Rethinking Indigenous popular music heritage as Australian heritage

Authored by: Åse Ottosson

The Routledge Companion to Popular Music History and Heritage

Print publication date:  May  2018
Online publication date:  May  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138237636
eBook ISBN: 9781315299310
Adobe ISBN:


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Popular music expressions have long been adopted and adapted by Indigenous people across Australia for articulating shared histories and personal experiences, as well as affirming cultural affiliations to kin and ancestral lands. This musical heritage has only recently been documented and analysed by scholars. The chapter provides an overview of scholarly approaches and theoretical developments in Indigenous Australian popular music studies and the broader political context and national imaginary they have emerged in. The author aligns with more recent theoretical developments in popular music studies where music is taken to have a productive role in the intercultural (re)production and transformation of Indigenous Australian forms of sociocultural identification. Drawing on her long-term anthropological fieldwork with Indigenous musicians and music production in Central Australia and first-hand knowledge of other remote and urban sites for Indigenous music production, the author argues for an expansion of conceptual and methodological approaches in music scholarship that can account for popular music as a vibrant repository not only for Indigenous heritage, but also as a vital resource for a fuller understanding of Australian history and nationhood.

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