Erenlai - 按標籤顯示項目: performance
週五, 26 四月 2013 12:46

A Vibrant Culture with an Ugly Facade: Honiara and the Pacific Art Festival

Let me admit it: Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands, situated on the Guadalcanal Island, does not strike the visitor with awe. Cavernous Chinese shops filled with all kinds of goods, administrative buildings and houses in concrete scattered around the roads that run parallel to the coastline, commercials for "Solomon Telekom" and the "SolBrew" beer, the two brands that seem to monopolize the advertising expenditures of the country... nothing that really draws the attention. On the hills, a monument adorned with granite plaques recalls the naval battles that ravaged the island during WWII. Modest but numerous Adventist, Catholic and Protestant churches are landmarks all along the way. In the haven and on the beaches, carcasses of warships still lay down, giant ghostly presences. But there is also a kind of softness in the atmosphere, a mixture of gentleness and restraint in people's conduct that, from the start, intrigues and seduces the newcomer.

In Honiara, a wide field has been surrounded by high fences in preparation for the festival, and is divided into two villages – traditional houses hosting on the one side the different provinces and cultural groups from SI, on the other the delegations from abroad, among them the Taiwanese one. A vast public, mainly local, attends the dance and music performances, looks at the handicrafts for show or for sale, marvels at the similarities and differences of languages and customs witnessed from one island to another.

I am usually a bit dreary of festivals and other public events, but this time I find myself thoroughly enjoying the show. I especially like to stay in the SI village, with the huts under the shadow of the giant trees, and to watch the performances offered by tribal groups from the mountains and the coast. The dancers from Isabel Island are my favorites.festivalIsabel05-copyONLINE

Contacts are easy and relaxed. Dancing, panpipes and drums, tattoos, weapons, canoes... I enjoy myself like a child, far away from the megacity of Shanghai where I usually live. Near the main venue of the festival, the little village of Doma, right on the seashore, offers performances from the various tribes living in Guadalcanal Island. Children play on the sand, the music of the drums and that of the waves join into one. The Pacific starts to operate its magic.

Not far away, within walking distance of the fishing village of Lilisiana, the festival gathers local people between the seashore and a lake. The setting is modest, but groups are coming from far away villages, some of them from the mountain bush, and other from the coast. Mathilde, a woman form the Lau tribe, tells me that she takes care alone of a plot of land, where she cultivates cabbage. Her English is quite good: she has worked for five years for a Catholic NGO, she tells me, and in 1997 she even went to the World Youth Day in Paris. She directs the dancers' troop of her village, and performs with much gusto and sense of humor.

Photos by B.V.

The following video is an interview and a performance by Arasuka'aniwara, a panpipe collective from the Solomon Islands:

This video is currently not available for readers in Mainland China.

 


週三, 23 五 2012 18:39

Ash's puppet world

On August 28th 2011, eRenlai went to Taipei's Wolong29 theater to see a puppet show directed by Ash. On the spot, just after the performance, we interviewed Baptiste, an actor and a puppeteer in the show about his first impressions of being in an experimental play.


週二, 27 十二月 2011 16:59

Flowers of Liberty

On October 3rd, 2011, I embarked with dancer Kao Yu-i and musician Yang Zijie on a theatrical tour to Marseille, France. We gave five performances in five different parts of the city. Here is a video excerpt from the fourth performance which took place at the Alcazar library on October 14th:

"Segments from two separate dreams create a beautiful moment shining through lucid shadows
Heading towards an unknown, far away destination, the people gradually disperse
In the dream, everyone has already passed away, gathered in the tranquil darkness;
when an object is stripped to its essence, the only thing we can see out from the darkness, is light
Dead branches protrude awkwardly from the lifeless beaches, yet sprout new roots
I hope you will come and be with me, in the existing and happening present."

(Photo by Yurasleepless)


週二, 18 十月 2011 00:00

Jam Apotheosis

After producing the CD of contemporary world music, eRenlai magazine facilitated three concerts with the participating artists in the compilation. A dozen or so different bands performed their music live to the joy of the audience. For this third and final performance, on September 16, the Tien Educational Center opened its doors to world music for the second time, and it was fitting surroundings, with sound system and lights ready to create an unforgettable night.

