Rationales in flux
Charting transcultural Polynesian music-making processes
Keywords:Pacific music, composition, participant observation
This article explores how Pacific artists’ notions of cultural authenticity, identity and perceived audience expectation play out in the composition of new transcultural music (i.e. music displaying an amalgamation of both traditional Pacific and contemporary popular music influences). It is grounded in ethnographic fieldwork undertaken in Sydney, Australia over a period of two years. Its central aim is to balance a field of inquiry in which transcultural Pacific music is frequently interpreted as an expression of identity via retrospective musical analysis and reflection. In contrast to these prevailing trends, this article builds a case for real-time investigation into how artists engage and negotiate ideas about cultural authenticity, identity and perceived audience expectation when generating new transcultural works.
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