". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Sunday, April 14, 2013

New Orleans & el V

On Wednesday this week El Vaquero will be heading to New Orleans:

where I will be participating in the very exciting banjology conference at Tulane put together by Dr. Laurent Dubois, which will in turn be part of a larger conference triple-play. I will be participating in an informal conversation on Monday (April 22) at 1:30, and a roundtable at 4. Details below. It's free and open to the public -- New Orleanians, if you're interested in the banjo or in broader issues of African American music history, this should be great, please do come out. 
So let me explain about the triple play. The EMP popcon (an always stimulating weekend conference of journalists and academics who write about popular and pop music) this year is divided into five regional mini-popcons, all happening the same weekend in New York, New Orleans, Cleveland, Seattle, Los Angeles. If I were going to be in New York, I'd go to the one at NYU, but i'll be in New Orleans, and you know that's a good thing.

EMP in New Orleans is April 18-21 at Tulane (though the opening party, the night of the 18th, is at Mimi's in the Marigny, with Los Po-Boy-Citos performing). I did not submit a proposal this year (too busy on the book), and will not be presenting at EMP, but will be there in attendance. It looks like it will be great. I'm especially looking forward to seeing Matt Miller's bounce movie (his fine book, Bounce: Rap Music and Local Identity in New Orleans, is required reading for New Orleans hiphop.) The banjology conference overlaps on Sunday with the "banjo brunch" (see below).
Then, on the back end of the banjo conference, is another conference at Tulane (Apr 22-25), and I'm so pleased to be able to attend: the International Colloquium on Saint-Louis, Senegal - New Orleans: Two Mirror Cities (17th - 21st Centuries) -- a subject of considerable interest to yours truly. This is a follow-up to a previous conference last June held in Senegal with New Orleanians in attendance -- the attendees I talked to were knocked out by the experience -- and this year, Senegalese come to New Orleans. Dr. Emily Clark, who organized it, promises that music will be a major focus. And rightly so. I don't have a full schedule yet, but their opening event will feature the five-member Njum Waalo Band from Senegal, featuring xalam player Demma Dia
What mediates between Senegal / New Orleans and EMP? The banjo, of course. It's great to see all these resources talking to each other. And como si todo esto fuera poco, the day after the Senegal conference, Jazzfest begins, though I'll be back in NYC by then. New Orleans has got a lot going on these days.

Sunday, April 21stEMP Conference, 10a.m.-1 p.m.
Brunch discussion/concert with Don Vappie, Carl LeBlanc, and Demma Dia in conversation with Laurent Dubois, Bruce Raeburn, and Tal Tamari
Monday, April 22nd1:30-3:30:
Informal workshop with roundtable participants and Tulane faculty
125D Hebert Hall, Tulane University
“The Banjo and the African Diaspora: A Roundtable”
Freeman Auditorium, Woldenburg Art Center, Tulane University
Topic: How can we write the early history of Afro-Atlantic music? Through a focus on the history of the banjo, this gathering of scholars will offer insights into how we can pull together fragments of text, images, and material culture from the era of the slave trade, along with the study of contemporary musical cultures, in order to answer this question.
The roundtable is open to all, and we invite those interest to visit the following website which offers readings, images, and resources which the panelists will be drawing on in the discussion:
Ned Sublette, Bruce Raeburn, Kenneth Bilby, Tal Tamari
Laurent Dubois, Sara Le Menestrel

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