Ashvarya:Bridging South America and the United States in Black Music Research Gerard Behave.

Béhague, Gerard. “Bridging South America and the United States in Black Music Research.” Black Music Research Journal 22.1 (2002): 5-11. Web.


According to anthropologist Jorge de Carvalho (1994, 30), some of the musicians and singers of these styles “have associated themselves openly with the various black movements.” In addition, funk musicians have frequently commented in their songs on the racial situation in Brazil and expressed black pride openly. (Behague 7) The second half of this article talks about the significance of Black musicians in the history of United States and how that in turn, not only has an impact on their identity formation but also economical, geo-political and other facets that impact identity-formation.

…1980s, is the ready assimilation of some of the most typical African-American music genres of the period, namely rhythm and blues, funk, rap, and hip hop. However, the assimilation did not carry, in most cases, the original African-American sociopolitical messages despite obvious affinities with the “black aesthetic (Behague 7) In the year 1970s and 1980s through the genre popular music, boundaries between South America and United States were now traversing. Beyonce in her music album explores socio-political image and state of the woman folk. In her song ‘Sorry’;she along with the Tennis player, Serena Williams and other women are dressed in an aboriginal fashion. They have make up of symbols, yet are seen to wear modern attire. Serena Williams is also the center of attraction. She is dancing which in itself brings about a change in how women from the various fields in sports are depicted.

A musical anthropologist “looks at the way musical performances created many aspects of culture and social life … [and] studies social life as a performance…. examines the way music is part of the very construction and interpretation of social and conceptual relationships and processes.” Thus, the emphasis on performance should bring to light some of the points of convergence in a possible Pan-Afro-African-American aesthetic. (Behague, 10) Through the visual album, we see many transitions. Women through their attire and body movements use metaphors and have given an ode to overcoming hardship, turning things around, and triumphing over adversity.


Ashvarya: Bridging South America and the United States in Black Music Research Author(s): Gerard Béhague

Béhague, Gerard. “Bridging South America and the United States in Black Music Research.” Black Music Research Journal 22.1 (2002): 1-5. Web.

Basic difficulties with such a criterion of classification are that stratification is not fixed and stable; sociocultural or ethnic identity can vary considerably in time and space…Boundaries and borders are clearly related to the question of identity and must be rethought with special attention to the various factors that contributed to forge an old or contemporary identity (Behague,1). Culture and traditions evolve with time. Identity is fluid in nature rather than fixed. Lemonade is an attempt not only to break but also question the concept of identity. In the song Freedom, an African woman is dressed in a ballerina’s outfit. She is petite and probably fulfills the ‘ideal image’ of a Ballerina. In the entire album and especially this song, we see the systemic injustices and racism that prevailed in the United States of America, dating from the period to Slavery till the present being represented by various examples.

We have not, however, accumulated enough empiric knowledge of the vast music corpora of the continent to allow meaningful and comprehensive cross-cultural comparisons among music cultures that share a common ethnohistory but have developed different cultural expressions (Behauge 2). The stratification of time and space in the album Lemonade in simple words function to be symbols of class identity. It is inclusive of practices- musical and performative, which still hold good in both rural and urban settings.

The first step in the crusade to bridge the two traditions requires a con- sideration of the few apparent similarities and numerous differences of the wide-ranging cultural experiences of North and South Americans of black ancestry-chronologically, geographically, and musically. (Behauge 3). Gilbert Chase in his book Guide to the Music of Latin America (1962 ) talks about the richness of Spanish-American music in Latin American but fails to mention the importance of Black Americans in Latin America, which constitutes of the Caribbean culture as well.

… No attention has been paid to a comparative study of the relative presence of African “retentions” or “reinterpretations” in the area of expressive culture among various countries of the American continent.(Behauge 4). Beyonce, in her album shows different aspects of the Black American culture. We see women dressed differently as and when the album progresses. Women are dressed in ethnic to modern wear, which represents the diversity that exists in the African culture itself.



Ashvarya: Mooc: Week 1: Assignment 2

I do not have a specific place or setup where in I like writing. I definitely have my zone or state of comfort or discomfort. Writing assignments, when I am not interested in doing them is probably when I procrastinate. Once I went to a bar in the middle of the afternoon, probably a weekday and decided to write. On a weekday, you wouldn’t see too many people around. That is when I realised that I like it when no one is around. When I was nearing the end of my teenage, I would lucid-dream and write about things outside the classroom- probably the trees or birds chirping. Recently I have developed the habit of writing in my room with lights off. There is nothing but the sound of the fan rotating.

