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[PANEL] 0204 ETHNOMUSICOLOGY STUDIES IN ETHIOPIA
Itsushi KAWASE, National Museum of Ethnology, Japan
BELAY Desalegn; DANIEL Alemshet; TIMKEHET Teffera; TSEHAYE Hailemariam; SZÉLINGER Balázs;
Anaïs MARO; TADESSE Weldegebreal Baymot
Since Ethnomusicology is a multidisciplinary study it welcomes all the themes related with music including culture, heritage, anthropology, religion, gender, environment, medical, politics and many more.
The main objective of the panel is to explore approaches beyond the academic sphere and from a wide variety of cultural perspectives. Also it aims to provide a fertile place to ethnomusicologists, researchers, artists and academic scholars to brainstorm for the current issues and future projects in the field of ethnomusicology.
Some of the suggested themes (but not limited to) are:
- Music History
- Role of gender in performance
- Music and Environment
- Technology and music
- Migration and Music
- Musical politics
- Religion and Music
- Globalization and Ethiopian music
This panel welcomes all research papers, documentaries, round table discussion, poster presentation and live performances.
BIOGRAPHY AND CONTRIBUTION OF SAINT YARED FOR MODERN HYMNS [Abstract ID: 0204-05]
Despite some research carried out by by Ethiopians on the life history and contributions of Saint Yared, all in all little is known about traditional Ethiopian views on Saint Yared, officially called Yared the Mahletay. The overall image that the literature gives so far is rather unclear and doubtful. This study recovers some of the views about Saint Yared, as formulated by Ethiopian audiences, through qualitative interviews with 4 church leaders living in Aksum and Mekelle towns. An analysis of these interviews makes the priests' thoughts clear and in some cases challenge widely held assumptions about the history and works of Saint Yared. Yared is seen as an iconic, known scholar, head professor, composer, producer, poet and dedicated orthodox who exemplifies a habesha (Ethiopian highlanders) sentiment throughout his life. Undoubtedly, he was an important Ethiopian cultural leader and his sacred music, hymns, musical notations, literature and scriptures are the results of a brilliant indigenous thinking and philosophy free from alien influence. The stories add important nuances to our understanding of who Saint Yared was in the history of Ethiopia in general and of Aksum in particular. This study is a result of a growing body of research on local and intangible heritages which are important for both federal and state government bodies to support the fast and double-digit growing economy through smokeless industry. In using largely untapped sources of church history, religious books, including oral sources and interviews with church scholars (merigetas), this research wishes to inspire future research on similar topics.
EXPRESSING THE ASHENDA FEAST THROUGH MUSIC AND DANCE: OBSERVATION OF THE ASHENDA FEAST IN TIGRAY [Abstract ID: 0204-06]
My paper will give a comprehensive overview of the ašända, a religious feast celebrated throughout Təgray. Ašända a gender-specific holiday; i.e. women in general and young girls in particular are the main actors of the entire ceremony. Special attention will be given to selected ašända songs, their melodic-rhythmic arrangements as well as their lyrical messages primarily praising The Holy Virgin Mary, the beauty of ašända girls, family members and others. The investigation is based on materials collected during fieldwork carried out in August 2016 in Mäqälle and adjacent localities. Consequently, about 10 hours of audio-visual recordings were made including more than 1000 photos. Other relevant materials refer to interviews made with young and old community members including priests and ašända partakers. The interviews and personal communications (both recorded and unrecorded), among others, focus on the socio-cultural, religious, gender-related issues of ašända as well as internal and external influences that triggered changes ever since ašända started being practiced centuries ago.