Viba and Claire Juan (Photo: C. Tuduri)

From the outset we were embraced by the presence of Viba, previously introduced to me as Paul, I didn’t recognize him and thought he was part of Orbit Folks since we were all on stage doing the sound setup before the concert. It was then I realized that the night was going to blend of different musical styles until the lights went out.

Viba presented his chillout-electronic-world beat on stage with singer Claire Juan. Doing this live requires a lot of talent and knowledge since Viba has a daunting setup of synthesizers, drum machines and one computer. A one-man band triggering crazy ambient samples and loops of smooth rhythms, more than appropriate to open the evening.

Orbit Folks were next on stage, with Martijn Vanbuel (double bass), Toshihiro Wakaike (Indian tabla) and Mike Zeng (piano) combining elements of jazz and tabla to bring us some outer space rhythms. There was an interesting contrast between the Folks and Viba, since their ensemble is completely acoustic whereas Viba is mostly electronic. The band's performance was impressive, all of their members have a strong musical background that was gently delivered to the audience. As in any other jazz concert they included a lot of improvisation showing their mastery of the instruments and preparing the ground for the next band. They played some of their songs like Anouar, Santur and Serenade composed by Martijn Vanbuel and Caravan (by Juan Tizol, arr. by Martijn Vanbuel) and Rahu (by Toshihiro Wakaike, arr. by Martijn).

Comprised of Louis Goldford (soprano sax) Lio Pinard (accordion), Martijn Vanbuel (piano), Kelvin Chuang (bass) and Weichung Lin (drums), Flâneur Daguerre were the next surprise, further raising the excitement in the same hall that once held Taiwan’s first absurdist theatre troupe. Their performance developed finely. I felt like there were fireworks shooting from the stage. The immersion of their music in complexity enabled the band to grab the attention of the audience at all moments. I would love to see this band again; in fact as I write this paragraph I am listening to the track Harvest Drums included in the CD.

The next performance was from Minkoku Hyakunen (Yingfan Huang and You-Sheng Zhang). These guys come from the school of noise and improvisation. They use sounds of all sorts as their source, in stark contrast to the previous bands' use of musical notes. Minkoku's highlight is their stage performance, full of gestures and symbols that are close to a theatrical set and bursting with interesting atmosphere. Their instruments come from temples, such as bells and cymbals in addition to other sound objects. The audience clearly expressed their gratitude at the end of their performance.

Up next was Fao, playing his "Mamba in Solitude" including sampled Chinese flutes, guqin (古琴), Indian tabla and electronic sounds permeating through the crowds. Fao is a Colombian composer searching for new sounds in Asia. We thoroughly enjoyed his piece since it is a mixture of Latin rhythms (such as cumbia) with Chinese instruments around an Amazonian ritual.

To close the night Fao, Louis Goldford and myself quickly schemed together a few guidelines to improvise on for the grand finale with the rest of the participating musicians. On stage we had tabla, two saxophones, guitar, electronics, piano, drums, double bass and more. This was the first time we had played together and it erupted into an explosion of excitement rippling through the whole theater, the perfect was to close this celebration of the meeting of cultures and music.

Overall the CD and the concerts were a success and this was an admirable gesture from Renlai to provide the infrastructure and vision to put this idea together and hopefully provide the building blocks for future world music development in Taiwan. I just hope this is not the last time it happens. Thanks to all the musicians who participated in the CD. And thanks too to the enthusiastic public who embraced this mixture of music.

Renlai Concert #3 - Part 1

Renlai Concert #3 - Part 2

Videos filmed and edited by Pinti Zheng


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Photos courtesy of Paul Moysan

 

 


週三, 22 六月 2011 16:45

Artaud in acts

This article is part of the special issue of Renlai#84 dedicated to theatre in Taiwan. Also watch an interview of director Zheng Zhizong.

Act I: The challenge Artaud

On the 6th of April 1933, Antonin Artaud (1896 -1948) gave a lecture at the University of La Sorbonne. This lecture, entitled “Le Theatre et la Peste”, would become an important chapter of his main essay on theater theory (Le Theatre et son Double) and was a total experience for the audience, the majority of whom left before the end, laughing and booing Artaud. He had started his speech in an academic way, explaining first to his audience that many masterpieces of art and marvelous plays emerged during the Great Plague in Europe; men whipped by the fear of death would search for immortality and surpass themselves with desperate creativity and quest for the sublime. The writer Anaïs Nin who attended the lecture described it in her diary:

