Tag Archives: Music

CFC: SAVVY Journal 5th Edition

Savvy logo CALL FOR CONTRIBUTIONS 5th EDITION SAVVY JOURNAL 

At The Shrine

Reflections, Reciprocalities and Reverberations: Fine Art and Music

The fifth edition of the SAVVY Journal for critical texts on contemporary African art will explore the influence of music on contemporary art practices and map interfaces between visual media, fine art, and music in the African and African diaspora context. The title of this collection, “At the Shrine” is a reference to Fela Kuti‘s Shrine Nightclub and concert venue; a cultural space and an epitome of a social sculpture. This music venue captures our vision of the links between visual expression, music, and critical inquiry.

The mutual relationship between music and fine art, which goes back to time immemorial, manifests itself on different levels. Both artistic languages inform each other in diverse enriching ways. Some of these points of intersection that have crystallized and proven to be ground-breaking in a variety of disciplines in recent decades include, but are not limited to: Performance/ Performativity – e.g. the enigmatic blend of music and performance art, as in the case of Les Têtes Brulées, or the socio-political vigour channelled through the audio and visual of Fela Kuti’s music, which has since been an important source of inspiration for many visual artists; Photography – e.g. the presence of James Brown’s music in Malick Sidibe’s photography, the synergy between Johannesburg’s jazz scene and a whole generation of Drum photographers, or the field of music portraiture championed by the likes of Samuel Nja Kwa; Video – ranging from video art, as in the case of Goddy Leye’s “We Are The World”, to music video clips featuring a variety of musical styles from Azonto, through Coupé Decalé or Kwaito to Rai that have completely transformed the production and consumption of popular culture in Africa; Illustration, Patterning, and Painting – which have been essential in the making of outstanding record covers and album posters; the interconnectedness between music and fashion design; the influence of the likes of Sun Ra on Afrofuturism; Experimental Composition and Sound Art as in the case of Emeka Ogboh; Theatre/ Theatricality – the links in popular theatre traditions between multimedia theatre groups that rely on popular music bands and sign-board painters, such as in Ghanaian and Nigerian Concert Party traditions; Electronica – artists, musicians are creatively reusing music software, online resources, and mobile phone technologies to refigure older styles of music, dance, communication and visual imaging. Some of these forms are explicitly understood as art while others are ephemeral forms of expression. Street Art – graffiti, spoken word, poetry, street dance are forms that link musical, political and counter-cultural expression.

This edition of SAVVY Journal is not intended as an anthology of music and fine art. Instead, we   ask contributors to investigate where disciplines meet, how genres are demarcated, and what emerges from their various encounters, as well as explore the nexus between performativity, fine art, music and technology. Indeed we are concerned with the ways in which ideas of genre and modality are themselves made and unmade in artistic practice. We are interested in articles on the role of sound appropriation in the conceptualisation of art works and of visual aspects in the creation, performance and consumption of sound and music.

Furthermore, this edition will explore and identify those artists who, using various textures and formats, work on this crossroad of sound and vision. Also, from a more general point of view, we are interested in reflections on how the encounter of image and sound in popular music has influenced culture and society. The impact of soundtracks on social and political movements on and beyond the continent would be another fascinating topic.

For this edition, the SAVVY Journal editorial will be enriched by the following guest-editors:

Dr. Hauke Dorsch (African Music Archives, Mainz), Ntone Edjabe (Chimurenga / Pan African Space Station, Cape Town) and Prof. Jesse Weaver Shipley (Haverford College, Philadelphia).

We invite essays from writers of all backgrounds – artists, curators, art historians, and theoreticians, scholars – not exceeding 3500 words in length, discussing the above mentioned or related issues.

Additionally, we are interested in more general articles such as artist-features, exhibition reviews and previews of circa 1500 words.

For more information please visit www.savvy-journal.com

Submissions to: editorial@savvy-journal.com

Deadline: 15th August 2013

Modalities:

  • Manuscripts with max. 3500 words in length, as text document WITHOUT formatting
  • Author’s names and short biography of ca. 100 words at the end of the article
  • Texts must be accompanied by five keywords
  • Manuscripts must be submitted in English or German. All German texts should also be accompanied by an English translation
  • All bibliographic references must be included in the document’s last page
  • VERY IMPORTANT: Do NOT  use the footnote or endnote facility in your word-processing program; just add the notes, numbered, at the end of the main text
  • VERY IMPORTANT: please include the following info: – artist’s (or author’s) name in CAPTIONS, title of work must be in italic, date of work, media, dimensions, collection (or place of exhibition), photo credits. e.g._: Jane Alexander, The Butcher Boys, 1985/86 (plaster sculpture), National Gallery of Arts, Cape Town, South Africa.
SAVVY | art.contemporary.african
SAVVY | kunst.zeitgenössisch.afrikanisch
http://www.savvy-journal.com
editorial@savvy-journal.com
Dr. Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung (Chief-Editor)
Andrea Heister (Dep. Chief-Editor)
SAVVY Journal c/o SAVVY Contemporary e.V.
Richard Str. 43/44
12005 Berlin
Germany

