Music for cultural continuity and civil society

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Music changes. Trying to freeze music-- out of nostalgia that it's passing -- is a hopeless task, not only because music changes, but because the "freezing" itself is a form of change.

MCCCS aims rather at cultural continuity and civil society through music.

Music changes, but there's a difference between continuous change within a musical tradition, and discontinuous change in the music heard in a particular culture or place. When the airwaves are flooded with commercial music -- often from afar -- radical displacement results: local music production ceases, or is dramatically transformed, often practically overnight. Typically generational splits result, dividing the population horizontally (into marketing segments) rather than vertically (into musical locales). Furthermore, the effects of such media are to render former musical participants into passive consumers.

This project seeks to maintain not the musical tradition itself, but rather its continuity and social relevance, by maintaining interest, particularly among the youth. Ironically this task is often best accomplished by injecting such music into the media space, thereby displacing musical intruders, at least enough to make space for continuous traditions of locality. Maintaining continuity ensures longitudinal strength, across generations. Maintaining relevance and participation ensures social strength, a musical form of civil society through musical participation. Music's relation to social identity and processes of solidarity-formation is very strong, so much so that when music and its associated social activity and cultural meaning is retained, society itself is strengthened. Taken together, cultural continuity and civil society through music provide the warp and woof of a stronger, more independent, more human community, one that can resist the depredations of global industry and uphold the humanity of the other.

We are working collaboratively through a participatory action research (PAR) methodology to produce MCCCS in two regions: