Novelty That Must Be Subtle: Continuity, Innovation and 'Improvisation' in North Indian Classical Music

Critical Studies in Improvisation

Napier explores a tension between received tradition and individual expression in North Indian classical music. How should improvisation be understood, he asks, in a musical culture which prizes intergenerational continuity as much as innovation? He suggests that melodic moments should be viewed in that context as attempts at reconciling tradition with contemporary concerns. In this light, Napier argues that "improvisation" should in no instance be used to validate novelty without acknowledging reproduction and continuity.

Interview with Keiko Uenishi (aka o.blaat)

Critical Studies in Improvisation

Miya Masaoka is a third generation Japanese American artist classically trained as a musician and composer. In her compositions and installations, she involves improvisation, interaction, spatialization, sensors, computers, and various media including video and film.

In this interview with fellow Japanese/American sound artist Keiko Uenishi I work outwards from the personal to consider the radical potential of internet-based sound and video improvisation to build community across ethnic and gender lines.

Asian/American Improvisation in Chicago: Tatsu Aoki and the 'New' Japanese American Taiko


Bassist Tatsu Aoki produces Chicago's Asian American Jazz Festival. His work often draws on taiko, a form of folkloric Japanese drumming, as well as experimental jazz. Wong views Aoki's activity as a process of constructing a dynamic, transnational Asian American identity. She argues that Aoki takes his status as a "Shin Issei" (a recent Japanese immigrant) as a starting point, but aims to "become" American on his own terms-an aspiration of the contemporary Asian American community at large.

Asian Americans and Creative Music Legacies

Dessen focuses on a group of San Francisco Bay Area musicians known as the Asian American Creative Music Movement. Inspired by the musical innovation and explicit political engagement of African-American experimental jazz, these musicians drew on their own ethnic traditions to make a statement about their contemporary situation. Their very success, however, compelled them to resist their cooptation by the media and music industry into an ethnic "ornament" on conventional jazz.

Sangha: Collaborative Improvisations on Community

Critical Studies in Improvisation

Saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa and pianist Vijay Iyer have been frequent collaborators. In this conversation, they share their thoughts on the challenges of becoming South Asian jazz musicians: confronting their Indian-American families' attitudes toward the music, finding their own voice amidst the richness of Indian musical forms, engaging the South Asian American youth community in New York, dealing with various kinds of prejudice-all while trying to keep the creative edge in their music.

Review—Speak it Louder: Asian Americans Making Music

Wong's book takes an ethnographic approach in exploring the social and political construction of Asian American identities through music. Case studies include Laotian song, Cambodian music drama, karaoke, Vietnamese pop, Japanese American taiko, Asian American hip hop, Asian American listeners, and Asian American improvisational music. Wong draws on feminist theories of performativity, viewing musical performance is a form of cultural work with the potential to articulate and affect identity politics, especially with regard to interethnic contact.

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