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Disputas: Afrikanske innvandrermusikere går fra ’de andre’ til ’oss’

En ny doktorgradsstudie med tittel Mainstream or marginal? sammenligner hvordan et utvalg afrikanske musikere bosatt i Norge behandler og fremstiller Afrika på scenen og i sin musikk.

Artikkelen er mer enn ett år gammel, og kan inneholde utdatert informasjon.

Bak forskningen står universitetslektor Tormod Wallem Anundsen (bildet øverst) ved UiAs Institutt for klassisk musikk og musikkpedagogikk, som 28. februar disputerer for ph.d.-graden i musikkvitenskap ved Universitetet i Oslo med avhandlingen Mainstream or marginal? A study of the musical practices of three African immigrant performers in Norway.

I denne sammenligner Anundsen hvordan et utvalg afrikanske musikere bosatt i Norge behandler og fremstiller Afrika på scenen og i sin musikk. Arbeidet er et vesentlig bidrag til kunnskap om hvordan utenlandske musikere i Norge sees på i Norge, samt hvilke strategier de bruker for å komme ut av en ofte marginaliserende rolle.

Fra ’de andre’ til ’oss ’

De tre hovedartistene som presenteres er Nasibu Mwanukuzi (t.h. nest øverst) – en reggae og soukous-artist fra Tanzania, Kossa Diomande (t.h. under), som kommer fra en familie av tradisjonsmusikere i Elfenbenskysten, og Stella Mwangi som kom til Norge som fireåring fra Kenya, og som har etablert seg både i Norge og Kenya som hip-hop artist.

Avhandlinga tar utgangspunkt i at selv om musikerne har opphav i ulike afrikanske land og kulturer og opererer i vidt forskjellige musikalske sjangere, så møter de mange av de samme utfordringene når de jobber som artister i Norge.

I Norge er Stella Mwangi (bildet nederst) kanskje best kjent fra Melodi Grand Prix i 2011, og avhandlinga bruker kontrasten mellom Stella som hip-hop- og MGP-artist som et eksempel på hvordan afrikanske artister i Norge må forholde seg til framstillinger om hvem de er og hvilken plass de har i det norske samfunnet. Musikerne møter blant annet norske forventninger til hvordan de som flerkulturelle artister skal ta et spesielt ansvar for å bygge det norske flerkulturelle samfunnet, noe som gjør at de lett kan bli værende i en marginalisert rolle som ’de andre’.

Avhandlinga undersøker også hvordan artistene har musikalske og sceniske strategier for å komme ut av en slik rolle, både som hip hop artist, som kulturformidler for barn, og som musiker på en danse- og klubbscene.

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Disputasfakta:

Kandidaten: Tormod Wallem Anundsen (46), Universitetslektor ved UiA, Fakultet for kunstfagPrøveforelesning finner sted 28. feb. 2014 10:15, Salen, ZEB-bygningen, BlindernOppgitt emne for prøveforelesning: "Can music help us understand the politics of globalization?"Disputas finner sted 28. feb. 2014 12:15, Salen, ZEB-bygningen, BlindernTittel på avhandling: Mainstream or marginal? A study of the musical practices of three African immigrant performers in Norway

Opponenter:

Professor Bob W. White, University of Montreal (førsteopponent)

Lektor Annemette Kirkegaard, Københavns universitet (andreopponent)

Professor Hans Weisethaunet, Universitetet i Oslo (administrator)

Leder av disputas

Førsteamanuensis Hans T. Zeiner-Henriksen, Universitetet i Oslo

Veileder i doktorgradsarbeidet var Professor Stan Hawkins, Universitetet i Oslo

Se også: http://www.hf.uio.no/imv/forskning/aktuelt/arrangementer/disputaser/2014/anundsen.html

 

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“Who is talking?”- The researcher as insider or outsiderA post scriptum presentation by the candidate:

“Although research presentations should not be about the researcher, I will – in order to give the reader some idea about ‘who is talking’ – offer a brief outline of my encounters with the field I am now engaging with through my research for a Ph.D. dissertation.

In ethnographic work, there is sometimes a discussion about the researcher as an insider or outsider. As far as most of this is concerned, I am an outsider to this field of African immigrant musical performers in Norway; I was born and raised in this country, and although I sometimes miss being able to tell which particular place I ‘come from’ (a Norwegian virtue discussed in Chapter 2), my genealogy goes back as many generations in this country as can be counted. So I have no insider claim to being African, or immigrant, and barely to being a performer: although I do perform music from time to time – currently as the singer in a band – this is not how I try to make a living. If this weren’t enough to make me an outsider, I even agree with Bourdieu’s perspectives on participant observation referred to in Chapter 3: that the researcher is always an outsider, regardless of which group of people the research is done with.

The field I am encountering is, on the other hand, in many ways one in which I have been actively engaged. I wrote my master’s thesis (Anundsen, 1996) on my work with the choir and cultural group Inkululeko in Oslo, which had a history of performing South African protest songs in Norway as part of the anti-apartheid movement of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Yet when I took over as artistic leader and conductor in 1994, Mandela had become president in South Africa and apartheid laws were abandoned. So what does an anti-apartheid cultural group do when there is no apartheid to fight? This question led to a critical and practice-based exploration of the ideas of embodying political struggle and translating culture between South Africa and Norway, of what ‘conveying culture’ might entail, and of the difficult navigation between exoticism and more productive types of cultural encounters, which – if we are not to succumb to the slogan of apartheid to ‘let cultures develop on their own terms’ – would be needed in society in one form or another.

Later, through my work as Assistant Professor and leader of different international collaboration projects at the University of Agder, I have encountered the concrete challenges of trying to establish and carry out projects in a cross-cultural field. A major project was a collaboration involving a musical education in Norway and one in Zanzibar, Tanzania, which contained efforts to establish international study opportunities and formal study programmes based on local knowledge and musical practices. Engaging in such a field of imbalance was a challenge, to realize that academia exerts power through its definitions of what the validated knowledge systems are, i.e. what types of knowledge that may lead to formal degrees. Another issue has been that of inviting guest lecturers to teach and perform at our university, where it has been frustrating to see how we often fail to offer visiting non-Western guest lecturers real working tasks, but keep workshopping and setting up ‘interesting’ cultural ‘encounters’.

I include this experiential and working background to demonstrate two things: one, that I am actually also an insider, in the sense that I have first-hand experience of some of the challenges in the field of cross-cultural musical production and performance, and, two, that my critical voice in this dissertation is also a way of criticizing my own practice, which has struggled with many of the same issues as those discussed in this work. Through the scrutiny of these critical issues I hope to cast light on how there might be alternative ways into understanding and even carrying out musical performances and collaborations in culturally diverse contexts.”