Friday, November 19, 2010

World Cup music

I gave a paper on the 2010 World Cup music at the Society for Ethnomusicology conference in LA last week. A version of it written before the world cup is due to come out in the Journal of Soccer and Society soon (if they get back to me with an alternative to signing away my copyright) and I'm working on a version based on the conference talk as a follow-up to the first, so I won't publish the whole paper here, but I did want to link to all the music I discussed, not least so that potential future readers can easily find it all in one place.
Diski Dancing

Sunday, October 31, 2010

What Makes Us South African?

Wow, I'm posting a lot these days.
I wanted to link to this article by Mark Gevisser, not just because I generally enjoy reading what he has to say, but also because I recently saw a David Goldblatt exhibit at the Jewish Museum here in New York, and while I really enjoyed it, my thoughts were similar to Mark's on the topic of South Africanness and these images. They felt really familiar, and yet also really distant to me. Not really what I would use to represent the South Africa I know to someone who doesn't know it. And similarly the World Cup (which I'm thinking about a whole lot again because I'm speaking about it in Los Angeles in a couple of weeks) made me feel very ambivalent about the way we generally represent our country to ourselves and others.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Karen's Video Blog

Karen just released her first video blog. It's just a plug for the new album, but I hope it means there will be more in future.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Do What You Do

Anne Hirsch of comedy group The Cracks has a blog, and posted on their appearance in Karen Zoid's video "Do What You Do".

Monday, October 25, 2010

Lots happening with Karen Zoid

Litnet have an interview with her about Susanna van Biljon and her new album (Thank you, Sean Jacobs at Africa is a Country for sending this to me). They also have a review of the film.
Radio Sonder Grense also reviewed the film (I'll post a translation if anyone really wants it), and also did an interview with Karen that can be downloaded as an mp3 or podcast here. She and the interviewer agree that the story bares comparison to the Susan Boyle story, and also suggest that the character Karen plays is not unlike Min Shaw, a South African singer who is most well-known for the song "Jy's My Liefling", which was the theme song for a Franz Marx film in 1968. The comparison may seem obvious, but I think it's also pretty spurious. But you'll have to wait for my dissertation to read why! (Some hints in my upcoming Yearbook of Traditional Music article on Karen. forgive the shameless plug.)
Pasella also did a segment on the film, and have a write-up, and some behind the scenes pictures here.
What I'm most excited about, though, is the upcoming release of her new album on the 1st of November. It's called Terms and Conditions, and while I know I'll have to wait for my copy (it's being released in SA only for now) her two new music videos are a little taste of what's to come.
The intro to this first one reminds me so much of the intro to "Homo sapien" from her third album, Media

So far I like "Bly By My" better than "Do What You Do", but it may still grow on me.

Finally, it looks like there is a new website on the way. Karen's old one has been mostly out of date for a while, so it will be interesting to see what the new one is like.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Die Storie van Susanna Van Biljon

Two film trailers in one month. One more and this might become a habit :-)
I am especially excited about this film because it stars Karen Zoid. I'm also quite fascinated to see how many films about and made in South Africa there have been recently. I haven't seen this yet, of course, but it looks like it may be an Afrikaans reworking of the Susan Boyle story. Or am I imagining things?

12 September 2010: The teasers just get better and better

Thursday, July 29, 2010

zef slang woordeboek

 I'm rather embarrassed to post this to my blog, but since Die Antwoord made a huge splash in New York the other day, I'm suddenly getting a bunch of questions.
To answer a couple of them up front:
  • No, they are not the topic of my dissertation. Karen Zoid is.
  • No, Karen Zoid does not sound like this.
  • No, they are not meant to be taken seriously. It's a spoof, and an extremely profane one at that.
  • Yes I speak Afrikaans. but no, I don't speak it like they do.
  • Yes, I have listened to their music. I find them as a popular phenomenon fascinating, but I don't listen to their music for pleasure. I may write about them at some stage, but for now, I'm focused on the dissertation.
Feel free to post any additional questions in the comments here.
5 - EP [Explicit]

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Dusty's Hair!

When I got back to New York a couple of days ago, I had a birthday present waiting for me. I'm super excited, because not only is is a fun read, it is also really inspiring for my dissertation-writing, because Annie Randall models what I'm hoping to do. Rumour has it that she will be teaching a class at NYU in the fall. I know I'm supposed to be done with coursework (and mostly I very definitely am DONE!) but this may be something I need to audit.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Soccer World Cup 2010

I think I mentioned a few posts back that I wrote an article on music and the promotion of the 2010 Soccer World Cup for an upcoming special issue of the journal Soccer and Society. The issue is currently in press.
I am not yet sure where I'll send it, but I really want to write a follow-up article after the tournament linking some of the initial speculations and forecasts with what eventually happened (is happening), and so this post is an opportunity for me to bring the relevant links together in one place. I'll update it as I go over the next month.

Africa is a Country. Always an excellent read, but especially relevant in this instance because Sean Jacobs, on of the bloggers here, is currently blogging from South Africa where he is attending several matches.
Football is coming home
Just Fila: Prophetic Dreams, False Fans, and Faith, Faith like Rugby Balls
Mhambi: Hier Kom Bafana
Soccer can induce labour?

