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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 1:09 pm
by Martin_Edney
howard male wrote:...don't you think, in some instances, we learn to be offended by certain words?

Words are fashion victims. Words are victims of persecution. And words have their meaning altered overnight (or over decades) as they are 'reclaimed' or stigmatised by different pressure groups.

Reminds me of the brief discourse I had with The Mad Professor over his defending the use of the term "Batty Man" to describe homosexual men (see ). His point was that he isn't homophobic, this is just the phrase he learnt to use growing up in Guyana and he doesn't see why he should change how he speaks to be politically correct. My point was that this phrase had been altered by its use to imply bigotry and violence (especially in the Jamaican dominated reggae world) and so he was risking causing offence even if he didn't intend it, offence being in the eye of the offended! We amicably agreed to disagree.

PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2005 10:29 am
by howard male
I take your point Martin, but the difference is that 'batty boy' and similar slang expressions have always been to a certain extent been derogatory in that they have been invented in order to label a certain minority element of the population.

Batty boy my have started as a 'harmless,' friendly(ish?) label and then gradually became edged with aggression, before eventually creating an understandable backlash from the homosexual population - who over decades would have been gradually gaining in confidence within the homophobic environment of Jamaica - and their supporters who deemed it no longer unacceptable.

Eventually no doubt, the time will come when it is 'reclaimed' by a gay Jamaican rapper!

But 'exotic' as a word began it's life quite innocently as neither insult nor compliment. It was just a word to describe that which was foreign.

Final thoughts

PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2005 5:51 pm
by NormanD
I was determined to make no further comment. Impossible for me to keep my mouth shut, however. So here's my last comment on Jewish exoticism:

"Hi", she said. "I'm a nymphomaniac, and do you know what really, really turns me on? Jewish cowboys. So what's your name, pardner?"

"Goldberg, ma'am. Tex Goldberg".

Shalom aleichem, y'all.


Exotic Music

PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2005 1:17 pm
by Leon Parker
It is a term as a DJ you can get away with spinning all sorts of stuff because it is different or just very temping music. It can come from around the corner or some far flung shore. To me it is the feel not the place. In the area of the labelled world music section, like every other music there is a loads of tame music but it is the one your looking for and it can come from anywhere.

Having done an exotic night in an exotic setting of the South London Pacific, we just had fun spinning discs of all sorts (Asian sound tracks-cover versions-cheesey and rare funk etc...).

Now doing a night 'Belly Beats' where I do the same under the world music banner.

To hear the exotic please come on down the Escape bar (see listings for events). Hopefully Howard you can pop in for a free drink.

Re: Exotic Music

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2005 3:44 pm
by Ian A.
howard male wrote:Exotic

Came to this one late, as I have a "there be dragons" sign over this forum, and I know I'm probably going to regret this as it'll probably produce a reply long enough to make my head hurt . . . but . . .

Back in the days when I was managing Tarika, virtually every press cutting we got from America used the word "exotic". Used to piss the band off no end. It's the last refuge of the imagination-challenged US world music journalist, about as close as they could get to suggesting they were dusky maidens wearing grass skirts without becoming politically incorrect, and for that reason alone ought to require it being banned. Indeed, in the fRoots writer guidelines - via the FAQ on our site if you're that much of an anorak - it's one of the three adjectives specifically singled out for the cliché zapper (the others are "stunning" and "exciting", to save you looking - I mean, music is only stunning if you get hit over the head by something like the Revenant Charlie Patton box . . .).

There is no such thing as World Music, just like there's no such thing as African Music. They're just useful boxes in record shops. But at least calling something by one of those names doesn't imply that you're only supposed to like it because it's weird and has palm trees.

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2005 4:09 pm
by Tom McPhillips
Ian, as usual you have exactly defined the thing. I could not agree more with the analysis.

Let's face it, World is what it is - no-one has yet come up with a better alternative in twenty years... the drawback is that when you're trying to explain one's music obsessions to others it's not immediately obvious what it means - partly because they haven't heard the music, and partly because like my cousin's wife they immediately start ending you links to their brother's pagan music site and other vaguely NewAge flavored rubbish, simply because they completely missed the point!

oh well...

And even though I've never met him, I KNOW Howard wears an anorak! (even though it has The Clash logo on the back)....

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2005 4:50 pm
by Ian A.
Tom McPhillips wrote:World is what it is - no-one has yet come up with a better alternative in twenty years... the drawback is that when you're trying to explain one's music obsessions to others

Oh, but that's easy. You don't have to explain World Music as there's no such thing. But it's easy enough to explain salegy, mbalax, Occitan-ragga crossovers, English country dance music or whatever else your specific world music obsessions are. At least as easy as it would be to outline be-bop or bluegrass or rockabilly or other sub-groups of different record shop boxes like "jazz", "country", "rock" etc to somebody from a non-musical (or perhaps classical) background. Without being insulting to the musicians . . .

Better still, just play them the stuff. That's what music's for - writing or talking about it's just a signpost in the end, hardly a substitute for the real thing.

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2005 5:44 pm
by Tom McPhillips
Now I disagree!

You have to remember that I'm dealing with septics (as in septic tanks) here... I've already lost them the moment I say "foreign" - they simply don't know where that is... and I defy anyone to explain "Be-Bop" to anyone!

I just say something along the lines of "Some of my favorite music comes from places like Okinawa, Zanzibar, Morrocco and Portugal... and it's what people in those places are listening to now, it's not like their old music..." and that usually works - they don't know where any of those places are, they've not heard of all them, but it's enough to get the point across.

But try mentioning somewhere like "Mali" and you'd just get a blank middle American stare... "Is that in Ireland?" they'd reply. (I know I'm not being fair, some Americans have heard of Iraq!)

