samedi 25 février 2017

Everybody say Zouglou!



PLAYLIST :

01 - " Asec Kôtôkô ", Poussins Chocs, Côte d'Ivoire, 1996
02 - " Gboglo Koffi ", Les Parents Du Campus, Côte d'Ivoire, 1991
03 - " Victoire ", Petit Yodé et l'Enfant Siro, Côte d'Ivoire, 2000
04 - " Antilaleca ", Petit Yodé et l'Enfant Siro, Côté d'Ivoire, 2002
05 - " Serie M ", Les Avocates, Côte d'Ivoire
06 - " Paris ", Petit Yodé et l'Enfant Siro, Côte d'Ivoire, 2000
07 - " 1er Gaou ", Magic System, 1er Gaou, Next Music, France, 2002
08 - " Génération Mapouka avec Les Tueuses de la Cote d'Ivoire ", Envoyé Spécial, France

[FR] Apparu au début des années 1990, douze ans avant une première reconnaissance française, avec " Premier Gaou " de Magic System [07], le Zouglou achève une soif de réunion populaire et de libération musicale. Et pourtant, derrière Magic System ou même le Mapouka, a-t-on jamais vraiment entendu parler en Francede Zouglou ?

Avec la mort du président Félix Houphouët-Boigny en 1993, qui avait accompagné le pays depuis son indépendance en 1960, la Côte d'Ivoire a du mal à relever la tête. En proie à divers problèmes de gouvernance et jouant dangereusement avec les tensions ethniques, le nouveau  gouvernement d'Henri Konan Bédié est ouvertement critiqué.

