Council/Conseil International de la Musique. © Auvidis/IIMSD/UNESCO 1990 Auvidis-UNESCO 1973/1990. Design: Jacques Blanpain.
Figure 6--Jan Garbarek, Visible World. Produced by Manfred Eicher. © 1996 ECM Records. "All compositions by Jan Garbarek except Pygmy Lullaby, an African traditional melody, arranged by Jan Garbarek. . . ." Cover photo: Jan Jedlicka; cover design: Barbara Wojirsch.
"Deep in the Jungle" © 2001. Created and maintained by Deep Forest fans all around the world, working
in harmony to share our love of this global music.