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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

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music

Cultural Mashups

The video I REALLY want you to watch is Video #3, but I need to explain a few things first because more than just the music and dance styles are getting mashed up, but cultural styles and influences are converging to create new forms of expression.

In the Punjab region (in India as well as Pakistan), the musical and dance tradition of bhangra is a deeply connection to local customs, religions, and traditions as they vary in different regions.  The coming of spring, weddings, and ceremonies were known for large-scale bhangra dances which are tailor-made for audio-visual extravaganzas.  In 2008, the song Aaja Ni Aaja was released and through online channels it became linked to a larger, global audience. 

VIDEO #1: The Bhangra audio element of the mashup.

Decades earlier, Elvis Presley was the biggest name in Rock ‘n Roll and was becoming a cross-over star, appearing in movies with infused with some of his hits.  The 1957 movie Jailhouse Rock made a hit song out of the song of the same title, infusing African-American blues and Southern Country. 

VIDEO #2: The Elvis video component of the mashup.

Both of these bits of cultural context are necessary for understanding the following cultural production that is embedded in the video below (finally! the video I really wanted to share).  It’s an ingenious mashup that combines the audio of a bhangra song with Elvis’ video.  At the core of the mashup is the idea that incredibly distinct cultural productions are not so incredibly different after all and the commonalities in many cultural expressions exhibit universal impulses. Music and dance, like all cultural expressions, are not authentically pure representations for one place and time, but have many influences and can diffusion in so many ways. Enjoy the “If Elvis were Punjabi” video!! (And how did I find this? On social media of course).

VIDEO#3: The mashup in all it glory…cultural diffusion and cultural convergence at it’s finest.

BONUS CLIP: I did go down a few rabbit holes writing this post to get some of the cultural context that I was missing and it was helpful for me to understand the South Asian culture more. India’s movie industry, a.k.a. Bollywood, has been the perfect platform to make many local, folk cultures to become more prominent and accessible to a larger, and more geographically dispersed audience.  Below is a video showing some of the differences between traditional bhangra dance moves with a more modernized Bollywood version.   

VIDEO #4: Just because it’s good to see the “old school” vs. “new school” styles together.

TAGS: culture, music, diffusion, India, South Asia.

Spotify data shows how music preferences change with latitude

"The farther from the equator, the greater the seasonal swings."

Source: arstechnica.com

I’m not posting this in spite of its controversial nature—I am sharing this precisely because it raises eyebrows.  Many have read this and see elements of environmental determinism while simultaneous recognizing some of its core assumptions.  Arctic communities have devastatingly high suicide rates that most agree is in part impacted by the cold weather, the lack of sunshine, or in other words, the physical environment.

  

Questions to Ponder: How much environmental determinism actually is in this research and its assumptions?  How much does latitude impact the human condition?  How much of a factor is the environment in shaping cultural patterns?  How would you adapt to the physical environment if you lived north of the the Arctic Circle? 

 

GeoEd Tags: environment, musicArcticenvironment adapt, unit 1 geoprinciples.

Scoop.it Tags: environment, musicArctic, environment adapt, unit 1 GeoPrinciples.

Every Name Is a Music Reference

The designers behind the “Alternative Love Blueprint” are back with a map of the world. Only this map uses song titles instead of place names.

Source: www.wired.com

As one friend said, I think we can forgive the poor projection choice because of the incredibly clever naming scheme of this map.  Very fun idea, and worth exploring. 

 

Tags: music, map.

The history of African-American social dance

Why do we dance? African-American social dances started as a way for enslaved Africans to keep cultural traditions alive and retain a sense of inner freedom. They remain an affirmation of identity and independence. In this electric demonstration, packed with live performances, choreographer, educator and TED Fellow Camille A. Brown explores what happens when communities let loose and express themselves by dancing together.

Source: www.youtube.com

Dance is more than just a way to have fun; dance reflects cultural forms of expression and communal identity.  This Ted-Ed talk demonstrates the rich cultural heritage that can be seen in particular cultural traits (such as food, clothing, dance, music, etc.).  This is bound to be a fun, vibrant way to show the how cultural patterns and processes play out using something that young people generally enjoy. 

 

Tags: culturediffusion, popular culture, music, race, historicalthe South, TED, video.

Music and Resistance

“Life imitated art in early 1980 when South African school children, fed up with an inferior apartheid-era education system, took to chanting the lyrics of Pink Floyd‘s ‘Another Brick in the Wall.’ The song, with its memorable line stating, “We don’t need no education,” had held the top spot on the local charts for almost three months, a total of seven weeks longer than it did in America. By May 2, 1980, the South African government had issued a ban on ‘Another Brick in the Wall,’ creating international headlines.”

Source: www.youtube.com

How a song about rigid school rules in England became banned in South Africa is a fantastic lesson in cultural diffusion and glocalization (where the global becomes intensely local).  Here we see an historical example of a global cultural phenomenon taking on local political dimensions.  If you are interested in teaching more about the social and historical content of music, check out TeachRock.org.      

 

Questions to Ponder: Why would this song resonate in South Africa?  How might the video/lyrics map onto the South African situation? 

 

Tags culturediffusion, globalization, popular culture, South AfricaAfrica, music.

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