Systems

How does music get transmitted from a garage in Berkeley to the streets of Calcutta? Maybe it travelled along because someone gave out ipods at their wedding in India, or because a CD was forgotten in a hotel room or because a person in Calcutta actively combs Bay Area music blogs. The point is that there seems to be too many ways for music to be transmitted for there to be a systemic transmission. One could say that ethnoscapes covers all of these examples, but that just dampens the spontaneity of transmission into an academic term that basically defines diaspora with bigger words.

Slobin sees no hidden agency which controls the cultural capital of the world and Erhlman does see a systemic transportation. In my opinion, academics can write back and forth to each other all they want about whether or not music is transmitted across a system, but what is lacking is the core of that system: people. People are what transmit sound, through technology, through capitalizm, through chance, through all things that are described in Appadurai’s scapes but my qualm with their use of them is that they forget that serendipity of a Bay Area rapper randomly being hired to perform at a Bollywood-esque sweet sixteenth birthday party in India. Where did all the serendipity go?! It got lost in the big words and the academic arguments but I will say that both are on the right track with their thinking and with their use of -scapes.

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