Monday, January 5, 2009
Musical cultures without heritage managers
In the midst, now, of writing a short invited essay to appear in a festchrift for-- well, I'd mention the name of the ethnomusicologist except that there's a chance someone might see it and tip the person off. This one takes up the subject of communities that manage their own musical cultures without external patronage and arts management. These turn out chiefly to be musical revivalists. And the managers are middle-aged, upper middle-class. Usually they strummed a guitar or banjo earlier in life and now that their careers are over or nearly so, they are looking for meaning in other kinds of activities, musical and social. To these revivials they bring their managerial skills, some quite formidable, along with other middle-class attributes--such as the collector mentality, which may result in the accumulation of musical instruments instead of art work or antiques.