Event Title

Music and Identity Construction in Grenada West Indies

Start Date

30-5-2011 10:30 AM

End Date

30-5-2011 12:30 PM

Description

Considerations of self identity and nation identity are central to postcolonial theorizations of West Indian culture, with an accompanying understanding of African diasporic identity as ‘an ongoing, ever-changing process, in which perceived African pasts are constantly renegotiated, constantly subjugated to new and changing realities’ (De Jong 2006). In Grenada, West Indies, music in and as culture is evidently a powerful force in constructing perceptions of an identity that has been not only constantly fluid and multi-scoped, but also oppressed, subverted, and corrupted by colonial and post-colonial hegemonic structures.Christopher Small (1998) places the meaning of musicking in the ‘ideal’' relationships that are forged during the musicking process. It is through 'exploring, affirming, celebrating' (Small 2010) relationships with others and the Other, I suggest, that perceptions of self identity and nation identity are formed. Grenadian people use music not only in constructing a ‘true’ Grenadian identity, but also in making that identity known to the Caribbean nations and the greater world-at-large. Using a ‘Smallian’ lens, this paper seeks to illuminate some aspects of the influence of ‘musicking’ in Grenada upon perceptions of identity, with reference to recent fieldwork in Grenada, music and identity construction in other settings, and insights which may arise into music as culture with regard to identity in our own North American – European context.

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May 30th, 10:30 AM May 30th, 12:30 PM

Music and Identity Construction in Grenada West Indies

Considerations of self identity and nation identity are central to postcolonial theorizations of West Indian culture, with an accompanying understanding of African diasporic identity as ‘an ongoing, ever-changing process, in which perceived African pasts are constantly renegotiated, constantly subjugated to new and changing realities’ (De Jong 2006). In Grenada, West Indies, music in and as culture is evidently a powerful force in constructing perceptions of an identity that has been not only constantly fluid and multi-scoped, but also oppressed, subverted, and corrupted by colonial and post-colonial hegemonic structures.Christopher Small (1998) places the meaning of musicking in the ‘ideal’' relationships that are forged during the musicking process. It is through 'exploring, affirming, celebrating' (Small 2010) relationships with others and the Other, I suggest, that perceptions of self identity and nation identity are formed. Grenadian people use music not only in constructing a ‘true’ Grenadian identity, but also in making that identity known to the Caribbean nations and the greater world-at-large. Using a ‘Smallian’ lens, this paper seeks to illuminate some aspects of the influence of ‘musicking’ in Grenada upon perceptions of identity, with reference to recent fieldwork in Grenada, music and identity construction in other settings, and insights which may arise into music as culture with regard to identity in our own North American – European context.