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British Forum for Ethnomusicology

Review: [untitled]
Author(s): Katy Radford
Reviewed work(s):
Music, Politics and War: Views from Croatia by Svanibor Pettan
Source: British Journal of Ethnomusicology, Vol. 10, No. 1, Music and Meaning (2001), pp. 135
-136
Published by: British Forum for Ethnomusicology
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3060781
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REVIEWS 135 REVIEWS 135
References
Becker, Judith
(1979)
"Time and Tune in
Java". In A. L. Becker and Aram
Yengoyan (eds)
The
imagination of
reality: essays
in Southeast Asian
coherence
systems. Norwood, New
Jersey:
Ablex.
Jairazbhoy,
Nazir
(1983)
"Nominal units
of time: a
counterpart
to Ellis'
system
of cents". Selected
Reports
in Ethno-
musicology iv, pp.
113-24.
PETER MANUEL
John
Jay College
and the CUNY
Graduate Center
petermanuel3
@ aol. com
References
Becker, Judith
(1979)
"Time and Tune in
Java". In A. L. Becker and Aram
Yengoyan (eds)
The
imagination of
reality: essays
in Southeast Asian
coherence
systems. Norwood, New
Jersey:
Ablex.
Jairazbhoy,
Nazir
(1983)
"Nominal units
of time: a
counterpart
to Ellis'
system
of cents". Selected
Reports
in Ethno-
musicology iv, pp.
113-24.
PETER MANUEL
John
Jay College
and the CUNY
Graduate Center
petermanuel3
@ aol. com
SVANIBOR PETTAN
(ed.) Music, poli-
tics and war: views
from
Croatia.
Zagreb:
Institute of
Ethnology
and
Folklore Research, 1998.
215pp.,
photographs, glossary, bibliography,
discography, index, CD. ISBN 953-
6020-09-2
(pb).
This is a
provocative
collection of ten
essays providing
valuable
scholarly
and
often
personal
observations about the role
played by
musical
composition
and
performance
within the historical and
contemporary experiences
of war in the
Balkans. All the contributions are from
Croatian nationals
(all
but one still resi-
dent). Ethnomusicologists, musicologists
and one
ethnochoreologist
use their own
experiences
to discuss and describe how
tensions and
dynamics
are fuelled or
mirrored
by
music and dance
performed
and
composed during periods
of conflict.
The texts are
complemented by
two
sound sources: a 17-track CD of Croatian
rock and an internet website with audio
links
(http://www.lavsa.com/ief/).
The contributors
explore
the back-
ground
to national rivalries and the
relationship
between music and
political
SVANIBOR PETTAN
(ed.) Music, poli-
tics and war: views
from
Croatia.
Zagreb:
Institute of
Ethnology
and
Folklore Research, 1998.
215pp.,
photographs, glossary, bibliography,
discography, index, CD. ISBN 953-
6020-09-2
(pb).
This is a
provocative
collection of ten
essays providing
valuable
scholarly
and
often
personal
observations about the role
played by
musical
composition
and
performance
within the historical and
contemporary experiences
of war in the
Balkans. All the contributions are from
Croatian nationals
(all
but one still resi-
dent). Ethnomusicologists, musicologists
and one
ethnochoreologist
use their own
experiences
to discuss and describe how
tensions and
dynamics
are fuelled or
mirrored
by
music and dance
performed
and
composed during periods
of conflict.
The texts are
complemented by
two
sound sources: a 17-track CD of Croatian
rock and an internet website with audio
links
(http://www.lavsa.com/ief/).
The contributors
explore
the back-
ground
to national rivalries and the
relationship
between music and
political
power
structures in their
responses
to
ethnic conflict. Editor Svanibor Pettan's
initial, informative
chapter "Music,
politics,
and war in Croatia in the
1990s: an introduction" (9-27) provides
an overview of the
contemporary
situa-
tion for the uninitiated.
Beginning
with
the
suppression
of those Croatian
songs
not in
keeping
with the official discourse
of the
Yugoslavian
Communist
Party,
he
considers the "Croatianness" of instru-
ments such as the tamburica (further
discussed in Ruza Bonifacic's
"Regional
and national
aspects
of tamburica tradi-
tion: the case of the Zlatni Dukati
Neotraditional Ensemble, 131-51)
and
acknowledges
the
strange
bedfellows of
popular,
folk and art musicians united
through
war.
Discussing
the use of
forced
participation
in the
performance
of
songs
to humiliate and
provoke
the
"other", Pettan considers the stimulation
of
responses
to music between those on
opposing
sides of the Serbo-Croatian
war. He
compares
the
messages
and
styles
of war-related
popular songs,
created either for the domestic market or
for international audiences, that
present
mutually opposing positions
to the war,
and he reflects on the
temporality
of
these
songs
as well as the
passion
aroused
by
them. Pettan's
essay encapsu-
lates the essence of the overall volume,
acknowledging
as he does that his
country
is
going
through
a
period
of
traumatic transition. Both in his
piece,
and
by
the inclusion of such a
divergent
set of
topics
in one volume, Pettan
appears
to endorse the notion that the
successful transformation from
warring
nation into
peaceful
state is
contingent
on
recognizing
the
validity
of
plural
contributions
despite
some
being
mutu-
ally
exclusive.
