Wabi-Sabi Folk Music

This year the Musicological Society of Australia’s annual conference coincides with Sydney Conservatorium of Music’s 100th year. The conference will be held across the October long weekend.

I’m presenting on 2nd of October on the topic Simple Living Ideologies in Folk Music.

Here’s a bit more about it…

Wabi-Sabi Folk Music: Aesthetics, Authenticity & Simple Living Ideologies in Folk Music

Much of the discourse on folk music is characterised by dichotomies, such as acoustic versus amplified, old versus new, rural versus urban and preserved repertoire versus new compositions (Ramnarine, 2003). For those creating folk music today, these dichotomies are potentially problematic, because they reinforce notions of authenticity that can no longer be upheld in the digital age. The impression left by this is a discontinuity in the field for researchers, practitioners and audiences alike. Newer research favours a multiplicity of meanings for folk music and seeks contextual understandings (Keegan-Phipps, 2013), but an underlying sense of confusion still lingers. This presentation is part of a larger research project that seeks to explore how this has come to be, in relation to the use of digital technologies and what can be done about it for the future benefit of folk music ‘producers’ and ‘consumers’. Specifically, this paper reflects on themes of authenticity and aesthetics in folk music, in relation to a certain stigma surrounding the use of digital technologies. Reporting on interviews with folk musicians, industry professionals and fans, it draws on the philosophies and ideologies of simple living movements such as the Japanese Wabi-sabi, and their widespread adoption in modern lifestyles while maintaining reverence for the past. In this way, I hope to contribute to a more open-minded discourse about folk music in all its forms, and to move towards a more positive and fluid interaction between traditional and contemporary folk music practices.

More info on MSA Syd2015


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