Friday, January 05, 2007

Where in the world?

Michael McGoldrick was born in Manchester to Irish parents and, as a child, was quickly caught up in the thriving traditional Irish music scene in the city. And he was good, and quickly moved from the bodhran to whistle and flute and earned numerous All-Irish championships on those instruments while still in his teens. He added uilleann pipes to his kit and soon established himself as one of the world's best players of Irish flute music. But he stretched the boundaries of the genre with his contributions to cross-over bands like Afro-Celt Soundsystem and contemporary Celtic favorites Capercaillie, and outstanding efforts as a leader, like his 2000 release, Fused .

I was pleased to run across this picture, taken at The Triple Door in 2003, on someones Live Space's page, somewhere is Asia. (I don't know whose page, or where in Asia because I can't read it.) It's cool. This person, somewhere in Asia, wants to share their appreciation for this English/Irish man and the Celtic music he plays with a band from Scotland. Nice.

But there is a bit of English - some musician's names, and the word "world" in the post. Just enough to remind me of a pet peeve. The term "world music" has become a lazy reference to music coming outside the mainstream of western pop, jazz, and classical traditions. A naive label which robs the music a measure of respect and orientation, and denies the listener of a sense of awareness of its cultural context.

Some sources go so far as to suggest world music "originates from outside the cultural sphere of Western Europe and the English-speaking nations." But they speak English in England, Ireland, and Scotland. And French, a western European language, is commonly spoken in Mali, Senegal, and other other African nations. And Portuguese is at the heart of Brazilian pop. And at least one person in some unidentified non-Western, predominately non-English-speaking city in Asia, really likes Michael McGoldrick and contemporary Celtic music. Let's celebrate where in the world the music is coming from.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice, as usual.

A cite, site and a lesson.


You da man.

6:09 AM  

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