Powerful, powerful stuff here.

Unifying Riffs

Policing Authenticity

As I was thinking about ‘unifying riffs’ and the idea of authenticity, I remembered a case study from my second year socio-cultural anthropology textbook. Michelle Bigenho an anthropologist who was also an accomplished violinist, was doing fieldwork in Bolivia and performing an a band that played traditional ‘Bolivian’ music. When her ensemble played at a large folk-festival in France, all dressed in similar ‘traditional’ Bolivian clothing, the anthropologist overheard a Belgian delegate say “she’s fake” referring to the Bigenho. The tourist then turned her attention to one of the dancers in the group who appeared to be Bolivian and said “she’s real.” (Bigenho 2002:88, paraphrased in Schultz, Lavenda, and Dods., 138).
It seems that our society is obsessed with separating the “real” from the “fake”, but this dichotomy is imagined. There really is no such thing as authenticity, because identities are so complex and multiple.  In spite of…

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