INTRODUCING THE 1965 ETHIO-HUNGARIAN MUSIC AND DANCE COLLECTIONS: A HISTORIAN AND A PHILOSOPHER’S PERSPECTIVES [Abstract ID: 0204-08]
In this presentation, we introduce the classic Ethiopian dance and music film materials collected by Hungarian and Ethiopian scholars in the summer of 1965 in Ethiopia and are currently archived at the Institute of Musicology in Budapest, Hungary. From a historical point of view, the collection of these dance and music film materials were made possible following Emperor Haile Selassie’s three days state visit to Hungary in 1964. The diplomatic negotiation prior to the documentation took almost a year, and was finally realized largely due to a generous support from the Hungarian government, and other recording equipment of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences as well as international organization such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the International Folk Music Council (IFMC, today known as the International Council for Traditional Music) etc.Seen from a philosophical perspective, however, the need for the collection and documentation of dance and music traditions goes back to the early 1900s in Germany. Apart from the general influence that the German philosopher Johann Gottfried Herder exerted upon Eastern and Central European music collectors, experimental philosophers of music such as Carl Stumpf and his proponents appeal to the primacy of documentation prior to any act of interpretation or comparative study. Stumpf, who is a pioneer in Ethno/musicology and author of several works on music, including Sammelbände für vergleichende Musikwissenschaft, whose fourth volume contains the study on Romanian folk music (Volksmusik der Rumänen von Maramures) by Béla Bartók, is what was later used as a model in the aforementioned 1965 study of dance and music research conducted in Ethiopia. Our aim in this presentation is to offer these two perspectives as means of correcting some of the assumptions held in the area.
KAMISE MUSIC: HYBRIDITY AND AUTHENTICITY AT THE AGE OF INTERNET [Abstract ID: 0204-03]
Kamise is a small strip of land in Wollo area, Amhara region, inhabited by a mixed population, mostly Oromo. Despite its small population compared to the country, Kamise music is popular in Ethiopia, particularly among the Oromo population. This observation from fieldwork comes as a surprise as Kamise music is not very different from other Wollo music, except for the language. What makes Kamise music so popular? I will present the results of my current fieldwork, integrating two kinds of data, ethnographic data collected in the tradition of ethnomusicology and hermeneutic data analysing patterns of understating of music videos, collected with an innovative methodology I called ethnographic hermeneutics. My preliminary findings show that patterns of understanding and experiencing Kamise online music videos have variation around the ideas of hybridity and authenticity, where individuals will give to those songs attributes that they look for in music in their own traditional culture but also narratives of traditional Ethiopia.
MANAGING UNITY AND DIVERSITY IN OROMO POPULAR MUSIC [Abstract ID: 0204-07]
Already in 1996; Baxter, Hultin and Triulzi were presenting one of the characteristics of the Oromo identity as being both unified and diverse, without explaining how this synthesis was possible.Traditional music in the Oromo region is rich in rhythms rooted in territories and fulfil an array of functions. Ethnomusicological studies have focused on particular territories (Qashu in Arsi, Alemu in, Hassen in Bale, Tefera Dibaba in Salale) or genres (Tolessa for Gerarsa, Bartel for work songs…). However, popular music in the Oromo language is gathering under the label ‘Oromo Music’. How does the traditional diversity dialogue with the current claim for unity as a genre? Based on the history of cultural policies of Ethiopia, a digital ethnography of online music videos, and ethnographic fieldwork in Addis Ababa and the Oromo region, I will show how past and present dynamics since the 1960’s have created a shared musical culture. Edgar Morin calls ‘hologramatic principle’ the presence of the whole in each part, such as holographic representations or human DNA. I will use the same concept to explain how artists and listeners are creating a sense of belonging through diversity, exchanging personal experiences of meanings in the translocal context of YouTube.
METAPHORS IN BÄGÄNA SONG LYRICS: A LINGUISTIC PERSPECTIVE [Abstract ID: 0204-02]
People can express their thoughts, feelings, emotions, religious affiliations, attitudes, values and norms directly or indirectly through different means. To do it in a more subtle way, human beings use different expressions like metaphors. A metaphor is one of the most important concepts in the study of linguistic meaning. A metaphor is the expression of an understanding or the conceptualization of one concept (target domain) in terms of another concept (source domain) where there is some similarity/correlation between the two. Metaphors are widely used in bägäna song lyrics. Bägäna, a ten-stringed box-lyre belonging to the musical tradition of the Ethiopia, is a paraliturgical lyre played by Christians in Ethiopia to perform spiritual songs. Songs have special characteristics in their lyrics. Beyond entertainment, the issues raised in the lyrics of songs have a lot of things to do with the linguistic, historical, cultural, religious, moral, ethical and philosophical realities of a given society. Each song lyric is generally meant to convey a certain messages and meaning and is emotionally expressive. Therefore, song lyrics are very important to be studied to see the extent of the flow of the language used and how well it is communicated to the performers and listeners. This study aimed at describing the metaphorical expressions used in bägäna song lyrics from a linguistic point of view.