World Music Grammy
No surprises in yesterday's GRAMMY Awards World Music Category:
Best traditional album went to "Raise Your Spirit Higher" by Ladysmith Black Mambazo; and the best contemporary award went to "Egypt" by Youssou N'Dour, which he actually produced already in 2001, but just released in 2004.
WB. on 2005.02.14 at 09:46 NY [Link]
Hawaiian Music new category at the 47th Grammy's
After years of intense lobbying, Hawaiian music became a new category at the 47th Grammy Awards. It established itself under the header Folk Music and became category #69 of by now 107 different categories/ awards.
While we always welcome initiatives to gain more recognition for local cultures, it seems a truly interesting precedent. Why Hawaiian music and not also French “Chanson”, Portuguese “Fado” or “Klezmer music”? Should not other national, regional or local music art forms have the same right as the Hawaiian tradition, instead of being judged against each other under the umbrella “World Music” or “Folk”. However, Hawaiian music does share its enhanced role already with “Reggae”(#70), “Native American Music(#68)” & “Polka(#73)”. Just imagine other musical traditions lobbying for their own spot in the music industries Oscar celebrations and we could have over 200 categories at the Grammy’s…
WB. on 2005.02.11 at 22:09 NY [Link]
Japanese Actors & Films
I fyou ever wanted to research some of the actors in a Japanese movie, but did not know, where to look, try JDorama.com, which calls itself also "Japanese Drama Home" - in English and Japanese. The site is maintained by a "website and Japanese drama hobbyist from Singapore" and features an A-Z index for actors and "dramas" and a time table and has many pictures.
WB. on 2005.02.02 at 17:58 NY [Link]
When English becomes a threat...
When the German government recently announced its official recommendation to radio stations “to play more German music”, it reacted to a real threat, which became increasingly apparent around the world. In a world of globalization the English language is spreading out like the newest fashion trend in teenage groups. Very often English words replace original ones and other modern words become part of local languages all over the world (“e-mail”).
Even the Chinese realize this as a danger to their own language, as recently published in China Daily:
"Chinese, as one of the world's oldest languages, is now facing unprecedented challenges. We cannot speak good English to the detriment of our mother tongue. For everyone of us, mastering a foreign language should be based on having a good command of our mother tongue. We Chinese have enough problems with our own language ...And beside the standard spoken putonghua, there are another seven main dialects, which are each further divided into several accents."
A Culture can survive in adapting to changes and languages are an important part of local cultures. It is therefore important to safeguard the traditional languages beside the international English.
WB. on 2005.01.19 at 06:33 NY [Link]
Tay Nguyen gongs (Vietnam)
Vietnam has submitted documents to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), asking for recognisation of Tay Nguyen gongs as a non-tangible and oral cultural heritage of the world.
The diverse and distinctive culture of the ethnic people in the Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) region has been receiving special attention along with increasing investment in socio-economic development to improve their living conditions reports VietNam News
WB. on 2005.01.19 at 06:05 NY [Link]
Watch, what the Middle East is watching!
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) in Washington, D.C. is providing much needed understanding of the islamic world through its projects, but also with its MEMRI TV web site. Any interested person can log in and view a variety of actual TV-programming from the Middle East, which is translated into English and a number of other languages. MEMRI started this new service in March 2004 and is adding to the possibilities, non-arabic speakers can access directly TV-Media from the region.
Another highly praised program is MOSAIC on the independent non-profit channel LinkTV, which is airing daily a 30-minute edited TV-News-collection from Lebanon, Quatar, U.A.R., Egypt, P.N.A., Sudan, etc.. LinkTV is available to all Satellite (DISH and DirecTV) subscribers. MOSAIC is also streaming the latest episode on its website.
WB. on 2004.12.01 at 12:58 NY [Link]
Was Shakespeare a Sufi?
"There's an old joke about William Shakespeare being an Arab - how else, it explains, can you account for the name, Sheikh Zubair." writes Ali Jafaar in the (Lebanon) Daily Star and I stop and read it again. I hadn't heard about it so far, but it proves a good introduction into an article, reporting about an Islam awareness week at the Globe Theater in London, titled "Shakespeare and Islam".
The right project at the right time to answer public ignorance and prejudices (again) with cultural and arts projects, presenting the unknown in order to enhance understanding. Aren't Shakespeare's characters Prospero ("The Tempest") and Edgar ("King Lear") maybe even strongly influenced by Sufi Philosophy?
WB. on 2004.11.29 at 23:23 NY [Link]
OneWorld South Asia reports how India's Aalternative Film Movement defies censors to impact change:
"A forum of over 300 documentary filmmakers is campaigning for the right to freedom of expression in India's capital, New Delhi, screening over 60 powerful films, most of which were rejected by the country's draconian censor board." 64 alternative - or independent - films were chosen from a successful filmfestival, called "Vilkap". The festival in Mumbai (India's film capital) proved the need for new voices beyond Bollywood, India's famous mass film production synonym. Most of the films are dealing with issues of community, development, human and women rights and all of them were heavily censored by India's authorities. Declaring themselves a "campaign against censorship", the organizers called September "the month of Free Speech!"
WB. on 2004.09.22 at 09:57 NY [Link]