The term Volk in the medieval period Middle High German volc had the primary meaning of "large crowd, army", while the more general sense of "population" or "people" was expressed by diet adjective dietsch, deutsch "popular, of the people".
Homi Bhaba, in particular, has explored ways in which hybridity and mimicry expose the contradictions within power structures based on the construction of difference. Turkey, however, offers a complicating case study for notions of postcoloniality. To many, there might seem nothing odd in this—it is hardly unusual for a song to circulate with more than one set of lyrics, or even in more than one language.
However, within the dominant discourses of the Turkish state, as well as in discourses of Kurdish resistance to the state, these two songs, side by side, pose a problem. Is the song Turkish or Kurdish? Or is it both? In this paper I examine how Turkish and Kurdish folk music might make use of, and also complicate, this strand of postcolonial thought.
Elements also exist in many of the discourses that have arisen to counter this nationalist project. In both cases, music is often highlighted as a marker of ethnic identity, of ethnic distinction. In examining how borders are established, it is useful to begin with the controversy that once surrounded a popular music genre known as arabesk.
The term itself pointed to what, for Turkish musicologists in the s, was a very problematic hybridity.
In its blending of Turkish art and folk music with Egyptian popular music styles, the purity of the Turkish styles were corrupted by the excesses of the unruly Arabic East Stokes This was seen as reflective of the social problems associated with an influx of rural-to-urban migrants from the eastern provinces, and their difficulties adjusting to life in a modern Turkish city.
For example, in a magazine article journalist Mehmet Korkmaz lists Kurdish songs whose tunes have been popularized either as Turkish folk songs or as arabesk hits. Arabs are foreign, and their music—which, in the tradition of European orientalism is irrational and anti-modern—makes its way insidiously across the border into eastern Turkey and into arabesk.
An account of Turkish-Kurdish hybridity, however, would be more difficult to reconcile. There is no Kurdish nation and the territory which was known in Ottoman times as Kurdistan is today divided among the countries of Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. More recently, this assertion has been difficult to sustain.
For while Turkish nationalist narratives emphasized that the fall of the Ottoman Empire meant freedom and ethnic self-determination, the counter-narratives of Kurdish nationalists saw the fall of the Ottoman Empire as simply launching another phase of foreign, imperial Turkish rule.
When employing postcolonial criticism, however, the specificity of the situation is noted very carefully. In the cases of European colonies in India and Africa, steps were taken to create subjects who were amenable to colonial control but always differentiated from their colonial masters.
In contrast, the measures taken with respect to the Kurds in Turkey aimed for nothing less than the death of the Kurdish language, the erasing of Kurdish culture, and the eradication of all traces of Kurdish difference. After recasting Kurds as lapsed Turks, policies of turkification re-turkification?
It is thus that, according to some, any act that performs and proclaims a Kurdish identity may be seen as resistance. For example, Ozan Aksoy declares that because the state forbade expressions of Kurdish language and identity, all Kurdish music in Turkey was necessarily protest music Aksoy Then again, what if it is performed as a hybrid music with a hybrid identity?
What do we make of this struggle when it seems possible that even venerated Turkish folk songs—imagined as one of the most authentic expressions of Turkish essence—might have had Kurdish roots all along? At the same time, if Kurdish culture turns out to be inextricable from Turkish culture, then we must also question the notion that there is an essential Kurdishness that might be reclaimed, freed of foreign domination.
This in itself represents a politically provocative performance, especially the highlighting of Kurdish and Armenian repertoires.
It is associated with Urfa, which is today a largely Kurdish-speaking province, with significant Arabic-speaking communities as well. However, as the liner notes indicate, the group was not able to recover the original Kurdish words, and had to write their own.
This time, however, the center refused them access. We as listeners are invited to take pleasure in the inescapable hybridity of the song. We might sing along with the Turkish lyrics, which are well-known and well-loved by many people across the country, while the Kurdish verses remind us that others enjoy this song in other languages.
Or we might perhaps hear an attempt to resist the violence of assimilation, whether it be to an idealized Turkishness, or even to its opposite, an idealized Kurdishness cleansed of foreign domination. The Location of Culture. Contemporary Turkish Foreign Policy.
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Nikolai Rimsky Korsakovs Penultimate Opera Film Studies Essay. Testament to the nationalist tradition in Russian opera? MM SID: Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of BA Music. Folk music has contributed to a number of political movements especially in America.
The civil rights movement has a very close link with the folk music. The civil rights movement was an African American Movement to end the racial discrimination. Folk Song And Its Relation To Nationalism In Music IN order to understand as well as to feel music, we must reduce it to its primary elements, and these are to be found in folk song, or, to go further back, in its predecessor, the chant of the savages.
This critical essay covers piano and orchestra music by Mily Alekseyevich Balakirev () who was a leader within the Russian nationalist musical movement of the nineteenth century.
“Musical Nationalism in Ireland in the Twentieth Century: Complexities and Contradictions”. In Music and Nationalism in 20th-century Great Britain and Finland, edited by .