Newspaper articles:
The Guardian: World Cup Opening Ceremony as it happened
About the Music:
The Guardian's Neil Spencer on the kick-off concert line-up
Mail and Guardian: Africa's Musical Boots
BBC News: Rapper K'Naan's Wavin' Flag in World Cup Triumph

On Vuvuzelas:
BBC Sport: World Cup Organizers will not ban Vuvuzelas
Football is coming home on the origins of the vuvuzela
Blatant on vuvuzelas at the confederations cup
The Guardian: BBC May Offer Vuvuzela-free Matches
Business Day: Vuvuzelas sell out at Sainsbury's BBC Receives 545 Vuvuzela Complaints
Vanity Fair: All Hail the Mighty Vuvuzela
Telegraph: Pope Must Not Be Subject to Vuvuzelas
The Onion: Vuvuzela Philharmonic Angered by Soccer Games Breaking Out During Concerts
The Observers: Sound of the Vuvuzela can be Music to the ears
Vuvuzelas in the concert hall
Vuvuzela concerto (the comments are more interesting than the post itself), and a Guardian article on the Vuvuzela Concerto
The Guardian: Play Vuvuzela Like a Pro (Samora was a few years behind me at Wits, and we sang together in the Wits choir)

On Shakira's "Waka Waka" song:
Video of Shakira performing Waka Waka at the kick-off concert

On the opening concert:
Rivmix: On South African music not in the Kick-off concert

World Cup Advertising:
Mhambi posted this very funny Pepsi advert: Moving the Goal Posts

General music:
Jack Parow's spoof World Cup anthem: Blaas Jou Vuvuzela
R. Kelly's performance of "Sign of a Victory" at the opening ceremony.
R. Kelly arrives in South Africa, talks briefly about his song
Shakira on the world cup for the 1Goal project.
Sean Jacobs at Africa is a Country on a potential unofficial world cup anthem, Make the Circle Bigger
2K10 IN SOUTH AFRICA. Haven't heard it yet, but can't wait to!

Soccer, gender and queer issues:
The Onion: Soccer announces it is gay

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


If you haven't yet read the three books in what will eventually be a 4-book series by John Van De Ruit - Spud, The Madness Continues and Learning to Fly - I strongly recommend you do. And while there is a whole lot in them that is emphatically and uniquely South African, I think even my US friends and colleagues will find them as fascinating and engaging as I have. They are hillariously funny books, and my delight in them was dramatically increased today when I read on the author's blog that in an upcoming film based on the first book, the gov, one of my favourite characters, is played by John Cleese. The only other person I could have imagined for the role was Peter O'Toole, and it would have had to have been filmed a couple of decades ago for that to really work. I think John is perfect for it.
So if you haven't read the books, do so, and then read the author's blog. I've thoroughly enjoyed the diversion, and even get to call it research, as I will be quoting Spud in my dissertation. I'm eagerly awaiting the film and the final book.
SpudSpud-The Madness ContinuesSpud - Learning to Fly

Friday, April 30, 2010

A lesson for my teacher self

I just finished a piece of writing that for a while I thought might derail me. In the big scheme of things, it really doesn't matter. Only one person other than me will ever read it, and in the end it was written only because it had to be to sustain an important professional relationship. But for a while there, every time I opened the document, or read anything related to it, or attempted to work on it, I felt utterly paralyzed, inadequate and incapable. I don't really understand why it made me feel that way. But I wanted to put it out there because I want to be able to return to this in the future when I encounter students who seem to me to be unaccountably stuck. It was important for me to push through and do this, even if the results are rather meaningless, because it proved to me that I am capable of doing these types of things. It will be important for me to push my students to do what they may feel paralyzed by. But I also hope I manage to maintain at least some empathy.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

random update

Thank you to everyone who still checks back here occasionally in the hope that I might update. I appreciate hearing from you, and I'm glad that even though I update rather infrequently these days, you still consider me worth reading.
At least part of the reason for my infrequent updates is that I now keep up with most of the friends I used to update via this blog on facebook, and just because of the type of network that is I'm finding it more of a satisfyingly two-way street. But that doesn't completely invalidate this blog, as I originally started it as a site for keeping track of my online research, and it's still really useful for that purpose. I often keep research posts private these days, just because they're kind of quickly dashed-off rather than carefully written, thoughtful posts, and the knowledge that people actually read what I write makes me a little more careful about what I put out there. I want to make reading worth your efforts after all.
Another reason this is a little slow these days is because I'm spending so much time writing that when I want to relax, I often want to do it away from my computer. So knitting, sewing and crochet, cooking, walking around New York City and eating my way through the city have taken preference over blogging.
Nonetheless, writing is still my job, and one that I really love, and I have been doing lots of it recently. My dissertation adviser challenged me to turn out a dissertation chapter for lent, and so I'm frantically working on my "Karen Zoid as national icon" chapter. Right now that involves a lot of reading Afrikaans history (lots of it in non-standard late 19th century Afrikaans), and trying very hard to write like someone you might actually want to read, and not like a late 19th century Afrikaans historian, or worse, a critical theorist!!!!
Also, since late last year I have been working on two articles, one of which has been accepted for a special issue of the journal of Soccer and Society that will be coming out later this year. Unfortunately it does read much more like a piece of critical theory than I had originally hoped, but as it's about music at the upcoming soccer world cup, you may find it interesting nonetheless. Check back for updates.