“But then, imperceptibly almost, he let go of the thread we were following and began to act out dying by plague. No one quite knew when it began. To illustrate his conference, he was acting out an agony. "La Peste" in French is so much more terrible than "The Plague" in English. But no word could describe what Artaud acted on the platform of the Sorbonne... His face was contorted with anguish; one could see the perspiration dampening his hair. His eyes dilated, his muscles became cramped, his fingers struggled to retain their flexibility. He made one feel the parched and burning throat, the pains, the fever, the fire in the guts. He was in agony. He was screaming. He was delirious. He was enacting his own death, his own crucifiction.” (Anaïs Nin, The Diary, 1931-1934, New York, 1966)

Later on, Artaud explained to Nin that he wanted to awaken his audience, he wanted to make them understand that they were already dead, that the agony he was acting was not only his but that of every living person. In 1933, in front of an audience of scholars, students, curious intellectuals, Artaud came up against their misunderstanding of his meaning, his art and his very own self. In fact, although he was not ignored and unknown at this time, his fame and influence seem to have really developed after his death and he became unavoidable in the theatrical experiences of the sixties in France and in Europe in general. When the English theater director Peter Brook created his experimental theater company in 1964 outside the Royal Shakespeare Company, he devoted it to the Theater of Cruelty, insisting himself on recalling that “they were all the children of Artaud”.

So, where are the children of Artaud now? And what are they up to? To introduce Artaud, to read his work, to listen to his voice seem more relevant than ever in the context of the time being when art is fully marketed and omnipresent on TV, on the Internet and in the streets. Something similar is also at stake in the importance of theater per se. Some think that cinema can replace theater or that theater is too elitist and too intellectual. But real theater, “pure theater” as Artaud would say, is nothing but life; on stage, a gesture can never be repeated the same because it is live and because of that special link with the spectator who experiences the action simultaneously. Theater, like dance is part of the most primitive and intuitive living arts and this is precisely what Artaud advocated in the radicalism and extremism that characterized his life and his work.

Antonin Artaud bequeathed a prolific written work composed of poems, essays, letters and a play but also drawings, paintings and recordings.  Artaud might not seem easy to read or to approach and he can even be strongly disturbing. But this is also precisely why we should want to know about him, why we should reach towards his work, because he challenges our certainties and our subjective markers, he puts us in contact with the “danger zone”.

Act II: Life and death, beauty and pain

02-Antonin-Artaud-1926-First of all, the story of his life was at the same time tragic and dazzling with pain. Born in 1896 in Marseille, he died from cancer in 1948 in Paris at the age of 51 years old. He spent almost 9 years of his life in several asylums from which he was released in 1946. In the last asylum, he received 58 sessions of electroshock treatment which made him lose all his teeth; at his exit from the hospital, he looked like an old man. If one compares two photos of him from his prime youth and from his last years, the contrast is even more striking between the beauty of the young actor who could embody the lover in romantic movies and the wizened man with the wrinkled forehead, the twisted hands and the toothless mouth… It is notorious that Artaud had several mental problems even since his childhood; he also abused drugs either in order to “cure” himself (ease his pain) or to experiment with shamanic journeys. Artaud always had an ambiguous relation to his own “state” as he would both claim to be conscious of the potential given to him by his “mental illness” while he was also always protesting against the treatments he received at the asylums.

So, the young Artaud who came to Paris in 1920 wanted to be a poet at first. He also knew how to draw and about critiquing art. He was outstandingly handsome and also wished to become an actor. He published his first collection of poems in 1923. At the same time, he joined different theater companies and acted in several movies, one of which was Carl Theodor Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc. He also wrote the scenario for the first Surrealist film, The Seashell and the Clergyman, directed by Germaine Dulac.

Meanwhile, Artaud was excluded from the Surrealist group in 1926 after publishing his first manifesto on theater which gave the premises of his theater theories.  He affirmed then that theater must be a dangerous act from which neither actors nor spectators should come back intact. Together with two other French writers, he created the Theatre Alfred-Jarry which marked the first important step in Artaud’s career and development on stage.  He continued writing several essays on theater and in 1932, he published his first manifesto on Theater of Cruelty which targeted “the magic sources of a sacred theater, the theater of a poetic, musical and plastic use of space…”

In 1938, his collection of texts on theater was published: The Theatre and Its Double (Le Théâtre et son Double).

