Friday
27. August
at 17.00
Online

INTERNATIONAL MULTIDISCIPLINARY SYMPOSIUM MUSIC – RELIGION – SPIRITUALITY

We kindly invite you to sign up for the Music – Religion – Spirituality symposium. Please You can register by sending an e-mail in which you write your name and email address to gni@zrc-sazu.si. After successful registration, we will send you a zoom link for the symposium platform. Please do not share this link further, but feel free to invite all those interested to register.

Symposium is admission free and open to public.


Introductory Thoughts at the Symposium Music – Religion – Spirituality

Religious and spiritual doctrines and their interpretations have a significant impact on understandings of boundaries between musical and non-musical phenomena, and between acceptable and unacceptable music (sound) and dance (movement) practices in various spatial and temporal contexts. Religion and spirituality affect and reflect traditional, art, and popular music and dance domains. They are expressed under precolonial, colonial, and postcolonial circumstances, and in environments hostile to any or to at least different (minority) religious worldviews. Their role on a war-peace continuum sometimes results in migrations, refugee, and immigrant experiences. They are key components of ritualistic practices essential for identity maintenance, but also for new ecumenic syncretisms.

In March 2020, the Executive Board of the International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM) endorsed the proposal of an international group of scholars for the establishment of a new Study Group with a focus on music, religion, and spirituality. The symposium in Ljubljana is the major required step in this direction. Recognized as an important focus, not explicitly present in the activities of any of the existing ICTM Study Groups, it is expected to be approached in an open, inclusive, and non-biased manner. Selected articles, based on the symposium presentations, will be published in the thematic issue of the peer-reviewed journal Musicological Annual.

Svanibor Pettan  


17.00–18:00
SESSION 4: African Perspectives
Chair: Jeffrey A. Summit

Daniel Kodzo Avorgbedor: Ruptures, Junctures, and Difference: The Place of Music and Dance in Framing “Tradition” in a Plural Religious-Ritual Setting
Jean Kidula: Interrogating the Word and its Application through Musical Arts: Passages in African Christianity
Brian Schrag: Ethnodoxology: History, Nature, and Opportunities for Dialogue

18.00–18.15
Break

18.15–19.15
SESSION 5: Migrations Past and Present
Chair: Fulvia Caruso

Hilde Binford: The importance of 16th-Century Radical Reformation Hymns for Today’s Old Order Amish and Hutterites
Raiza Sultanova:“No home, no flag, mom!” Music and Religious Practices of Post-Soviet Migration
Maša K. Marty: Liturgical Singing of the Slovenian Catholic Community in Switzerland and in the Principality of Liechtenstein

19.15–19.30
Break

19.30–20.15
SESSION 6: Diaspora
Chair: Razia Sultanova

Marcia Ostashewski:Singing Samoyilka: Byzantine Ukrainian Liturgical Music in Canada
Thea Tiramani:“I need to compose my own shabad to represent myself.” Tradition, Creativity, and Reception of New Musical Productions in Italian Sikh Communities


ABSTRACTS

SESSION 4: African Perspectives
Chair: Jeffrey A. Summit

Daniel Kodzo Avorgbedor
University of Ghana (Ghana):

Ruptures, Junctures, and Difference: The Place of Music and Dance in Framing “Tradition” in a Plural Religious-Ritual Setting

This paper draws on recent field data of indigenous chieftaincy and royal stool ceremonies in Ghana which encouraged interfaith and intergeneric musical and dance performances as central features of the event. In Ghana, the site and dynamics of chieftaincy and its associated customs, rituals, functions and public expectations clearly situate it at a critical juncture and intersection of “tradition” and Charismatic Christianity. These intersections are often accompanied by moments of significant ruptures which nevertheless encourage music and dance experimentation-innovation across sacred-secular boundaries. Music and dance remain integral and powerful symbolic forms not only in the constitution but also on the ontological definition and meaningful exploration of the sacred and the secular, especially in everyday enactments of spirituality where boundaries of sacred and secular are often blurred. The paper further argues that the junctures and intersections of “tradition” and contemporary Christianity can frustrate normative analytical perspectives on the sacred and secular dualities, and that indigenous ritual systems also transcend sacred-secular-profane trichotomies, especially when the secular and the profane are often indispensable in “encountering” the sacred. The analysis illuminates and updates current postcolonial discourses of syncretism and hybridity and in relation to politics of identity, belonging and the affective, transformative functions of music and dance.

 

Jean Kidula
University of Georgia, Atlanta (USA):

Interrogating the Word and its Application through Musical Arts: Passages in African Christianity

I begin on the premise that Christianity in its spiritual and religious capacity, in its European and North American cultural adornment, material accouterments, as well as in its political, social, and economic packaging, has fundamentally defined the identity of modern Africa and its citizens on the continent and in the diaspora. Attempts have been made to understand, critique, and repackage this Christianity for African survival, belonging, and fundamental right.  Music has been an enduring expression and archive of this Christianity.

I discuss how “El-Shaddai” (2019) by H_art the band, a religious song that is visually and theatrically interpreted by its performers in ways that interrogate interpretations of scriptures, critiques ‘Christian’ understandings in the contemporary Kenyan urban scene. I contend that such critiques are not new, rather they are ignored, minimized, and even demonized in their labor regarding how Christianity is worked out in varying cultural, locational, political, and generational spaces.