Mais, les raisons du mécontentement sont plus anciennes car, depuis la fin des années 1970, avant la mort d'Houphouët, l'économie ivoirienne commence à stagner. Résolument tournée vers l'extérieur, la Côte d'Ivoire qui avait jusqu'alors connu un développement spectaculaire souffre de la chute des cours du cacao et du café et de ce que le jargon économique nomme plus communément " la dégradation des termes de l'échange ". Malgré les mots de réconfort du président Houphouët-Boigny, leader incontesté et incontestable du pays, la crise est là et s'installe : les plans d'ajustements structurels se succèdent les uns après les autres sans grand succès, un pagne du nom de " Conjoncture " est créé, note Yacouba Konaté, une bière du même nom aussi. À l'Université, les chambres étudiantes sont surchargées, et les bourses ne sont plus versées.
Or, avant que la rue ne s'en empare pour y faire résonner ses problèmes, c'est précisément chez l'étudiant que le zouglou voit le jour :
" Ah ! La vie estudiantine !
Elle est belle mais il y a encore beaucoup de problèmes.Lorsqu’on voit un étudiant, on l’envie
Bien sapé, joli garçon sans produit ghanéen
Mais en fait, il faut entrer dans son milieu pour connaître la misère et la galère d’un étudiant.
Ohô ! Bon Dieu, qu’avons-nous fait pour subir un tel sort ?
Et c’est cette manière d’implorer le Seigneur qui a engendré le zouglou! "
Didier Bilé, "Gbolo Koffi", Les Parents du Campus, 1990 [02].
En 1980, suite à la politique de déconcentration de l'Université, Yopougon, la plus étendue des dix communes de la ville d'Abidjan, se voit dotée d'une cité universitaire. Avec ses deux milles maquis [maquis : restaurant ou gargote où l'on mange, boit, écoute de la musique et rencontre des filles], Yopougon est un lieu de fête qui rivalise avec le quartier de Treichville au titre de coeur de l'économie libidinale de la capitale. Mais, derrière les apparences d'une vie en dilettante, partagés entre les bancs de l'Université et le maquis, les étudiants sont eux aussi en proie aux problèmes qui touchent le pays.
Victime des coupures chroniques d'électricité que connaît le quartier, un soir de février 1990, la coupe est pleine : les étudiants plongés dans l'obscurité en pleine période d'examen descendent dans le rue, érigent des barrages, cassent des voitures, violente leurs conducteurs. Le lendemain, attroupés devant le rectorat de l'Université, un étudiant se détache de ses paires, arrache le drapeau du parti unique et le déchire sous les applaudissements de la foule. Les forces de l'ordre interviennent suscitant les vives protestations du principal syndicat des professeurs d'Université qui entre en grève illimité, exigeant instamment le retrait des forces de l'ordre, la démission du recteur, la fin du parti unique et l'instauration du multipartisme.
Celle-ci est concédée le 30 avril 1990, mais alors que l'effervescence contestataire commençait à se propager en dehors des milieux étudiants, une expédition punitive commandée par le général Robert Guéï est organisée dans la cité universitaire de Yopougon.
Alors qu'un peu partout en Afrique, les pouvoirs autoritaires chancelaient face à la rue annonçant l'avènement du multipartisme, le zouglou se fit le porte parole de cet élan :
" Les Congolais avaient leur rumba qu’ils déclinaient à loisir en boucher, kawacha, kwassa kwassa, kayebo, zaïko, avec chaque fois les déhanchements encore plus lacifs. Notre problème en Côte-d’Ivoire, n’était pas de ne pas savoir dériver une musique d’une autre, mais de jouer chacun pour notre propre compte, de construire partout et tous les jours des chapelles éphémères. " ziglibity, ziguéhi, zouglou, zoblazo, zogada..., chez nous, tout se danse en z ", chantera N’st Coffies. Mais à ce jeu multiplicateur des styles en x ou en z, difficile de construire un courant musical qui dégageun air de famille. Pendant ce temps, chez nos voisins, highlife rythmait et rythme toujours avec Ghana. Sa variation nigériane privilégia tantôt l’accordéon avec I. K. Dairo, tantôt la guitare solo avec Sunny Ade, mais à travers ces aventures, le highlife resta le highlife. Et le tentemba ? Qui ne connaissait le Tentemba guinéen internationalisé par le Bembeya Jazz national ? Quant à nous, enfants d’Houphouët-Boigny, nous demeurions sceptiques : quand donc aurons-nous notre musique nationale ? Quel jour plaira-t-il au très haut de nous gratifier d’une musique qui, rien qu’à ses premières notes, évoquera, signalera la Côte-d’Ivoire de l’Ouest à l’Est et du Nord au Sud ? " Yacouba Konaté, p. 778.
Si le zouglou parle à tous les Ivoiriens, c'est d'abord parce qu'il leur parle nouchi :
" Loin des périphrases pompeuses, il monte un univers d'images et d'expressions vives, fabrique des mots nouveaux, restaure les noms propres en verbes et les verbes en noms. " Yacouba Konaté, p. 783.
Le nouchi est un français délibérément détourné, piochant ses mots à droite, à gauche. Évitant les restriction des langues locales, il devient au même moment que le zouglou la lingua franca de la ville ivoirienne que riches et pauvres comprennent, mais dont les vrais esthètes sont dans la rue. Avec le nouchi, le zouglou parle aux Ivoiriens parce qu'il leur parle de leurs problèmes : ceux des étudiants, mais aussi de Dieu, de Satan [03] et de l'impuissance sexuelle [04] ; le zouglou donne la voix aux femmes [05], accuse les parents ["Vérité", Les Bavars] et met en garde ceux qui voudraient quitter leur pays, avec un sens délicieux de la formule :
" À Paris quand tu vois un Blanc, il est sale, mais sa maison est propre, mais quand tu voix un Noir, il est propre mais sa maison est sale !!! "
" Paris ", Petit Yodé et l'Enfant Syro [06].
Mais, le zouglou n'a pas que le sens des mots : s'il est vraiment libérateur, c'est parce qu'il est un exutoire tout autant pour la parole que pour le corps. Cette libération le zouglou ne l'énonce pas simplement, mais l'accomplit :
" Le saviez-vous, note Yacouba Konaté, à Abidjan on ne dit pas, 'je danse le zouglou', on dit 'je libère en zouglou'." p. 783.
En effet, c'est du Zouglou que le Mapouka tirera quelques années plus tard son efficacité quasi-mécanique. Danse pelvique que certains tiennent même pour l'origine du twerk, le Mapouka voit le jour en Côte d'Ivoire et ferra l'objet d'une hystérie générale au milieu des années 1990. " Poses lascives, mouvements très suggestives " [Envoyé spécial, 08], le Mapouka aura ses ambassadrices, les Tueuses, qui le feront connaître sur toutes les scènes du continent africain et même au-delà. Taxé de pornographique par ses détracteurs, le Mapouka sera rapidement censurés : les cassettes retirées de la vente, les vidéos interdites de diffusion sur la télévision ivoiriennes, et les concerts des Tueuses annulés.
Pourtant rien n'y fera, les enregistrements circuleront sous le manteau et le Mapouka sera progressivement réhabilité. Propulsé au devant de la scène par l'armée qui prend le pouvoir en décembre 1999 sous le commandement du général Robert Guéï (le même qui avait réprimé la révolte étudiante de Yopougo), le mapouka parachève cette liesse populaire dont le zouglou avait été l'étincelle.

Mais les grandes messes populaires orchestrées par l'armée n'ont jamais su faire taire le zouglou, et Yopougon resta, même après l'assassinat du général Guéï, un bastion de la révolte étudiante, un temps protégé par son propre service d'ordre. On y danse encore aujourd'hui le zouglou qui, aux dires de certains Ivoriens, n'aurait rien perdu de son esprit. Etonnant de voir que Didier Bilé, enfant de Yopougon, leader des Parents du Campus et auteur du premier succès zouglou, en donnait la recette dès le début :
" Danse philosophique qui permet à l’étudiant de se réjouir et d’oublierun peu ses problèmes. Dansons donc le zouglou ! "
" Gboglo Koffi ", Les Parents du Campus, [02].
[EN] Born at the beginning of the 90's, twelve years before "Premier Gaou" by Magic System entered the French chart [07], Zouglou marks the musical liberation of Ivory coast peoples by themselves. But, beside Magic System or even the Mapouka, who has ever heard in France of Zouglou ?

After the death of President Félix Houphouët-Boigny in 1993, who led the country from its independence in 1960, it is hard for Ivory Coast to keep its head up. The new government of Henri Konan Bédié is openly criticized due to various problems of governance.

