The Finnish Society of Ethnomusicology organizes in collaboration with the discipline of Musicology at the University of Helsinki a guest lecture by Dr. Henry Stobart (Royal Holloway University of London). The lecture, entitled “Beyond Pulsating ‘Dissonance’: Reflections on Andean Sonorities”, will take place on Thursday, April 27th 2023 at 14–16, at the Festive Hall of the Language Centre (Fabianinkatu 26, 3rd floor).
The lecture can also be followed online through Zoom:
Meeting ID: 690 4003 2966
The lecture is followed by a screening of the documentary film When I’m on Stage I Rule by Siboné Oroza and Antti Nordin at 16–18 in the same place.
Siboné Oroza will defend her PhD thesis, on Friday April 28th, at 13, at the Main Building, Lecture Hall U3032. Dr. Stobart will act as the opponent.
Henry Stobart: Beyond Pulsating ‘Dissonance’: Reflections on Andean Sonorities
Over the past few decades several studies of Andean archaeological sound-making objects and contemporary indigenous music making have identified an aesthetic that privileges vibrant and ‘dissonant’ sonorities. This has led to the widely accepted theory that pulsating timbre, and the technology to produce it, represents an enduring characteristic of Andean sound making, with deep pre-Hispanic roots. As such it may come to resemble a form of decolonising and counterhegemonic Andean harmony, based on vibrant ‘dissonance.’ In this article I do not intend to dismantle this hypothesis – a potentially suicidal act, given my own close involvement in such research – but rather to offer some critical distance, reflections and context. We should certainly celebrate this exciting research, but – as with any influential theory which begins to acquire an aura of convention – we should also be alert to how over-generalisation, essentialism, and ideologically fuelled binaries might transform pulsating ‘dissonance’ into an Andeanist cliché. Furthermore, in an era of heritage making, we should be mindful of the tendency (or temptation) to privilege aspects of contemporary culture that suggest continuities with ancestral or pre-Hispanic practices, and the political expediencies for which this might be employed.
Henry Stobart is Reader in Music/Ethnomusicology in the Music Department of Royal Holloway University of London, where he was appointed as the first lecturer in ethnomusicology in 1999. He is the founder and co-ordinator of the UK Latin American Music Seminar and until recently was co-editor of the journal Ethnomusicology Forum. His main research has focused on indigenous music in the Bolivian Andes, and has focused on diverse themes ranging from music’s relationship with agriculture/herding to indigenous music video production and media piracy, and more recently heritage law making. His co-authored book (with Michelle Bigenho) Heritage Fever: Law and Cultural Politics in a Decolonizing State is forthcoming with Oxford University Press. Other books include Music and the Poetics of Production in the Bolivian Andes (Ashgate 2006), the edited volumes Music, Indigeneity, Digital Media, co-edited with Thomas Hilder and Shzr Ee Tan (Rochester/Boydell and Brewer 2017), The New (Ethno)musicologies, (Scarecrow, 2008), Knowledge and Learning in the Andes: Ethnographic Perspectives, co-edited with Rosaleen Howard (Liverpool University Press 2002), and the interdisciplinary volume Sound, co-edited with Patricia Kruth (Cambridge University Press, 2000).
Siboné Oroza & Antti Nordin: When I’m on Stage I Rule (documentary film)
The film “When I’m on Stage, I Rule” celebrates the cholita song and dance groups who stormed the Bolivian folkloric-popular music scene in 2006. The first group, Las Conquistadoras, was composed by four cholitas, young Quechua women who performed huayño songs accompanied by high-energy stamping dance and electric instruments. Hundreds of cholita groups have emerged since, merging huayño, cumbia, pop, rock, and other genres in their repertoires, giving sensuously powerful performances in festivities of the Quechua- and Aymara-speaking population, the television, and the Internet. This film is about musical performance as an instrument of personal and collective empowerment that can transform realities. The film is based on interviews with cholita artists and live recordings of their performances for Siboné Oroza’s doctoral dissertation at the discipline of Musicology at the University of Helsinki.
Direction and editing: Siboné Oroza and Antti Nordin.
Original music for the film and animation: Antti Nordin.
Main performers: Las Conquistadoras, Las Consentidas, Las Florecitas de Mizque, Las Traicioneras del Amor, Las Sirenitas.
The languages of the film are Spanish and Quechua, subtitles in English.
Duration ca. 90 min.