Jack White and the Blues

This week’s video feature begins with Jack White’s mention of Cab Calloway and improvisational performance of St. James’ Infirmary Blues on BBC2’s Later with Jools Holland:

Before doing his northern Detroit version of St. James’ Infirmary Blues, White mentions that he first heard it performed by Cab Calloway as part of a Betty Boop cartoon. This great version of the song along with the original cartoon is also available online and posted below. Calloway’s performance comes about 4 minutes 20 into the cartoon and it’s not only Calloway’s voice you can hear but also his dance moves you can see too, as performed by Koko the clown. Calloway’s performance was in fact recorded and then transferred into the animation using the rotoscoping method so that frame-by-frame Koko would mimic Calloway’s unique moves. This method was also used to transfer Calloway’s move onto the screen in the Betty Boop cartoon Minnie the Moocher that we used as our first video of the week post.

Of course White has always been influenced by earlier blues artists and this continues on his first solo album, Blunderbuss, which was released last week.  Track 8 – I’m Shakin’ – features a great guitar riff and sees White covering “The Prince of the Blues” Little Willie John.

Earlier in his career as one part of the duo The White Stripes live performances often included covers of various Delta Blues artists including: Blind Willie McTell, Robert Johnson and as shown here below the fierce voice and guitar bashing sounds of Son House.

Arcade Fire in Haiti and Kanaval in Jacmel

The stimulus for this week’s video feature was a montage of clips made into a short video by the world-renowned band Arcade Fire from a couple of trips they made to Haiti.

These clips were filmed during a number of trips Arcade Fire made to Haiti in March 2011 and February 2012 and played to one of the best tracks – Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) – from their latest album The Suburbs. There are some great shots of the mountainous landscape that gave Haiti its name but also a lot of great clips showing Haitian carnival masks and costumes being used in performance in the Southern Haitian town of Jacmel.

These clips reminded me of the arresting images of Haitian carnival revealers by photographer Leah Gordon in the book Kanaval: Vodou, Politics and Revolution of the Streets of Haiti published in 2010. These extraordinarily potent images are surrounded by a number of compelling essays by scholars working in a variety of disciplines and an array of oral testimonies from contemporary carnival participants who discuss: their costume, their performance, and its meaning for them.

More images of Kanaval – with some short descriptions of stock characters – can be seen on Leah Gordon’s homepage. The Guardian also posted a review of the publication in 2010 that provoked a heated online debate with some though-provoking comments. This is still available to view online, click here to see it in full.

Showing the vast preparations for this annual event is another film created by Haitian youth working with Ciné Institute who are based in Jacmel. They began by creating Film Festival Jakmèl which screened international films to thousands of Haitians annually. This event was held for three years before Ciné Institute expanded to provide film education and edutainment, technical training, and media related micro enterprise opportunities to local youth.

This film is an assembly of stories filmed by Ciné Lekol students during the 2009 Jacmel Carnival under the instruction of Jonathan Stack in a workshop on Documentary Production and posted on Vimeo. This video follows a few individuals and groups who take part in carnival every year in the run up to the 2009 event. Its features a brilliant set of short interviews with participants who explain how they prepare for carnival each year revealing a mix of motivations behind carnival performance. Even such esteemed politicians as René Preval and Abraham Lincoln makes appearances among more familiar carnival characters like Charles Oscar and the lansekod.  Click here to find out more about Ciné Institute – whose latest film Stones in the Sun had its world premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival this weekend.

Video of the Week!

We here at the Black Atlantic Resource are happy to announce a new feature: Video of the Week. Each week we will aim to bring you an interesting video – posted here within our debate space – which we have found freely available online. We are doing this to highlight the amount of potential research material which is now digitized and accessible by a click of your mouse!

Here’s your first Video of the Week: Cab Calloway – Minnie the Moocher

Cab Calloway and His Orchestra’s hit jazz song Minnie the Moocher is used here as the soundtrack to a Fleischer Brothers’ 1932 Betty Boop cartoon. First we get to see Calloway’s signature dance moves while he conducts his orchestra, the video then cuts midway through the cartoon to a dancing ghost walrus voiced by Calloway and sporting his moves! Cab Calloway was a hugely talented American bandleader, singer and dancer who performed regularly at Harlem’s Cotton Club in New York City during the Harlem Renaissance era and later. Click here to find out more about Cab Calloway.

Aside from this the content of the cartoon, which at that time would have been produced as entertainment mainly for an adult audience, provides an interesting comment on American society of the 1930s. The cartoon’s representations of capital punishment – in light of the Powell v. Alabama ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court associated with the Scottsboro Boys case of 1931 – or what it’s depictions demonstrate about animators and audiences associations with jazz music are all telling…

If you have any suggestions for a video of the week please leave us a comment or post us another video in reply – we look forward to hearing from you!