Artaud travelled, he discovered Mexico in 1936 where he spent one month in the Sierra with the Tarahamura Indians and was initiated to their shamanic rites.  In 1937, as he returned from a stormy trip to Ireland where he got jailed for vagrancy, he was committed without consultation in a psychiatric institution near Rouen. He then spent 9 years in 4 different asylums.  He was finally released in 1946 and warmly welcomed by his friends in Paris who organized sales by auction for his profit. Artaud wrote and published numerous texts, he participated in projects such as radio shows and gave his last lectures in the theater of le Vieux Colombier in Paris where, once again, he puzzled his audience by telling in his unique style the story of his life in the asylums and his struggle with evil forces…  A writer present that day would later comment that “when he appeared on the stage […], when he started to declaim with his hoarse voice, interrupted by tragic sobs and stutters, his poems barely audible – we felt dragged in the danger zone…” (Justin Saget (aka Maurice Saillet), Combat, 24 January 1947).

Act III: Cruelty

artaud_vieuxThus, Artaud’s name is often associated to violence, scandal and all sorts of clashes with his peers, as for example his violent polemics with the surrealists, or his provocative statements such as “All writing is pigshit” and “I write for the illiterate”. Artaud seems to question the completeness and the finishing of artwork, he explores all forms of writings and prefers the ones similar to the burst of the speech, a speech then similar to a cry, which converges to create the dissonance necessary to the act of cruelty. In 1947, he recorded for the French radio a show entitled “To Have Done with the Judgement of God” (Pour en finir avec le jugement de dieu) which was censored before its first broadcast: even without understanding French, one can already feel the organic explosion of Artaud’s voice. This is more than a scansion, this is also an eruption of cries, screams and all sort of noises that the body can produce, one is not even sure anymore if it is Artaud uttering this voice or this voice filling up Artaud.

So the theater of cruelty could be first of all about surpassing the anatomic limits of the body, create on stage a “hiatus”, a new human body which would not be anymore only the vessel of language but a language itself. Indeed, Artaud reproaches to the traditional theater of his time its imprisonment in a fossilized language which becomes then only an empty form of a meaningless representation. When Artaud sees some Balinese theater in 1931, he receives a real aesthetic shock, for him, the Balinese theater represents the purest expression of a physical language: “In this theater all creation comes from the stage, finds its expression and its origins alike in a secret psychic impulse which is Speech before words” (The Theatre and Its Double). Then, Artaud formulates his project of an art, a poetry and a theory of theater that would shatter the false reality by expressing on stage the mystery and the sacredness of existence. “The theater of cruelty is not a representation. It is life itself, in the extent to which life is unrepresentable. Life is the nonrepresentable origin of representation. ‘I have therefore said “cruelty” as I might have said “life”’ (The Theater and Its Double).

Artaud finds the essence of life and the expression of the living in the transgression, the experimentation and somehow also the destruction of life itself. Artaud conjugates at the same time beauty and ugliness, madness and genius. In fact, he is dually a disturbed and a disturbing writer; in the first place because of his own madness which was never clearly diagnosed by his psychiatrists, in the second place because despite the destabilizing form of his thinking, we can still relate to his work and his views; would it be possible that no artist, poet, performer or director could find a resonance or a call in his provocative ideas? Without exaggeration, one could say that Artaud has set a milestone in the theories of theater and its performance; whether we like it or not, whether we know it or not, we are all Artaud’s children.

Article also available in Chinese


“To Have Done with the Judgement of God” (Pour en finir avec le jugement de dieu) is available at the Pacifica Radio Archives

 

 

 


週二, 07 六月 2011 18:49

Beauty in Cruelty


At the end of April of this year, the Dark Eyes Lab launched their new collaborative production ‘A Crash Course in Modern Theatre: Theatre of Cruelty, Absurd Theatre and Anti-Theatre’, a part of which was the stunning Beauty 2011, which was put under the label of Theatre of Cruelty, a play that was first performed in 2000 by the Oz Theatre Company and was performed several times until the dissolution of the company in 2004. This is the first time it has been performed since then.