Exotic? Schmexotic. Who cares?

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2005 9:40 pm
by jayne
All I know is if it sounds foreign, I like it and my friends can tolerate it it's world.

Why must we always say world MUSIC? We don't have to say jazz MUSIC or rock MUSIC. Let's get out of the ghetto bro'.


PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2005 11:21 am
by howard male
As usual Ian, you kind of miss my point. I went to great lengths (I’m sure you’ll agree) to admit that the word ‘exotic’ was marred by a history of naffness and is currently as unfashionable and un-PC as you could get, so we don’t disagree on that at all - you even used the same ‘grass skirts’ example as I did. Perhaps you should read all of what I have to say, even if such a task is horribly daunting to you, before diving in with all guns blazing.

What I was doing was simply going back to the roots of the word ‘exotic’ saying that in an ideal world – taking it’s literal, emotionally neutral, dictionary definition - it would be a perfect word to use as a replacement for ‘world music’.

As for the anorak accusation Tom - Clash logo or no Clash logo - I have to disagree. I’ve always thought of ‘The Anorak’ is the unimaginative compiler of facts and compulsive collector of old vinyl ( I’m neither) rather than the analyzer of linguistic context, Devil’s advocate, and - if at all possible - holder of a contrary view to whatever the received opinion is. So perhaps a tweed jacket (which I do occasionally wear!) and a pipe would be more suitable.

PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2005 11:56 am
by Tom McPhillips
Howard, not only can't you take a joke, but you've completly missed Ian's very valid point. You suggest that he didn't read your post - I suggest you re-read his.

"Exotic" is nothing like the ideal word. From the point of view of the artists who are working to touch their audience's hearts and minds, emotionally and intellectually, or who are making music in order to create political change, having their music described as exotic must be deeply offensive.

It's a word that devalues anything real in their art, emasculates their message and underlines our own often unwitting cultural imperialism.

PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2005 8:26 pm
by Tom McPhillips
I suggest we start selling Forum swag

a tweed anorak with an "Exotic World of the Sound" logo with a matching pipe would make a nice start to the collection!

and how about a T-shirt with "Exotic-Free Zone"

have a nice weekend!

PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2005 11:42 am
by howard male
Tom Wrote -

It's a word that devalues anything real in their art, emasculates their message and underlines our own often unwitting cultural

I'll say it one last time (I promise):

Not if we go back to the original meaning of the word.

Also I should point out I do understand the humour in Ian's response and also hope that the humour in my reply was understood - perhaps not.

PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2005 12:31 pm
by ritchie
you say potatoe & I say potartoe, you say tomatoe & I say tomartoe, however when you say exotic I say erotic. That's why I've been thrown out of the Mambo store loads of times. Prince Buster explains it much more eloquently than I ever could in his song 'It's Burke's Law'.

Ah yes Stanley Unwin 'eat your heart out' ...the weekend has begun.

all the very best and put me down for a smoking jacket please Tom. (with a hood if you can get them)

what is world music

PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2005 10:30 pm
by antonija
Dear Lord! Please start using smileys or any similar icons or there will be a civil war soon on this forum! Here I go ;-)

Ah – one of my «karmic» discussions – definitions of «world music» (emoticon of eyes rolling ;-) ).

I agree with Ian – world music as a description of a style really means nothing.
Personally I find this expression very clumsy, cause all it is saying is: «non english».
For instance, I get a CD from a band from some country in, let's say Asia, claiming in their PR papers they are «world music band». I listen to a CD and hear pop-synth-predictable- rhythm based music sang in some «exotic» language (wink at Howard ;-)) and keep wondering what made this manager or promoter send me this CD when I believe we've pointed out quite clearly what we do as organizers. Err..have we? far as the festival is concerned - even the name of the festival points that out bearing in it the word «ethno». And cultural diversity being based only on the language is not enough for me. The music should bring with it the sounds and visions of the region the band is coming from...the message, the instruments, the body, it's not the folklor – it is ...well, beside «ethno», «roots» for me is the best description of what I am looking for (smile at Tom :-) ).

Punk band from Italy is just a punk band singing in Italian language. Synthetic pop from Croatia is still just a killing lyrics and unimaginative music as pop is in any country.
On the other hand – the critics and music industry might label some of my favourite artists as «pop musicians»...yes, categorising music is a bad thing, in general...

I believe we all agreed here for thousands of times: good music is good music. World music as a definition of a style is non-existant. So, something that doesn't exist doesn't need a change of the name, too, right? ;-) (several winkings and smiling).

In my humble opinion, the term «world music» is actually a movement and you can't change the name of the movement.
Can't change the history :-).
The term has done what it had to do: it changed some perceptions (thank God for that!).

For those lurking we leave «world music» as a first step to hearing something different. May it be Spanish guitars, Corsican a capella singing, Bosnian traditional love songs, Croatian ethno-based rock or Algerian pop.

I can't say «I love world music.» cause, for instance I don't like pop whether it comes from Africa or Great Britain. But I will always say: «I love what world music movement did for music in general.»

If it wasn't for that fameous group in late eightees, it would probably be next to impossible for a Croatian band to have a CD displayed in a CD shop in London or Berlin for example. It would be destined to a home-based-half-illegal distribution of a diaspora fan.

World music term erased some political/economical/religious/racial borders.
May they never appear again.
May each of us personally filter the music we want to hear.


While writing this Joe Strummer's song poped into my head and the song «Bhindi Bhagee»
«...What's your music like?
I said, It's errm...errm, well, it's kinda's got a bit y'know...ragga, bhangra, two-step tanga, mini-cab radio, music on the go!»