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Musicking and identity in Grenada: stories of transmission, remembering, and loss

Sirek, Danielle Dawn (2013) Musicking and identity in Grenada: stories of transmission, remembering, and loss. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

Conceived as an ethnographic case study of the relationship between musicking and identities, this thesis examines the relationship between musical practices and experiences in the recent historical past, and in the present day, in Grenada, West Indies. Through the dual lenses of ethnomusicologist and music educator, I examine the impact of musicking – taking Christopher Small’s explication of this term – on the perceptions, constructions, and representations of identity in the Grenadian context, bringing to bear the themes of African ancestry and nationhood, commercialisation, reunderstanding, appropriation, folklorisation, authenticity, and performance. In exploring these themes, I illuminate controversies of the transmission of musicking, conflicts of identity, and the deep sense of loss that has occurred in Grenadian society, specifically through an analysis of calypso music, soca music, Carnival, and presentday musicking initiatives intended to ‘rescue’ Grenadian identity and Grenadian values. I conclude with reflections upon how I might bring these experiences and understandings of Grenadian musicking and its transmission to my own teaching practice and music educational research.

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