I'm not sure exactly why, but I started liking the Dark Eyes Performance Lab a while ago, perhaps it was because, without dialogue or scripts, it is the actions and expressions of the actors which allow the audience to experience their performance in a very physical way. In a similar way to Charlie Chaplin's silent movies, they use exaggerated movement and expressions to make the audience laugh, but we don't really question why we are laughing. Are we laughing at the pain of others? Is the nature of laughter cruel in itself? In Modern Times Chaplin falls onto a conveyor belt of a production line, he rolls back and forth comically. But is it funny? In the world after the Industrial Revolution, humanity is pushed towards standardization, humanity becomes but a screw holding together the machinery of the production line, the symbolic,the symbolism of the big gears lead to his insane behaviour. When the mask of humour drops, the cruel reality is revealed.

When I was watching Beauty 2011, some of the audience was laughing out loud, this laughter is just the same as the laughter at Chaplin's silent films, rending and piercing, which reveals its latent cruelty. The first actor to come out on stage chewed a steamed bun with an ecstatic expression on his face, the steamed bun looked (fragrant and sweet), as if the flavour came out more and more with every chew, enough to make you hungry for a taste. After undergoing a series of rituals, the other actor is at last ready to receive the sacred steamed bun, one mouthful at a time, enjoying the feeling of her mouth being stuffed full of it. However, her mouth, full to overflowing makes it hard for her to swallow, completely stopping up her mouth, with not a sliver of space remaining. She still forces a smile as she is force-fed more steamed buns. If in the pursuit of beautiful things we manage to chase down our prey, is it not akin to that crazy scene of excess; Wanting to vomit, but not wanting to waste the hard-earned steam bun? Even having regurgitated it and spat it out, the impulse to pick it back up and stuff it back into her mouth overpowers. The scene repeated ad infinitum, attains the nuance of cruelty. How is it cruel? The cruel is something that goes beyond physical pain, a kind of extreme psychological torture. In an interview with director Zheng Zhizhong, he said: "In 2004 when I was putting my actors through the Yuquan special training program, I already thought that their bodies did not have the tension required. They had to hold 1.8 litre milk bottles in both hands, and raise them above their heads; this kind of training program trained their bodies to have more endurance." The weight of 1.8 litre milk bottles to an untrained body seems cruel; it requires one to overcome psychological barriers. Like the psychological wall people report running into at a certain stage of a marathon, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. When the will and the body become at odds with each other it is also has a nuance of cruelty. In Beauty 2011, the will of the actor drives them to keep swallowing the steamed buns, but their body is unable to take any more. If the actors had not gone through the Yuquan special training program, perhaps their performance would not have attained the desired goal.

Rather than analysing to what extent Beauty 2011 conforms to Artaud's concept of the Theatre of Cruelty, it would almost be better to take Beauty 2011 as an embodiment of Artaud's condition: a condition in which the will is split from the body. This split shrouded Artaud for the whole of his life, inside his mind roamed free, but this resulted in the imprisonment of his body in a mental asylum, which made the split between the two only more pronounced. Although Artaud only ever suggested the concept of a Theatre of Cruelty, and that it has never been put into practice in performance, I think that Artaud in himself was an instance of this theatre, any attempt to represent the Theatre of Cruelty on stage signals the return of the unremitting spectre that is Artaud.

Article by Ida Yang, translated by Conor Stuart

Taiwanese director Zheng Zhizhong discusses his recent performance of "Beauty 2011" in a recent three-part introduction to Modern Theatre.


週三, 23 三月 2011 10:09

Music as a Marker of Human Migrations

Debate on the question of how and why music varies cross-culturally was recently reawakened by the provocative claim that traces of the ancient migration of anatomically modern humans out of Africa can be heard in contemporary songs (Grauer 2006). Grauer‟s claim drew on data from the landmark Cantometrics Project (Lomax 1968), which remains the only global scientific study of human song. At the time, Lomax‟s causal interpretation of the correlation between culture and music – for example, male dominance causing nasal singing – was highly criticized even by other members of the Cantometrics Project (e.g., Erickson 1976).

While Grauer‟s recent migratory interpretation avoids Lomax‟s pitfall, many of the original criticisms of the Cantometrics Project resurfaced in skepticism about music‟s time-depth as a migration marker (e.g., Stock 2006). Could the acoustic surface of music really reflect ancient connections between cultures? If so, are these reflected in performance features (“singing”) or in the structural features (“song”) traditionally emphasized in Western musicology?

Lomax himself was highly critical of the use of Western musical notation in ethnomusicology, which he saw as emphasizing surface structural features at the expense of deeper performance features. He spent his life developing a performance-oriented approach that was concerned “not with songs abstracted from the stream of vocalizing we encountered on the tapes, but with the stream itself, with „singing‟” (Lomax 1980). Nevertheless, the Cantometric classification scheme that Lomax and Grauer (1968) developed contained roughly equal numbers of features devoted to “songs” and “singing”.