In fact, the motives for discontent are deeply rooted in the 80's economic crisis. While Ivory Coast was distinguished during the 70's among other West African nations for its spectacular development, the country is confronted at the end of the decade with the fall of cacao and coffee prices. Despites various attempts by President Houphouët-Boigny to reassure its people, the crisis is real and none of the several structural adjustment plans seems to change anything. A loincloth is created with the name "Conjoncture" - i.e. "economic crisis" - a beer with the same name too. In the University, student rooms are overcrowded and scholarships are not paid anymore: or it is precisely students who will bring Zouglou to existence:
"Oh, student life!
It is beautifull but still there are a lot problems
When you see a student, you feel envious,Dressed up to the nines, without Ghanaian products
But in fact, you have to understand his situation to discover the despair and the misery of student,
Oho ! God, what have we done to deserve such a punishment?
And it is this way to implore the Lord that gave birth to Zouglou!"
Didier Bilé, "Gbolo Koffi", Les Parents du Campus, 1990 [02].
In 1980, the politic of deconcentration of the University gave to Yopougon, the biggest township of Abidjan, a campus. In the 80's, Yopougon was a place to party, competing with Treichville to be the core center of the libidinal economy of the capital, with more than two thousands maquis [a "maquis" is a bush, here refering to a small restaurants where you can drink, eat, listen to music and meet girls]. But beneath the facade of dilettantism, students were hardly aloof from all of the problems affecting the country.
One night of February 1990, while deeply immersed in exam studies, Yopougon is victim of a power cut. While power cuts seemed to have become chronic at that time, this one was the drop of water that made the vase overflow: students took the street, set up roadblocks, broke cars and bullied their drivers. The next day, students gathered around the Rectorate of the University, one of them pulled down and tore the flag of the one-party State uneder the acclamations of the crowd.
The Police intervened producing a huge protestation from the most important university professors trade union calling for an unlimited strike and asking the police to withdraw, the Rector to resign, and the single party system to end. De facto, the single party system ended on April the 30th, but the event was followed by a punitive expedition led by Major General Robert Guéï in Yopougon township.
While everywhere in Africa authoritarian power were falling in front of multi-party system, Zouglou gave voice to the Ivorian impetus.

Zouglou talks to all Ivorians, cause it talks nouchi. Avoiding the limitation of local dialects, Nouchi makes a hijacked and conscious use of French and some other languages. "Turning proper names to verb and verb to proper names", wrote Yacouba Konaté, Nouchi became at the same time a lingua franca understood by almost all urban Ivoirians, whether poor or wealthy, but whose real poets were the street urchins.
On the other hand, Zouglou talks to Ivoirians cause it talks about their problems : student problems, God and Devil [03], sexual impotence [04]. Zouglou gives voice to women [05], accuses parents ["Vérité", Les Bavars], and warns migration candidate, with a delightful sens to find a good formula :
"In Paris, when you see a white person, he is dirty, but his house is clean, but when you see a black man, he is clean, but his house is dirty!!!"
"Paris", Petit Yodé et l'Enfant Syro [06].
But Zouglou is not just freeing in words, it is also in bodies. As Yacouba Konaté wrote :
"In Abidjan, you don't say 'I dance the zouglou', but 'I free in zouglou'"
Indeed Zouglou then gave birth to Mapouka. Mapouka dance is focused on pelvis moves, and that's why one may have quote it as the origin of Twerk: what is sure, is that Mapouka was the center of national craze in the middle of the 90's. With unique suggestive moves, Mapouka found some ambassadresses with the Tueuses – ie The Killers of Mapouka – who led the dance to be known all over Africa and abroad. Labelled "pornographic" by its opponents, the Mapouka was momentarily censored. But still the craze did not go down and tapes went to be sold illicitly. Mapouka was soon rehabilitated, and even praised by the army who took the power in December 1999 under the leadership of general Guéï – the one who repressed the student uprising of Yopougon.

However, popular gatherings orchestrated by militaries have never overshadowed zouglou, and Yopougon, remained a bastion of student voice even after general Guéï's murder in 2002. Nowadays Yopougon peoples still "free in zouglou" and according to some Ivorians, zouglou spirit is still intact. Interesting to note, that this message was all contained in the words of Didier Bilé, student of Yopougon and leader of Parents du Campus, who wrote the first zouglou success:
"Philosophical dance which allowed students to revel and forget a bit their problems. Let's dance the zouglou!"
"Gboglo Koffi", Les Parents du Campus [02].

jeudi 1 septembre 2016

Everybody say Oe Oe!



PLAYLIST :

01 - " Tirchi Topi Wale ",  Tridev OST, scored by Kalyanji Anandji and Lyrics by Anand Bakshi, 1989
02 - " The Rhythm Is Gonna Get You ", Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine, Epic, 1987

[FR] Peter Manuel fait tout un cas de la parodie dans son étude éponyme, Cassette Culture Popular Music and Technology in North India. La parodie est d'ailleurs une façon assez commune d'interroger la circulation des références occidentales en dehors de l'Occident. 

Mais l'auteur ne s'attarde pas sur la question du droit d'auteur qui a cristallisé les débats opposants les industries de la musique et leurs détracteurs des années 1990 aux années 2000, tendant à faire croire, parfois de façon un peu caricaturale mais pas toujours de la bouche de qui l'on pense, soit que la musique était tout à son auteur, soit qu'elle n'avait pas d'auteur du tout. 