 

Brian Schrag
Dallas International University (USA):

Ethnodoxology: History, Nature, and Opportunities for Dialogue

Many ecclesial and eschatological theologies informing 19th-21st Century Protestant missions lacked robust treatments of artistry. Colonialist ideologies often filled this conceptual void, resulting in new Christian churches reflecting the artistic practices of missionaries’ traditions at the expense of local arts. Ethnodoxology emerged in the late 20th and early 21st centuries as a reaction against these practices, rediscovering and further developing practical theologies of artistry in numerous Christian arenas.

In this presentation, I describe ethnodoxology’s birth as a network of disaffected individuals, coalescence into a multidisciplinary field, and impact on local churches and theological institutions. As an active participant in internal dialogues from its beginning, I examine ethnodoxology’s evolution and current manifestations, showing a video demonstrating the application of a core methodology with a community in the Democratic Republic of Congo (vimeo.com/552575710). Finally, I explore ethnodoxology’s potential and limits as a space for scholarly conversations integrating spiritual and ethnoartistic concerns.

 

SESSION 5: Migrations Past and Present
Chair: Fulvia Caruso

Hilde Binford
Moravian College, Bethlehem (USA):

The importance of 16th-Century Radical Reformation Hymns for Today’s Old Order Amish and Hutterites

In the 16th century, during the Radical Reformation, the Anabaptists in Europe were persecuted and martyred.  Their hymns, sung to common tunes of the time, relayed the stories of the martyrs, portrayed the condition of the prisoners, and acclaimed their faith in God.  Eventually, the Anabaptists followed different leaders, including Jakob Ammann, Menno Simons, and Jakob Hutter, becoming the Amish, Mennonites, and Hutterites. United with their pacifist beliefs and desire to remain in control of their own education, the groups migrated. To escape persecution, many emigrated to the American colonies, while others lived in Russia before ending up in Canada and Mexico. These groups still, to varying degrees, live “apart,” maintaining their hymn traditions in an oral tradition, dating back to the 16th century.  This paper provides an overview of the hymns of the Old Order Amish and Hutterites.

 

Razia Sultanova
University of Cambridge (United Kingdom):

“No home, no flag, mom!” Music and Religious Practices of Post-Soviet Migration

The large migrant labor workforce from Central Asia and the Caucasus brought to Russia new sounds and new images of Muslim culture. Islam with daily appearances of religious genres, particularly at times of religious holidays, is featured in ritualistic forms of religious practices. New sounds, including the call for prayer and communal prayer, produce a new outlook particularly on the day of a Muslim congregational Friday prayer (ṣalāt) or at the Islamic holidays such as Ramadan. Popular culture has fused and manifested itself through new bands and groups, whose sound is widely spread through Central Asian and Caucasian cafés and restaurants. This paper investigates the influence of the new migrant labor on Russian music culture and questions the religious and entertaining style of the contemporary music scene in Russian cities.

 

Maša K. Marty
Independent research scholar, Bern (Switzerland):

Liturgical Singing of the Slovenian Catholic Community in Switzerland and in the Principality of Liechtenstein

At the end of the 1960s, due to the considerable economic migration of Slovenes to Switzerland and to the Principality of Liechtenstein, the Slovenian Catholic Mission was founded and began to take care of the religious life of the emigrants in their new surroundings. The activity of the mission, which has provided a constant and continuous presence ever since, continues to play an important role in shaping the social life of the Slovenian Catholic community in these countries. Regular meetings contribute to the connections among the members of the community and to the maintenance of the Slovenian ethnic and religious identity. Within the religious rites, music is used as a tool to create a Christian musical space for the continuation and renewal of the ethnic local culture, through which parishioners connect with the culture and tradition of the place of origin. Liturgical singing, based on a standard repertoire determined by the liturgical year, communicates to the congregation a set of messages encoded in sound, text, and musical genre. The paper provides the results of a multi-layered analysis of this musical practice.

 

SESSION 6: Diaspora
Chair: Razia Sultanova

Marcia Ostashewski
Cape Breton University (Canada):

Singing Samoyilka: Byzantine Ukrainian Liturgical Music in Canada

Since the late 1800s when Ukrainians began immigrating to Canada, their religious practices have undergone a transformation as churches have incorporated local musics and languages and felt regional, national and transnational political pressures. Several aspects of this music have been transformed since the beginning of Ukrainian immigration to Canada, including language and musical content, as well as the gender of cantors. Factors that have influenced change include migration patterns; urbanization; an interplay between transnational religious institutions, governments, and local parishes; directives from Church hierarchy; Canadian politics such as multiculturalism; and, most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. Drawing on auto-ethnographic data of a practicing cantor as well as interviews with several other cantors, clergy, and community practitioners – this presentation addresses ways in which Ukrainian Byzantine congregational music in North America enables practitioners to experience singing the music and to create meaning through the practice; it also reveals the cultural work that this music performs.

 

Thea Tiramani
University of Pavia (Italy):

“I need to compose my own shabad to represent myself.” Tradition, Creativity, and Reception of New Musical Productions in Italian Sikh Communities

 Kirtan performances in the Sikh temples known as Gurdwaras involve the musical realization of hymns (shabad) contained in the Sacred Book. This is the most relevant moment of the religious rite because the words of the Sacred Book come to life in music. Today, music for the hymns, both in the motherland and in the diaspora, encompasses various genres. This happens because kirtaniya are continuously looking for music that can efficaciously move the faithful spirituality. Young musicians experiment with new forms of expressions, also outside Gurdwara religious life, and share the results through social media. My fieldwork involved research with Sikh musicians who were born in India and moved to Italy at a young age. These individuals have created hymns that combine elements of tradition with new musical trends, yet maintain an acceptable and specific idea of spirituality. In this presentation, my analysis of such innovative developments features a video clip of Aninder Singh and Gurwinder Singh.


   

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