Our own view differs from both Lomax‟s and his critics‟ in that we propose that the structural features of song should have the greatest time-depth to track migrations, especially when applied to group performance in choral songs. Our reasoning is that structural features such as melody, texture and form require greater consensus among singers than the more idiosyncratic variation that goes into performance, such as timbre or ornamentation. Hence, features like scales and rhythms should be more stable over time than features like nasality or rubato.

These claims are testable. As a case-study to examine music‟s time-depth in the context of human migrations , we have examined the traditional choral music of the aboriginal tribes of Taiwan, who have been well-studied in terms of music, genetics, and migrations. (Loh 1982; Trejaut et al. 2005; Diamond 2000). Our primary aim, therefore, was to use existing information about the relative patterns of genetic and musical similarity among the Taiwanese aboriginal tribes to empirically test for the first time whether song structure or singing style has the time-depth required for studying human migrations. Our basic method was to compare music – a marker of unknown time-depth – against the best available marker with a well-established time-depth, namely mitochondrial DNA (Oppenheimer 2004).

METHOD

Participants

Of the 14 officially recognized tribes of Taiwan, eight had a sufficient number of both genetic and musical samples to permit comparative analysis: Amis, Bunun, Paiwan, Puyuma, Rukai, Saisiyat, Tao (Yami), and Tsou.

Materials

Genetics: Partial mtDNA sequences for 531 individuals from these eight tribes were taken from the dataset of Trejaut et al. (2005).

Music: YW and SB obtained 364 traditional songs from these eight tribes from commercial and archival ethnomusicological recordings. Restricting our sample to adult, choral songs left 222 songs for analysis. Sample sizes were: Amis=56, Bunun=31, Paiwan=28, Puyuma=32, Rukai=33, Saisiyat=14, Tao=13, Tsou=15.

Procedure

Distances between samples: Pairwise distances between individual a) genetic, and b) musical samples were calculated based on the number of pair-wise differences between a) mtDNA nucleotide sequences, and b) Cantometric classifications. This is the simplest possible distance measurement, as it makes no evolutionary assumptions about how those differences arose. We reserve more complicated methods that incorporate models of musical and genetic evolution for future studies.

Cantometric classification of the songs was done by VG. Two separate musical distance-matrices were calculated: one using the 15 song-structure characters from Cantometrics, the other using the 14 singing-style characters (see Figure 1 for details about these features). Eight Cantometric characters related to instruments alone were excluded from this analysis.

Distances between populations: For both genetics and music, the 28 possible pairwise distances among the 8 tribes were calculated using an Analysis of Molecular Variance (AMOVA) framework (Excoffier, Smouse, and Quattro 1992). These distances were measured using a statistic called FST, which represents the proportion of variability among individual samples that is due to among-population differences. Thus, it explicitly incorporates within-population heterogeneity, avoiding the assumptions of within-

population homogeneity that plagued Lomax‟s original statistical methodology (e.g., Henry 1968; Leroi and Swire 2006).

Figure 1. Organization of the 15 song-structure (red) and 14 singing-style (blue) Cantometric classification features used in this analysis. Note that our method focuses on the vocal component of the music and therefore ignores 8 classification features related to instruments.

Correlations: The statistical significance of the correlations between musical and genetic distances was tested using the permutation-based Mantel test (Mantel 1967) using 10,000 permutations, with the threshold for significance set at p < 0.05 (one-tailed). This test controls for the fact that the 28 pairwise distances among the eight tribes are not independent of one another.

RESULTS

Correlations between genetic and musical distances were highly significant (see Figure 2), suggesting that patterns of genetic similarity among the 8 tribes were matched by corresponding patterns of musical similarity. This observation makes a strong case for music having an ancient time-depth in analyses of human migrations.

To examine the “song” vs. “singing” comparison, the two panels of Figure 2 show the correlations between genetics and either song structure (Panel A) or singing style (panel B). Both correlations were significant. However, features of song structure accounted for twice as much variance in genetic distance as did features of singing style (song structure: r2=0.27, singing style: r2=0.13).