Or la musique a ses auteurs qui la plupart du tant ne sont pas les plus puissants. 

Peter Manuel donne ainsi cet exemple d'un musicien bhojpuri qui, dans les années 1980, intenta un procès à His Master Voice pour plagiat. Face au dédommagement trop peu conséquent qu'on lui proposait, l'auteur fit appel à l'issue du premier procès, mais fut condamné lors du second. HMV avait en effet recruté entre-temps d'autres musiciens bhojpuri par lesquelles la maison de disque fit prétendre que le morceau plagié était en fait un air traditionnel. 

Si l'industrie musicale emprunte beaucoup aux mélodies populaires, Peter Manuel rappelle que les musiciens folks du Nord de l'Inde empruntent eux aussi beaucoup à l'industrie musicale filmi. L'emprunt permettant au musicien de bénéficier de l'aura de modernité qui entoure le morceau, tout en affirmant qu'il est à la page.

Mais qu'en est-il alors des références internationales? Peter Manuel relate le cas suivant...

Alors qu'il fallu un an-et-demi et trois éditions pour que "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You" entre finalement dans les charts anglais, le hit de Gloria Estefan et Miami Sound Machine, plagié dans la bande-son de Tridev, "Tirchi Topi Wale" fut un tel succès en Inde que son refrain devint un véritable phénomène de communication de la fin des années 1980.

"Composé par Kalyanji-Anadji et Viju shah pour le film Tridev de 1989, le morceau [Tirchi Topi Wale] devint un phénomène populaire, en partie pour sa mélodie harmonieuse, mais plus particulièrement pour ses remarquables "breaks" au cours desquels un simple, refrain, quelque peu primitif est chanté. Ce passage, l'accroche essentiel du morceau, a été lui-même plagié d'un premier tube latin-rock de Miami Sound Machine, intitulé "The rhythm gonna get you'. Dans cette version originale, la phrase "ohé-ohé" apparaît comme un interlude répété, dont le but est de rappeler la musique des cultes afro-cubains. En Inde, "Tirchi topi wale", et plus particulièrement le riff "ohé-ohé" finit par devenir un véritable phénomène national. Comme les producteurs de film qui suivirent n'en finir pas de recycler le riff, Subhash Jha résume ainsi la moisson cinématographique de cette année : " les moments les plus mélodieux de l'année... furent en fait noyé par l'écho omniprésent des Ohé ohé ". Pour les élection de 1989, le Congress Party aussi bien que son opposant le BJP, utilisèrent le riff dans des morceaux politiques disséminés par le biais de cassettes promotionnelles. Un journaliste relate:
A ce moment là... quand un docteur piquait, les patients criaient Ohé-ohé, quand le téléphone sonnait, les amis répondaient Ohé-ohé. La nation brûle de la fièvre ohé-ohé. C'est le mot de code de tout tous les sentiments publics, son son peut rassembler les communautés de façon plus efficace que tous les programmes d'intégration national diffusés à la télévision. (Ghosh, 1989)
En 1989, j'ai noté que les conducteurs de rickshaw à pédales qui n'avaient pas de sonnette avaient pris l'habitude de crier "Ohé-ohé" pour se faufiler dans les rues bondées. Toutefois l'usage le plus répandu du terme était d'interpeller, pour n'importe quel motif les étrangers ou les personnes risibles, mais de façon plus provocantes, les femmes. La manie que les jeunes hommes du Nord de l'Inde prirent ensuite à alpaguer les femmes avec des "Ohé-ohé" aboutit à plusieurs bagarre et même un meurtre à Ahmedabad, et, en conséquence, à la proscription du morceau dans plusieurs villes."
Peter Manuel, Cassette Culture, Popular Music and Technology in North India, The University of Chicago Press, 1993, Chicago, pp. 139-140

[EN] Parody has always been an easyway to question the circulation of Western references abroad, here is a case related by Peter Manuel in his eponymous study, Cassette Culture :
" Composed by Kalyanji-Anadji and Viju shah for the 1989 film Tridev, the song"Tirchi Topi Wale" became phenomenally popular, partly for its tuneful melody, but especially for its conspicuous 'breaks' in which a simple, somewhat primitive sounding refrain is sung. This passage, the essentiel 'hook' of the song, was itself plagiarized from a prior Latin rock hit by the Miami Sound Machine, entitled 'The rhythm's gonna get you', in this original version, the 'oe-oe' phrase appears as a repeated interlude, intended to be reminiscent of Afro-Cuban cult music. In India, 'Tirchi topi wale,' and particularly the 'oe-oe' riff went on to become national phenomena. As subsequent film music producers relentlessly recycled the riff, Subhash Jha (1990) summed up the year's film crop, "The more melodious moments of the year...were in fact drowned out by the all-pervasive echoes of Oye oye. " In the 1989 elections, both the Congress Party and the opposition BJP used the riff in a political song disseminated in promotional cassettes. One journalist related:
These days... when doctors inject, patients scream Oye-oye, when phones ring, friends greet with Oye-oye. The nation is red-hot with the oye-oye fever. The code words for every public sentiment, their sound can unify communities more effectively than all the nation integration programmes on television. (Ghosh, 1989) 
In 1989 I noted that pedal rickshaw drivers lacking bells would routinely declaim 'oe-oe' as they weaved through crowded streets. Yet the most widespread usage of the phrase was an all-purpose heckle, whether for foreigners, otherwise laughable people, and, most provocatively, women. The delight young men throughout North india subsequently took in taunting women with 'oe-oe' led to several fights, a murder (in Ahmedabad), and the subsequent banning of the song in several cities."  
Peter Manuel, Cassette Culture, Popular Music and Technology in North India, The University of Chicago Press, 1993, Chicago, pp. 139-140.