On the face of it, the other articles
appear
as diverse in
style
as in content
with their historical
analyses spanning
several hundred
years. They range
from
power
structures in their
responses
to
ethnic conflict. Editor Svanibor Pettan's
initial, informative
chapter "Music,
politics,
and war in Croatia in the
1990s: an introduction" (9-27) provides
an overview of the
contemporary
situa-
tion for the uninitiated.
Beginning
with
the
suppression
of those Croatian
songs
not in
keeping
with the official discourse
of the
Yugoslavian
Communist
Party,
he
considers the "Croatianness" of instru-
ments such as the tamburica (further
discussed in Ruza Bonifacic's
"Regional
and national
aspects
of tamburica tradi-
tion: the case of the Zlatni Dukati
Neotraditional Ensemble, 131-51)
and
acknowledges
the
strange
bedfellows of
popular,
folk and art musicians united
through
war.
Discussing
the use of
forced
participation
in the
performance
of
songs
to humiliate and
provoke
the
"other", Pettan considers the stimulation
of
responses
to music between those on
opposing
sides of the Serbo-Croatian
war. He
compares
the
messages
and
styles
of war-related
popular songs,
created either for the domestic market or
for international audiences, that
present
mutually opposing positions
to the war,
and he reflects on the
temporality
of
these
songs
as well as the
passion
aroused
by
them. Pettan's
essay encapsu-
lates the essence of the overall volume,
acknowledging
as he does that his
country
is
going
through
a
period
of
traumatic transition. Both in his
piece,
and
by
the inclusion of such a
divergent
set of
topics
in one volume, Pettan
appears
to endorse the notion that the
successful transformation from
warring
nation into
peaceful
state is
contingent
on
recognizing
the
validity
of
plural
contributions
despite
some
being
mutu-
ally
exclusive.
On the face of it, the other articles
appear
as diverse in
style
as in content
with their historical
analyses spanning
several hundred
years. They range
from
BRITISH JOURNAL OF ETH NO M US I COLO GY VOL. 10/i 2001
Stanislav Tuskar's somewhat
wordy
article "The musical
baroque
and west-
ern Slavs"
(55-65)
to Miroslava
Hadlihusejnovic-Valasek's exploration
of the musical
output
of the
Osijek
region
in 1991-92, which
provides
a
personal,
almost
diary-like,
reflection of
his sense of loss. Nevertheless, recurring
themes around issues of
identity
and
nationalism are common to the
majority
of articles, with
many
contributors
considering
different
aspects
of the role
music
plays
or has
played
in the transfor-
mation of Croatia from a feudal
society
into one
currently
directed at, and inter-
nally debating
how to achieve, national
independence.
In
"Heritage
of the Second World War
in Croatia.
Identity imposed upon
and
by
music" (109-31), Nalia Ceribasic'
tenders,
as ever, a
thoughtful scholarly
vision
-
in this instance of the
legacy
of
World War II on Croatia
-
considering
the
relationship
between
politics
and
music and
attempting
to locate how the
concepts
of "national" versus "national-
ism" are invoked in
popular
and art
music. Zdravko Blazekovic's article
"The shadow of
politics
on north Croat-
ian music of the nineteenth
century"
(65-79)
looks at the folk and
military
songs
and dances in the service of
national
politics during
that
century.
One of his
many examples
identifies
the unsuccessful
challenge
to transform
the Kolo from a traditional
group
folk
dance
performed
in the round into a
stylized
ballroom and art-house set
piece,
as was achieved in Poland with
the
polonaise
and mazurka and in Aus-
tria with the
gallop
and waltz. This
point
complements (though presumably
not
intentionally)
Tuskar's contribution "The
musical
baroque
and the western Slavs"
(55-65),
which voices concern that
Croatian
pre-classical
musics are not
recognized
as an
integral part
of Western
European
musical culture but rather are
seen as some
imaginary
unified Eastern
European
"other". The
sung
Kolo
again
features in Tvrtko Zebec's
piece
"Dance
events as
political
rituals for
expression
of identities in Croatia in the 1990s"
(151-63)
as a
contemporary identifying
marker
expressing belonging, pride
and a
love for tradition
performed
as a defiant
national
symbol by
members of an
ensemble of
displaced
inhabitants from
Oriovac.
Given these (and other) connections
between the articles, it is unfortunate
that there is little
attempt
to link the
contributions and draw the
principal
themes
together.
An otherwise infor-
mative and
well-presented volume, rich
with
transcriptions,
illustrations and
maps (Koraljka
Kos's discussion of
the
Ottoman/Hapsburg military
border-
land is, in particular, beautifully
complemented by
the inclusion of
copperplates),
would have benefited
from an introduction and conclusion,
providing
a more cohesive structure. I
presume
that such an omission is due to
publishing
or financial limitations, and
perhaps
these also account for the failure
to include two
key songs (one
referred to
in Pettan's text, the other in Ceribasic's)
on the
CD,
which is otherwise a wel-
come bonus.
It is also cause for considerable
regret
that this volume has a limited
print
run
and
system
of distribution
(only
1000
copies
are available).
The work makes
valuable contributions to
political
or
musical debates on a number of different
levels and is a welcome addition to the
limited
body
of literature available on
the subject.
KATY RADFORD
Dept. of
Social
Anthropology, Queen's
University of Belfast,
katyradford
@ rocketmail. corn
136