Figure 2. Scatterplots of the 28 pairwise genetic and musical distances among 8 Taiwanese aboriginal tribes. Genetic distances (y-axis) are based on an Analysis of Molecular Variance (AMOVA) of 531 mitochondrial DNA haplotypes. Analagous musical distances (x-axis) were calculated from 222 traditional choral songs using Cantometric characters of either A) song structure or B) singing style (i.e., performance). Statistical significance of distance-matrix correlations is based on Mantel‟s (1967) test.

DISCUSSION

Our main finding was that musical similarities among the 8 tribes were significantly correlated with genetic similarities. This provides the first empirical support for Grauer‟s (2006) claim that music has the time-depth required for use as a marker in studying prehistoric human migrations. Consistent with our predictions, the correlations with genetics were stronger when calculated using features of song structure compared to singing style, contrary to Lomax. However, the differences between these features were not nearly as striking as we had predicted. The simplest interpretation is that both singing and songs are useful as migration markers, which makes the overall case for using music as a marker even more persuasive. It allows for a pluralism of musical features that Lomax discounted, most especially with regard to structural features.

Our findings in Taiwan lend strong provisional support for music‟s time-depth in the case of a relatively recent (~6,000 years ago) migration. Whether music‟s time-depth reaches as far back as Grauer‟s Out-of-Africa claim, however, remains an open empirical question.

 

References

Diamond J. (2000). Taiwan‟s gift to the world. Nature, 403, pp. 709-710.
Erickson E.E. (1976). Tradition and evolution in song style: A reanalysis of Cantometric data. Cross-Cultural Research, 11, pp. 277-308.
Excoffier L., Smouse P.E., and Quattro J.M. (1992). Analysis of molecular variance inferred from metric distances among DNA haplotypes: Application to human mitochondrial DNA restriction data. Genetics, 131, pp. 479-491.
Grauer V. (2006). Echoes of our forgotten ancestors. The World of Music, 48, pp. 5-59.
Henry E.O. (1976). The variety of music in a North Indian village: Reassessing Cantometrics. Ethnomusicology, 20, pp. 49-66.
Leroi A.M. and Swire J. (2006). The recovery of the past. The World of Music, 48, pp. 43-54.
Loh I. (1982). The tribal music of Taiwan: With special reference to the Ami and Puyuma tribes. Ph.D. dissertation: University of California Los Angeles
Lomax A. (1980). Factors of musical style. In S. Diamond (ed.), Theory & practice: Essays presented to Gene Weltfish (pp. 29-58). The Hague: Mouton.
Lomax A. (ed.) (1968). Folk song style and culture. New Brunswick: American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Lomax A. and Grauer V. (1968). The Cantometric coding book. In A. Lomax (ed.), Folk song style and culture (pp. 34-74). New Brunswick: American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Mantel N. (1967). The detection of disease clustering and a generalized regression approach. Cancer Research, 27, pp. 209-220.
Oppenheimer S. (2004) The "express train from Taiwan to Polynesia": On the congruence of proxy lines of evidence. World Archaeology, 36, pp. 591-600.
Stock J.P.J. (2006). Clues from our present peers? A response to Victor Grauer. The World of Music, 48, pp. 73-91.
Trejaut J.A., Kivisild T., Loo J.H., Lee C.L., et al. (2005). Traces of archaic mitochondrial lineages persist in Austronesian-speaking Formosan populations. PLoS Biology, 3, pp. 1362-1372.

 

Patrick Savage(1), Tom Rzeszutek(1), Victor Grauer(2), Ying-fen Wang(3), Jean Trejaut(4), Marie Lin(4), and Steven Brown(1)

(1) Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour, McMaster University, Canada
(2) Independent scholar, Pittsburgh, USA
(3) Graduate Institute of Musicology, National Taiwan University, Taiwan
(4) Transfusion Medicine Laboratory, Mackay Memorial Hospital, Taiwan

Photo: Cathy Chuang


週三, 21 七月 2010 16:58

All aboard the Coromandel Express

Coromandel Express formed in early 2010.  The group takes its name from the Indian train - 'The Coromandel Express' - that links Kolkata in the north with Chennai in the south.  With Page Byassee (蘇珮卿) on flute, harp and vocals and Cody Byassee (白克迪) on kanjira and percussion representing south Indian music and Yo (金光亮平) on sitar and Waka (若池敏弘) on tabla representing that of the north, the sounds of Coromandel Express reflects the cross-country journey of its namesake train.

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