lundi 1 août 2016

รวมเพลง/ruamphleng : Chiang Mai Folk Ensemble : "Le château qui tangue"



PLAYLIST :

01 -  " พม่าปราสาทไหว " / " Phama Prasat Wai " - วงดนตรี พื้นเมืองเชียงใหม่ / Chiang Mai Folk Ensemble
02 - " ปราสาทไหว หัวฝายสามัคคี ชุดเก่า " / " Phama Prasat Wai ", Youtube 

[FR] Comme un vieux bateau qui aurait traîné sa carcasse de bois d'un bout à l'autre de la mer, voici un bon vieux vinyle qui craque après avoir tourné, tourné et re-tourné! Mais l'image s'arrête là, car ce vinyle ne parle pas de bateau, mais de château.

À l'occasion d'un décès, il est de coutume dans la région Nord de la Thaïlande de déposer le corps du défunt dans un cercueil, lui-même déposé dans une construction de bois, sorte de grand sarcophage, dont la forme longue et pyramidale en son sommet rappelle celle d'un château (" prasath " en Thaï). Le premier jour des funérailles, la famille, les proches et le voisinage viennent saluer l'édifice avant que celui-ci, laborieusement porté ou tiré, ne soit conduit jusqu'au temple. Un ensemble musical accompagne généralement le défilée, qui, de gauche, de droite, tangue (" wai ") au rythme du château (" prasath ").

" Phama prasath wai " , le " château qui tangue (birman) " appartient au répertoire musical du Nord de la Thaïlande, je n'ai pas trouvé d'informations quant à l'appellation " birmane " (" phama "), je suppose qu'il s'agit d'un style parmi d'autres façons d'interpréter le " prasat ", comme " phama " est utilisé dans le molam, par exemple, pour distinguer un " toei " parmi d'autres " toei ". La pièce est ici interprétée par un " ensemble folklorique de Chiang Mai"  (" Wongdontri Phuenmuang Chiang Mai ", je suppose qu'il y en a plusieurs). Plus particulièrement, il s'agit d'un ensemble " pi chum ", un orchestre de flûtes de bambou à anches de métal libres, chacune percée de sept troues pour les doigts, et jouée en souffle continue. L'ensemble est accompagné d'un "ranath thum" ou un xylophone basse thaï.

La seconde vidéo, dont a été tirée l'image du cortège funèbre, a été édité par Yano Yan Poti ; elle représente un défilé dans la localité d'Hua Fai, dans le district de Mae Sot.

[EN] This vinyl crackles like the wood carcass of boat would crackle after crossing the sea dozens of times. However, « Phama prasat wai" is not about vessel but castle.

In North of Thailand, the custom for funeral is to leave the body in coffin. This coffin is loaded inside a wood construction whose long and pyramidal shape reminds the shape of a castle ("prasat" in Thai). The first day of funeral, family, relatives, neighborhood, everybody comes to pay tribute to the deacesed, before carrying the wood construction to the temple. A marching band is also parading, following the castle that shakes and pitchs ("wai" in Thai) from one side to the other.

"Phama Prasat Wai", "The Pitching Castle (Burmese)" is a musical piece from North Thailand, I don't find information about what "Burmese" refers to, but I guess that people would use this denomination to differentiate this version of "Prasat Wai" from other version, such as "Toei Phama" in molam, differentiates one "Toei" from the others.

The "Chiang Mai Folk Ensemble" ("Wong Dontri Phuenmuang Chiang Mai' among many other Folk Ensemble) is playing that piece. It is a "pi chum" ensemble, an orchestra of bamboo pipes with free metal reed, and seven holes for fingering, blowed in a horizontal position using circular breathing. The ensemble is playing with a "ranath thum", a Thai bass xylophone.

The second video from Yano Yan Poti channel shows a funeral parade from Hua Fai in the Mae Sot district.

jeudi 16 juin 2016

What Do You Mean by Asian Psychedelism? Vol. 2, Khun Narin, Thai musicians and World Music perspectives in front of new media revolution




[FR] Cet article est tiré d'une conférence donnée au Congrès de l'Union International des Sciences Anthropologiques et Ethnologiques (IUAES) qui s'est tenu à Dubrovnik en Mai dernier. Il est hélas en anglais.

Je ne me concentre pas davantage sur l'album ou la tournée du groupe, mais toujours sur le média publié par le groupe, essayant de croiser leurs perspectives et celles de leurs auditeurs occidentaux pour comprendre comment cette rencontre permet la circulation de la vidéo.


