11 January 2012

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For the first Wednesday meeting of the new year Rana Al Kadi will be presenting research based on her ongoing Master’s-related fieldwork.

Title: Free Improvised Music in Beirut: Combatting Collective Amnesia and Proposing a Model for Post-war Society

Date: Wednesday January 11, 2012
Time: 12-1pm (sharp) - Bring your lunch!
Place: Canadian Centre for Ethnomusicology, 3-47 Old Arts Bldg, University of Alberta

My presentation will focus on a group of Lebanese free improvised music practitioners whose initial musical collaborations are indicative of the lingering effects of civil war, but whose recent initiatives reflect a profound social critique of Lebanese post-war society. I argue that their abstract sound collages and improvised audio-visual performances shed light on otherwise silenced collective memories, thus deconstructing and challenging official war memory. Further, I suggest that these performances contribute to a larger discourse which critiques Lebanese society’s so-called “collective amnesia,” calling instead for a more informed, multi-vocal memory of the war which strives to learn from the past and promote national as opposed to sectarian identity. Finally, I question the extent to which such “elitist” artistic creations are representative of the Lebanese experience of civil war, and whether they possess the potential to impact society on a broader level.

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