Nithya and I have heard a lot of what is called world music over the past couple of years. One of the things that has astonished us is not so much the amount of it that is out there, but simply our ability to appreciate it. Why should a couple of Indians raised on a mixture of Indian film music and classic rock be able to like styles of music as different at Malinese griot music and mediaevally inspired gothic new-age? That’s similar to expecting a grits-loving Southerner to like smoked yam and ox-tail soup. But clearly, both these things happen. This blog is not about how we’re different from everybody else in our tastes. It’s about how we’re similar to everybody else.
The transgression of boundaries has always been a privilege for humanity. What is often forgotten is that the privilege comes with a responsibility to carry out the transgression in a respectful fashion. Through our transgressions of the boundaries of the world of music today – of knowledge, of legality, of availability and of understanding – we find that there are opportunities for conversation about all of them. Through this blog, we hope to explore some of those conversations, and to achieve what is commonly thought of as being impossible: to give away without causing someone else to lose, to create value through not asking for it, and to create diversity by encouraging mixture. We might show you music you come to love, but we will definitely show you enough music to hate. And we might fail at all of this, but we will definitely bend the rules. We leave you with our first act of transgression, one that we will continue throughout this work: all music is world music.
about the authors:
|nithya sambasivan is a phd student in information and computer sciences at uc irvine. nithya is a madrasi, indian, and world citizen (in that order). she leaves traces of her favourite grooves here. her alter-ego exists here|