La plupart des vidéos sont tirées de la chaîne Youtube de Beer Sittichai (je vous en prie aller y faire un tour), Beer joue du phin sur le premier album et dans les vidéos de sa chaîne.

Ensuite je suis tombé sur cette vidéo faite à partir de la vidéo postée par Sumeth, le fils de Narin, ça m'a rappelé un commentaire youtube d'une mec qui disait qu'il aurait pu regarder le média en boucle des dizaines de fois. Eh bien, voilà, c'est fait plus besoin d'appuyer sur le bouton...

This article is taken from my talk at the Congress of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) in Dubrovnik, last May. 


[EN] I am still not really focusing neither on the album neither on the tour, but on the media published by the band. 


Most of the videos are taken from Beer Sittichai youtube chanel (please watch it), Beer is playing phin on the first album and his channel's videos.

Then I found this video of two hours made with a loop of the video published by Sumeth, Narin's son, it reminds me of the commentary of one guy on You Tube who said that he could watch on repeat this video for dozens times, so no need to press de button anymore...

I will talk about the case of Khun Narin Sin Phin Prayuk (aka Khun Narin Electric Phin Band), a local marching band from North Thailand (Phetchabun Province) who posted on youtube a video they recorded with a smartphone in 2011. This video led them to record albums with an independent music label from Los Angeles, then to tour in Europe. The band is of a variable size, but it is usually composed of a movable sound system, a three string luth player (aka phin), a bass player, a drum kit player, several bass drum players, and several thai cymbal players (aka ching and chap).


Khun Narin plays at local fairs, mainly temple fairs (birth, weddings, ordinations, robe offering ceremonies), but not only. They also play at other local events such as school fairs or sport competitions, so that they don't feel their music to be religious. Basically, they play for every people ready to hire them to play.

My presentation relies on an ethnographic study conducted in Thailand and Europe which is still work in progress for a Phd thesis.

Though the case I study is very specific, it gives an overview of the whole media publishing process for a non-western artist at the beginning of the 21st century. 

As the process I study is multidimensional, I will strictly focus in that presentation on the digital emergence of the media that has raised interest for Khun Narin in the Western World, and pay attention to the new perspectives that the internet brings to musicians who used not to have access to recording and broadcasting technologies.

First, I would like to go a bit beyond the general idea that once a media is put on the internet, it would be accessible, in theory, to everyone connected in the World.

Contrary to this general idea, the case I study highlights several levels of difficulty for users to access every part of internet.
  • over and above having access to basic conditions to use the internet (electricity, a computer, an internet connection)
  • the user is confronted with linguistic frontiers,
  • but as internet is essentially a scriptural medium, it adds a level of difficulty : here we have to draw a distinction between languages that use same writings and those which are transcribed with totally different scripts : such is the case of media moving from Thailand to the West whose scripts, the Thai alphabet derived from the old Khmer alphabet.
In front of such difficulties, there are different ways for users to cross linguistic frontiers in order to access a media from another linguistic area.

The case of Khun Narin, is a case in which scriptural difficulty for the first Western viewer has first been overcame thanks to an automated process, the algorhythm of youtube's video recommendations.

But what kind of a relation might appear between artists and audience whose connections relies on a non-human agent?

The following remark is from Richard Kamerman who discovered the video on the Western side:
" If I recall correctly, I was honestly just down a youtube rabbit hole, clicking recommended sidebar videos to great success - the music so often gets pleasantly surprising once you stop being able to read the video names/descriptions... " 
Richard Karmeman, answer to Peter Doolan, Monrakphlengthai, July, 2014.

The fact that the relation between Khun Narin's video and its audience relies on non-human mediations is important, because it introduces contingency and randomness at its very foundations. A contingency which is less an obstacle rather than a source of aesthetical motivation, at least on the side of the audience, which will finally lead the viewers to contact the band.

I. Khun Narin video as a Wanted Notice :

The mystery behind that connection and the undertemined nature of the media raise several questions on the side of the audience, here is a sample:
  • Connected through Richard Kamerman, the collector blog WFMU reposted the video under a name which sounds like a wanted notice : "Strange, Heavy Psychedelic Guitar Shreddage at a Thai Family Event?", october 25, 2012, WFMU,
If we dig a bit more, we can find lot of samples of questions that Khun Narin's video raised :
  • "does anybody know the name of this band or its creator? '' Dotor Guzman, youtube, 2014,
  • "Where can I get more of this? Recordings of any kind." vietnamted, 2015, youtube,
The questions that go with the video are of multiple kinds, so that it would be difficult to clearly distinguish at first sight, what do viewers are looking for, because the interest for the video is less driven by clear and distinct values rather than uncertainties. One has to admit that commentaries about that video are not just made of questions, but questions following the video are all attemps to engage discussion on the media. Whether naive or accute, those questions are essential basis for sharing information about the video and to go one step further in increasing the knowledge about it.

Even though comparison with John Dewey's definition of "a public" would not hold the distance, as entertainment concerns are not the same as political concerns, Dewey's concept highlights at least three significant features of the socio-digital process that follows the apparition of Khun Narin on the web:
  • that a public is called into being by uncertainties about a situation rather than existing previously to the situation,
  • that the inquiry of the public starts from the consequences and is moving to the causes of the phenomenon,
  • that this inquiry relies on a collective process.

