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Fragments of reminiscence: popular music as carrier of global memory


Sobral Mourao, Ana (2010). Fragments of reminiscence: popular music as carrier of global memory. In: Assman, Aleida; Sebastian, Conrad. Memory in a Global Age : Discourses, Practices and Trajectories. London: Palgrave Macmillan Ltd., 199-224.

Abstract

During my stay at a German university as an exchange student, the music by the Franco-Spanish nomadic artist Manu Chao hit the radio waves, receiving a willing listenership throughout our international student residence. Manu Chao’s album Clandestino (1998) was a unique blend of musical styles (reggae, salsa, rumba and rap) and languages (Spanish, French, Brazilian-Portuguese and English) which suited our cosmopolitan atmosphere. It also featured samples from traditional Latin-American songs, Brazilian and Soviet radio, Spanish T V, Jamaican dub sessions and the Zapatista manifesto. Reminiscent of a frantic trip across a world in disarray, the mood of Clandestino was at once ironic and melancholic. The lyrics dealt with the experiences of illegal immigrants in Western Europe and North America, and they presented the singer himself as a restless wanderer unable to commit himself to one place. This medley of sounds and ideas provided the fitting soundtrack for my own transnational, polyglot and somewhat confused identity. Having grown up between post-colonial Angola, Yugoslavia and Portugal, I had the impression that I belonged everywhere and nowhere. Like Manu Chao’s song ‘Desaparecido’ (the vanished), I was ‘lost in the twentieth century, moving towards the twenty-first’. Listening to Clandestino helped me realize that my own placelessness was not so exceptional.

Abstract

During my stay at a German university as an exchange student, the music by the Franco-Spanish nomadic artist Manu Chao hit the radio waves, receiving a willing listenership throughout our international student residence. Manu Chao’s album Clandestino (1998) was a unique blend of musical styles (reggae, salsa, rumba and rap) and languages (Spanish, French, Brazilian-Portuguese and English) which suited our cosmopolitan atmosphere. It also featured samples from traditional Latin-American songs, Brazilian and Soviet radio, Spanish T V, Jamaican dub sessions and the Zapatista manifesto. Reminiscent of a frantic trip across a world in disarray, the mood of Clandestino was at once ironic and melancholic. The lyrics dealt with the experiences of illegal immigrants in Western Europe and North America, and they presented the singer himself as a restless wanderer unable to commit himself to one place. This medley of sounds and ideas provided the fitting soundtrack for my own transnational, polyglot and somewhat confused identity. Having grown up between post-colonial Angola, Yugoslavia and Portugal, I had the impression that I belonged everywhere and nowhere. Like Manu Chao’s song ‘Desaparecido’ (the vanished), I was ‘lost in the twentieth century, moving towards the twenty-first’. Listening to Clandestino helped me realize that my own placelessness was not so exceptional.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > English Department
Dewey Decimal Classification:820 English & Old English literatures
Language:English
Date:2010
Deposited On:23 Apr 2019 14:46
Last Modified:14 May 2019 12:22
Publisher:Palgrave Macmillan Ltd.
Series Name:Palgrave Macmillan Memory Studies
ISBN:978-1-349-32356-2
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230283367_11
Related URLs:https://www.recherche-portal.ch/primo-explore/fulldisplay?docid=ebi01_prod006177672&context=L&vid=ZAD&search_scope=default_scope&tab=default_tab&lang=de_DE (Library Catalogue)

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