I conceive of the ‘personal’ as a reflexive device that is aligned with the outcome of empirically based observation. As I have stated, my awareness of my aversion towards the women I study works as a check on my personal biases and these biases may potentially function as points of access to analytical insight.
“Hey Jarrod, you like world music right? Check out this Mongolian band called 13th Bell”. I received this text a few weeks ago and was quite piqued by their choice of words. “World music”, what exactly is that? More often than not, this genre of music has been constantly utilised to categorise songs that sample and/or include musical elements that are derived from a particular minority ethnic group. More specifically, language and vocal technique are the primary factors that allude to this strange term. As an anthropologist of sound and music, I am often loosely classified as an ethnomusicologist, which I always found to possess a curious prefix. I want to take this opportunity to take a step back and revisit the elusive meaning of what the prefix ethno means, and whether it is analogous to the study of ‘world’ music’. Many times, I am asked about and ask myself: what is so appealing about experiencing music that is so distant from your own culture, what is music’s connection with social identities and why is it so pertinent to both the performer(s) and listener(s)?