Ashvarya Sinha: MOOC 1st Week- I’m A writer!


I met my friend after 12 years. We were sitting by the swing (at probably One in the morning). In those silences, she stood there smoking a cigarette while I wrote about how we spent the entire day. Writing has always been very personal to me. I once wrote an article on ‘Acceptance of Death’. It was centered around examining the stages propounded by Kubler Ross. It was probably the first time when I actually thought about the whole process of writing and rewriting. Presently I am comfortable writing poetry. Less is more, therefore I believe that it is easy for me to think and make my thoughts more coherent, probably in my own head. Writing is systematic. It helps in organizing thoughts and giving myself a little more clarity.

Music has been a major influence in shaping my thoughts while writing. Listening to MLTR, Janis Joplin, Jack Johnson, Bon Iver or British Rock bands like Coldplay have always drawn me to the lyrics. As a child, I would read the diary maintained by my sister. In this diary she had penned down the lyrics of songs she used to listen to. Back then there were no cellular devices or the concept of Google to help her find the lyrics. While pursuing under-graduation, poems by Edgar Allen Poe and Emily Dickinson fascinated me. I found reading poetry more engaging than reading a Novella. That is how I felt about writing poetry as well. As I have mentioned earlier, writing is a personal and a self-reflective process for me. It is my friend. It accompanies me while I do nothing, feel sad, ecstatic or angry. It is probably something I’m still figuring out – that is the writer in me.



Ashvarya: Chapter 3: Adolphe Appia(Brayshaw and Witts are Compilers)

Brayshaw Teresa and Noel Witts. The Twentieth-Century Performance Reader 3rd ed. London:Routledge ,2014. 27-30. Print.

The body is alive, mobile and plastic. Space and the objects used by the body must most carefully take this fact into account. The overall arrangement of the setting comes just after the actor in importance: it is through it that the actor makes contact with and assumes reality within the scenic space. (Appia, 27) The two essential elements of the stage are the actors along with the arragement of the stage setting. In Beyonce’s visual album Lemonade, the actors and the space represent various stages of grief, resurrection, black female empowerment.

…In order to grant to it the status of a medium of dramatic expression it must be placed in the service of…the actor who is above it in the production hirearchy, and in the service of the dramatic expression of the actor (Appia, 27) Light plays an impotant role in any visual. Light has been experimented with and represents the lush imagery from vignette to vignette.

Light creates shadows, make them living and spread the harmony of their vibrations and space just as music does. In light we possess a most powerful means of expression through space, if this space is placed in service of the actor. (Appia,27) Use of lighting not only enhances the role of the space and the actor but also creates an impact on the audience.

Light creates the back-cloths (which have to be seen), without a care of the actor, who endures the ultimate humiliation of moving between painted flats, standing on an horizontal floor. (Appia,28) In proscenium theater or even at a production house, the actor has to adjust to the lighting. It is never the other way round.

Ashvarya: Chapter 1: Marina Abramovic (Brayshaw and Witts are Compilers)

Brayshaw Teresa and Noel Witts. The Twentieth-Century Performance Reader 3rd ed. London:Routledge ,2014. 9-21. Print.

The first chapter talks about the interview of the famous performance art actor Marina Abramovic. She stated in an interview that she was throughly impressed by the rituals of certain people, like the Aboriginies. “They follow a certain pattern of doing things, of using symbols in a way that they really function. We have been trying to integrate certain symbols into our work.” (14)

She further stated the importance of integrating symbols in her performance art. The symbols used by the natives is a practical function.”Symbols- the material, colour, shape, placement of the symbol along with the approach has to be perfect. Then the symbol will be able to generate power. If it is the right place and the right time. When abused, the symbol can bring harm. (Abramovic,14)

In the Visual Album’s Lemonde , the song ‘Sandcastel’ depicts Oshun, the river orisha, or goddess, in the Yoruba tribe. Women have worn these symbols on their faces. This goddess is said to represent water, purity, fertility, love, and sensuality along with attributes such as vanity, jealousy, and spite.
While one is seriously engaging with the symbols , it could give them immense power. “Natives are connected with the energy of the Earth and the flow of nature. And from that they generate the whole thing. And in the simple way that we work,we have to be receptive of this.” (Abramovic, 14)