    If it is impossible to give an exhaustive idea of both communities of public that this video brought into being, it is at least possible to find on the internet two crucial agents which will later make the connection with the West to produce the first album of the band :
    • First, we find Peter, who will help provide mediation between the sound engineer and the band in Thailand and who runs his own music tapes blog which is quite famous among collectors of Thai music. Peter appeared on the Dangerous Minds blog post: "Mindblowing Psychedelia from Thailand", providing informations about the content of the video. But Peter also appeared on the first post on WFMU, where he transliterated the name of the band 
    • Secondly, there is Josh, the sound engineer who will record albums of the band, and gave, in an interview, a bit more information about his inquiry : "I read the Daily Swarm, which is a music aggregator that I like a lot. They had reposted the story from the Dangerous Minds blog: “Mindblowing Psychedelia from Thailand.” I read the article and there was a video in there. I liked the video a lot [and] decided to start digging a bit deeper to see what else I could find on these guys.Eventually, I made my way to Beer. He’s the phin player, sort of the lead shredder in the band. [I found] his Youtube channel and there was just a bunch of even more amazing videos up there. There’s one where they are marching down a road just murdering it [with] amazing drum breaks. They do a great cover of “Zombie” by The Cranberries that shouldn’t work but somehow is just perfect. It’s funny, someone in the YouTube comments wrote, “Who knew that the party of the year was a slow stroll down a back road in Thailand with grandparents and children.” It’s just the whole town walking around them as they push their sound system. When I saw that I was like, “I’m sold on this. I need to find these guys now.”"Josh, (http://daily.redbullmusicacademy.com/2014/08/josh-marcy-interview, August 2014.
    II. Khun Narin video as an advertisement :

    Away from copyright concerns, it is interesting to notice that the logic of increasing knowledge through sharing on the side of the public meets the expectations of Khun Narin band, whose original purpose in uploading the video on the web was promotion.

    In 2011, the band uploaded the video on youtube with the following remark in Thai :
    " Interested ? Contact Father Rin from Lomsak on the 087------ or contact us on facebook ".

    The facebook page of the band was created in 2012 with the following sentence :
    " Delight of the audience is our delight "

    And the first post was a photograph of the soundsystem of the band with a sign on which the Thai speakers could read :
    " Phin Prayuk (applied-phin), artistic troup of Sir Narin, festivals and processions of all kinds, ordinations, Kathin and Phapa (robe offering ceremonies) auspicious ceremonies of all kinds, rate to be set under amicable arrangement ".

    Here is a remark by Beer, the luth player of the band concerning his intention in posting the video on Youtube:
    '' I just wanted everybody to watch it and know that we have an Phin Prayuk band. That's why I videotaped it and uploaded it on Youtube. So everybody can watch it. Then they will hire us to perform shows. [...] I wanted the video to be viewed worldwide. That's why I uploaded it. […] Youtube is the website with tons of video. That's Youtube. ''
    Beer, 15 novembre 2015.

    The idea that the video, and more generally a record may serve as a stricly promotional medium will further be confirmed, in Khun Narin case, once the band finally meets Josh, the sound engineer, in Thailand, to record an album and answer his offer with this first question :
    " How much would a band have to pay to record an album?"

    This remark echoes the feeling of several renowned artists in North-East Thailand who used to work with Bangkok recording industries in the past 40 years. Musicians were very badly paid, and singers almost never, because the artist, as producers argued, would benefit of the promotional effect of releasing an album under her or his name. As producing a record was an expensive investment, the producer who booked a studio would pay the songwriter and would give him a certain amount of royalties then keep the rest. As musicians and singers, in most cases, unlike songwriters and producers, did not own right on the music they play, the copyright was rather a negative concept for them, something to be suspicious about, rather than a positive notion, that is to say something that would protect them.

    To that extent, one reason that might explain why producing media (whether tape, vinyl, cds or digital music) is hardly conceived as a lucrative business in musicians' minds, is because, since the birth of the music industry, recording has been conceived and presented to musicians as an integrated branch of the music economy, rather than an autonomous and lucrative business activity in itself. That is to say, a promotional investment to boost the flow of audiences whether to concert or to movie theater (as recording industry was closely linked to film industry in Thailand).

    The consequence being, for the condition of musicians, whether to spend a harsh life touring around the country, whether to have their musical talent aknowledged by national institutions throught different official status (university professor, national artist), whether to earn a living with a more lucrative activity than music and just play in a band as a side-job or a hobby, which is the case of the members of Khun Narin band.
    Therefore, as Thai musicians in most cases scarcely get paid for recording and publishing music, the recent access to means of recording and broadcasting music through new media should not be conceived as a switch from "lucrative" to "non-lucrative" business (as it might be if we follow major music industries perspectives), but rather as a switch from an "elitist and costly prohibiting investment" to "an accessible and almost free operation".

    III. World Music Revisited or World Music upgraded?

    This decentralization has also an impact on the content of the music media too, which, in turn, highlights selection that has traditionally been made in music industries between media that are worth being translated and exported around the world and those which have still not aroused any interest in the Western world. New media allows the emergence of different forms of music which were too unusual in the way they used Western popular music standards to be published by World Music companies and which were insufficiently authentic to arouse the interest of ethnomusicologists.

