Exploration or Appropriation?
The position of contemporary sound artists towards Indigenous music
“Musical appropriation sings a double line with one voice. It is a melody of admiration, even homage and respect, a fundamental source of connectedness, creativity, and innovation. This we locate in a discourse of ‘roots’, of reproducing and expending ‘the tradition’. Yet this voice is harmonised by a countermelody of power, even control and domination, a fundamental source of asymmetry in ownership and commodification of musical works. This we locate in a discourse of ‘rip-offs’, of reproducing ‘the hegemonic’. Appropriation means that the question ‘Whose music?’ is submerged, supplanted, and subverted by the assertion ‘Our/my music?”
Steven Feld, “Notes on World Beat”, Public Culture Bulletin, Vol.1, No.1 (1988), p.31.