Domagoj Kučinić: Pavao Markovac and “Worker’s Music”: not for concert halls, but for meetings and trips

Pavao Markovac was a musicologist, publicist, critic, political agitator, organizer, and a prominent member of the so-called Croatian left intelligentsia between the two World Wars. His extremely rich political and artistic work within the labor movement regularly, however, remained outside the narrow focus of scholarly debates. To illustrate, Nataša Leverić Špoljarić in the text “Pavao Markovac (1903–1941) – a musical enlightener between two world wars (on the 80th anniversary of his death)” (sic!) almost completely bypasses this part of his work, citing it only as a biographical episode, while other aspects of his work are elaborated in more detail. The reasons for omitting this key aspect still wait to be investigated, but it would not seem wrong to attribute them to historical revisionism, which casts a shadow on many fields and many depictions of left-wing artists and cultural workers of the interwar period. In different encyclopedic entries about Markovac there is only a remark that he wrote about music from a Marxist perspective, which does not show the width, complexity and intertwining of his journalistic, political and artistic work, based on the Marxist tradition. This text does not pretend to completely fill this gap, but to re-initiate the debate introduced by Markovac himself, which is, in short, on Marxist interpretations of music, its production, reception and, finally, it’s role in the society.

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Tanja Petrović: From Noise to Voice. The Work of Sonic Affect amid Industrial Debris

On the website one can listen to the sound installation by artists Marko Tadić and Miro Manojlović “Concrète machines: 13 pieces for Prvomajska”. These sound pieces have been used at the exhibition in the framework of The Second Biennale of Industrial Art in Istria under the title “On the Shoulders of Fallen Giants.” The installation was placed in the cinema hall in Raša, a small mining town, known as the youngest town in Istria: it was built in 1936 and 1937 to be home of miners and their families. The mines were closed only 30 years later, and the town is today just a monument to mining life and labor. The cinema hall also lost its function – its interior is emptied of seats and void of function. It is just one among many empty, ruining buildings in this town, built by Italians during their administration in Istria. The town that was carefully conceptualized to cater the needs of its inhabitants, for a long time already stands still, bond with the past, as a monument to a bygone era, and as a ruin of the imagination of the future that industrialization used to embody.

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Mojca Kovačič: “Recording bracelets” a methodological tool for ethnography of affect

The empirical study in which we focus on the affective and emotional potential of music in shaping political collectivities also involves fieldwork at selected communal events, such as official and unofficial commemorations, festivals, protests. In addition to autoethnography, on which researchers of affective and emotional states often base their approach, we are primarily interested in the singing and listening experiences of active participants. Of course, a question immediately came up: How to capture those momentary states or bodily responses to music performance (before, during or after the event)? We wanted to collect data on an individual’s bodily experience, but we didn’t opt for a neuroscientific approach. Namely, we see such an approach as limited, as it often neglects previous experiences or histories of performance and listening involved in “current” bodily reactions (see Martin 2013). However, we don’t deny that a combination of the two would also contribute to our approach.

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Catherine Baker: The space of an embrace: Eurovision’s affective communities in lockdown

Shortly after lockdown in Italy began, Italian apartment-dwellers started joining in co-ordinated singing from their balconies, including the song that had just won the Sanremo Music Festival and was still officially Italy’s entry for the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest. When it became clear that that too would have to be cancelled, Eurovision fans rallied together on social media to bind their sense of community back together by watching past contents online. Continue reading “Catherine Baker: The space of an embrace: Eurovision’s affective communities in lockdown”

Martin Pogačar: Futures of a clandestine recording: a song as a mnemotechnical device

A couple of years ago I was browsing YouTube videos when a video popped of a 1941 recording of an old Slovenian choir song Lipa zelenela je (“The linden tree grows green”). I knew the song only too well. It was a ubiquitous sonic feature of my growing up in the socialist Slovenia/Yugoslavia, part of choir repertoires, and a popular funeral song (as it is today). Hence it was generally disliked at the time by myself and my peers, and also became a matter of pop musical reinterpretations. Lačni Franz, for example, took the title and ironicised the funeral motive in his reinterpretation of the song. However, I hardly knew anything about the 1941 recording that, found on YT about 75 years later, shows two images, one of a map of occupied Slovenia during the Second World War (1941–1945) and another of Ljubljana under fascist occupation (1941–1943).


Lipa zelenela je. 1941 performance. Source.

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Rajko Muršič: Everyday communism in Slovenian grassroots and underground music venues

We live in deeply paradoxical times. Everybody has access to more music than ever, but at the same time music is becoming less and less powerful as a social activity. Music – especially popular music – does still affect society, but not the way it did decades ago. All around the western world, music venues are rapidly disappearing or barely surviving at the margins. Pocket loudspeakers occasionally disturb social “peace”, but earphones seem to inscribe definite symbolic boundaries in everyday reality, at home and in public.

Still, music’s basic appeal has not changed, with it being the most effective symbolic practice that catches both the whole body and the mind. It is essentially intimate, social and common at the same time. Live music will not disappear so easily.

In this short post I will present some thoughts related to continuous encounters with various music venues in Slovenia in several capacities – as part of the audience, as an active participant in the establishment and short-term operation of such a venue, as a musician, and, finally, as a researcher. In the 1990s I studied the Rock and Youth Club in the Slovenian village of Trate, which eventually became a dissertation-based monograph.

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Evrim Hikmet Öğüt: Music and Musicians “in the Days of Corona” – creating a new hope or deepening inequalities?

Music and Musicians “in the Days of Corona” – creating a new hope or deepening inequalities?

Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic not only determines our agenda but also surrounds us all. What we do and what we cannot, everything is related to it. We live through the pandemic and speak its language. Our way of seeing the present world, our ways of understanding the past and envisioning the future are all under transformation. This epistemological shift, most probably, will become more distinctive in the following days and we will discuss it a lot. My intention here is to think about how our relationship with music gets and can get its share of this transformation.

Keywords: Corona pandemic, precarity, solidarity

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Ana Hofman on decoloniality and ethnomusicology

Ana Hofman v debati o dekolonialnosti in etnomuzikologiji z: Naila Ceribašić, Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research, Zagreb; Regina F. Bendix, Institute for Cultural Anthropology/European Ethnology, Göttingen, Germany; Olga Pashina, State Institute for Art Studies, Moscow, Russia; Timothy Rice, Department of Ethnomusicology, University of California, Los Angeles, USA; Jonathan P. J. Stock, Department of Music, University College Cork, Ireland

Entire article available here.

Ana Hofman – SINGing, SOCIALizing, SELForganizing: An insight into an engaged Viennese music collective

It is the evening of 11 December in Vienna’s 15th district, and I am sitting with Jana, Lejla, and Šarlot, eagerly awaiting the screening of a documentary about a unique community choir on the occasion of its fourth anniversary. We are in Brunnengasse, known as a migrant district of Vienna, at the AU Gallery, which is starting to crowd with men, women, and children of all ages and various ethnicities, all of them warmly greeting each other. In this setting, through the documentary and a public rehearsal that soon began, I became acquainted with a most interesting Viennese singing collective, the 29th of NovemberChoir. Vienna is a city known for its music, and one can expect many different musical networks, organizations, and professional bodies. And yet the choir members, many of whom I met at the documentary screening, do not perceive themselves as musicians at all. Rather, they claim radical amateurism, musical self-education, and self-organization. Why?


More information available here.