    If we go back to the Western public interested in the Khun Narin case, we have to be attentive to the possibility that mystery concerning the video marks a new interest in music that has not been investigated by World Music entrepreneurs nor academics yet. That is to say, a multifaceted interest in undefined, undertemined, intermediate genres that is somehow expressed in the words of some Western viewers by such evasive terms as "psychedelic" or "funky".

    Such is the case of Khun Narin music, which appears as an in-between, mixing elements from Lao traditional music, also known as "lam" or "mor-lam" and current elements of Thai music charts such as country music (luk thung), rock-oriented songs (sam-cha, string, phleng phua chiwit) or reggae.

    This in-between is almost stated in the qualification that the band gave to their style of music which is "phin prayuk" (cf. Khun Narin Sing Phin Prayuk). "Prayuk" might imperfectly be translated by such notions as "application", "adaptation", or "upgrading". While this idea goes through the history of contemporary molam music in Thailand, it is quite hard to find a proper definition, here is one definition among several others given by Beer, the phin player of the band :
    We mix Hi-tech and Lo-tech together, and this creates the beautiful melodious sound that makes our audience happy. [...]. Prayuk, that means you bring something old to use it in a different way, for instance an empty bottle of water that you've thrown away, you take it back and fill it with water again ".
    Beer, 15 novembre 2015.

    "Prayuk" conveys the idea of a constant process of innovation not limited to a specific format of technology (that is the reason why the translation of electric does not perfectly fit "prayuk"). Prayuk can be applied to musical genres but it is a process which is usually limited to slight, tangible, and located modifications that do not totally change the initial nature of the entity they modified such as electrifying a phin, adding delay to a molam song or, mixing lam with internationally oriented pop music.

    Conclusion:

    So, the relocation of means of production and diffusion of media from an oligopolistic configuration to a more democratic one, widens possibilities for musicians to ensure their own business but also their own artistic autonomy, which also favors unusual and less determined connections with their public. The case I am presenting sheds light on new possibilities for musicians around the world, but it is unique in several ways. For that reason, this case should not pass over in silence the gap to be filled between big corporation and independent musicians which is nowadays bigger than ever.  

    mardi 1 mars 2016

    รวมเพลง/ruamphleng : Khun Narin



    PLAYLIST :

    01 - " ผัวเก่า " / " Phua Kao " / " Old husband " - ขุนนรินทร์ศิลป์พิณประยุกต์ / Khun Narin Sin Phin Prayuk / Commandant Narin Modified Phin Ban aka Khun Narin Electric Band - II

    02 - " ผัวเก่า " / " Phua Kao " / " Old husband " - ศร สินชัย / Son Sinchai - อัลบั้ม ชุดที่ 7 บ่ตาย...แต่อ้ายเจ็บ/Vol. 7 Botai... Taeaichaep

    พิณ - ไชยันต์ สอนเผาะ (ออ๊ฟ), ณัฐพล สร้อยสน) (บาส)

    กีตาร์เบส - วิทวัส ฉิมพาลี (เบียร์)
    กลองชุด - วัลลภ แสงอรุณ) (เปา)
    ฉาบ - วิโรจน์ ยาคำ (พ่อริน)
    กลอง - บุญธรรม มากำ (หลอด)
    กลอง - อัคชฎาวุธ นางงาม (โอ๊ต)
    กลอง - ชาญวิทย์ โคมคำ (เปา) 
    ฉาบ - พีรศักดิ์ อุดสี (โอ๊ต) 
    ฉิ่ง - วิโรจน์ มานะชีพี (วัน)

    เพลงต้นฉบับโดยศรสินชัย

    คำร้อง/ทำนอง - งัวน้อย
    เรียบเรียง - สวัสดิ์ สารคาม

    Phin - Chaiyan Sonpoh (aka Aob), Nattapol Soison (aka Bas)
    Tenor drums, splash cymbal - Wanlop Saengarun (aka Pao)
    Chap cymbal and bandleader - Wirot Yakham (aka Pho Rin)
    Klong drum - Buntham Makam (aka Lot)
    Klong drum - Akchadawut Nangngam (aka Hot)
    Klong drum - Chanwit Khonkham (aka Pao) 
    Chap cymbal - Phirasak Hutsi (aka Hot) 
    Ching cymbal - Wirot Manachip (aka Wan)
    Original song by Son Sinchai
    Bass guitar - Witthawat Chimphali (aka Beer)
    Lyrics and melody by Nguanoi 
    Arrangement by Sawat Sarakham

    Khun Narin /Innovative Leisure 


    Lomsak/Los Angeles


    Produced by Josh Marcy, 2016


    Khun Narin 'II' on iTunes: http://hyperurl.co/khunnarinII

    Khun Narin 'II' on Bandcamp: https://khunnarin.bandcamp.com/album/ii
    Khun Narin 'II' on Limited Blue Vinyl: http://www.innovativeleisure.net/shop...

    Video by "Donovan's Lights Out! Light Show" - Blowing minds since ‘89