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World Famous

Charlie Gillett & Lucy Duran
Charlie Gillett & Lucy Duran
You also cannot proscribe against cross-cultural collaborations. Charlie Gillett differentiates between hybrids and fusions. “There is a lot of fusion music. I don’t like most of it. You get a sense of a drum machine being switched on and people just sprinkling it with different things over the top. Whereas a hybrid is where you’ve brought together two or three previously unconnected forms and somehow the combination of these things adds up to something new.”

Andy Kershaw illustrates the point: “I would say that Algeria produces some of the most cutting-edge hybrids, taking their own music and mixing it with things like dub, ragga, or dance music and creating wonderful stuff. I get criticism from purists who say ‘This isn’t what Algerian music is supposed to be about!’. I always counter that argument by saying ‘If you were to take that rigid view of music, you would have to say that no guitarist in Africa should ever have picked up an electric guitar, which would be a ludicrous position to adopt’.”

The argument which would dismiss hybrid forms from the category of ‘world music’ is the product of a misplaced search for a non-existent ideal of authenticity, the product of an idealised Western construction on the meaning of sound from other cultures.

As Mark Kidel points out, “The music we consume is inevitably extracted from the social, religious and cultural context which gave rise to it and nourished it. Our ears are opened, yet something is lost.” Although we may enjoy sounds from another culture and they may have meaning for us, we simply cannot understand them as one does if brought up in the culture from which they came.

fRom fRoots 289, July 2007


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