Sinophone Musical Worlds (1): Circulations of Sounds, Affects and Identities

China Perspectives (2019, n° 3)

Le dernier numéro de China Perspectives (2019, n° 3) présente des articles portant sur les mondes musicaux sinophones et le rôle de la musique dans la société chinoise contemporaine.

Rédacteur invité : Nathanel Amar, post-doctorant à l’Université de Hong Kong.

Les liens disponibles vous permettront de télécharger l’éditorial, le premier article du dossier, l’article d’actualité, la lecture critique, ainsi que les comptes-rendus de lecture.

Editorial (Nathanel Amar) – Including Music in the Sinophone, Provincializing Chinese Music

During the recent anti-extradition bill protests in Hong Kong, popular musicians from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) produced songs in favour of or against the social movement. In June 2019, more than 20 Hong Kong and Taiwanese singers and composers released the song “Cheng ” 撐 (“Support”) or “Caang ” in Cantonese. Produced by the Taiwanese music producer Blaire Ko 柯智豪, the song features famous Cantopop singers and activists such as Denise Ho 何韻詩 and Anthony Wong 黃耀明, but also Taiwanese indie-rock bands such as The Chairman 董事長樂團 and Fire Ex 滅火器.1 The lyrics themselves were written by the Taiwanese songwriter Wu Hsiung 武雄and the famous Cantopop lyricist Albert Leung 林夕 in both Cantonese and Mandarin. Unlike songs featuring popular singers from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the PRC produced by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to promote  international events such as the Olympic Games or the Shanghai Expo, in this case, artists from Taiwan and Hong Kong all sang in their own language – Cantonese and Taiwanese Mandarin – abolishing any linguistic hierarchy. In August 2019, the Chinese nationalist hiphop crew from Sichuan, CD-Rev (Tianfu shibian 天 府事變), financed by the Communist Youth League, released an anti-protest song in English and Mandarin entitled “Hong Kong’s Fall” (Xianggang zhi qiu 香港之秋).2 The song accuses the United States of interfering in China’s national affairs and calls on the People’s Liberation Army to “wipe out [the
Hong Kong] terrorists,” using footage from the state-owned news channel CGTN, which shared the song on its social media accounts with the tagline “Hey #HongKong protesters! Chinese mainland rappers have something to say.”3 More mainstream PRC rappers, such as PG-One, VaVa, and the Higher  Brothers, also shared on their social media accounts People’s Daily pictures supporting the Hong Kong Police Force – using traditional Chinese
characters.4 The Hong Kong protests show how important popular music has become as a strategic tool in the cultural and ideological battlefield between
Hong Kong, Taiwan, the PRC, and beyond.5 The link between music and social movements has been extensively analysed as an affirmation of identities
(Eyerman and Jamison 1998), a tool to mobilise the people (Balasinski and Mathieu 2015; Eyerman 2019), or by exploring the role of popular music in expressing “the voice of the voiceless” (Hennion 1983). Beyond political mobilisation, music also plays a role for individuals to exercise their agency and articulate their identities, having a role of “affective agency” (DeNora 2000). The purpose of this first special issue on Sinophone music is precisely to analyse how music circulates and is appropriated by various actors in the Chinese-speaking world and across the Pacific. To understand these musical circulations that transcend national borders, we have to make use of a concept that does not confine China and Chineseness to the geographical and political territory of the PRC.[…]

Lire la suite de l’éditorial de Nathanel Amar (PDF)

Sommaire du numéro (2019, n° 3)

Monique Abud

Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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Monique Abud

Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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