Music preservation efforts go beyond strictly archival functions. They challenge our understanding of certain genres that have been historically associated with just a few major cities. For individual musicians who have never profited from their work finally, preservation groups can also provide some small restitution...

Folklorists like to romanticize blues music as being a pure expression of culture, but recorded blues music was carefully marketed to its intended audience from its very beginning. As early as the 1920s, music aimed at African-Americans was labeled as "race music", and the best way to advertise it was in the pages of African-American newspapers. These newspapers had a wide circulation among urban African-Americans and even in parts of the South, where they were treated as contraband and discretely shared. While living in Arkansas, the singer Big Bill Broonzy recalled furtively reading the most famous of these newspapers, The Chicago Defender, and he made the move to Chicago in part because of what he had learned in the newspaper. Broonzy said that Black readers of the Defender were seen as brave, as it was a newspaper that promoted Black migration to the North, criticized racism in the South, and pushed for social change.1

ENGLISH TEXT & INTERVIEWS BY KARLA HERNANDEZ
Imagine an ordinary day. You're driving home from work, maybe listening to the new Gardens & Villa track -- or perhaps that one Vampire Weekend song that you pretend not to like, or something more classic like The Beatles. You then stop at a red light, and the car next to you is blasting mariachi music. Annoyed, you instantly think to yourself, 'Why is it so loud? Why is the singer wailing? What is the singer even saying?' Something unfamiliar shows up, and instantly a barrier goes up. It's okay. We all do it, to varying degrees. Maybe at that Chinese restaurant where you dined last night, the moment the server went into the kitchen and started talking really fast in Mandarin, you gave your friend a funny look.
SPANISH TRANSLATION BY JEAN-CLAIRE PELTIAE
Imagina un día ordinario. Estas conduciendo del trabajo a la casa, quizás escuchando el nuevo tema de Gardens & Villa, o tal vez esa canción de Vampire Weekend que finges que no te gusta, o algo más clásico como los Beatles. A continuación, te detienes en un semáforo en rojo, y el auto al lado tiene música mariachi a todo volumen. Molesto, de inmediato piensas, "¿Por qué lo tienen tan alto? ¿Por qué esta gimiendo el cantante? ¿Qué está diciendo el cantante?" Aparece algo desconocido, y en este instante se forma una barrera. Todos lo hacemos, en grados diferentes. Tal vez en ese restaurant chino donde comiste anoche, en el momento que el mesero entro a la cocina y empezó hablando rápido en Mandarín, le dio a tu amigo una mirada rara.
Considering the large populations of immigrants that have lived throughout the past hundreds of years in the United States, it's odd to think that something as simple as language can create disconnections between us. Going back to Gardens & Villa, Vampire Weekend, and The Beatles, we listen to these bands without giving it a second thought. However, their music would not exist today without the cultural blending that occurred decades before them.
Considerando la gran población de inmigrantes que han vivido en los Estados Unidos a través de los últimos siglos, es extraño pensar que algo tan simple como el idioma puede crear desconexiones entre nosotros. Volviendo a Gardens & Villa, Vampire Weekend y los Beatles, escuchamos estos grupos sin pensarlo. Sin embargo, su música no existiría hoy sin la mixtura cultural que ocurrió décadas antes de su aparición.
 
Blues and jazz were born in African-American communities, and rock mixed R&B with country, blues and folk. The Beatles received a lot of attention for incorporating the sitar in some of their songs, while Paul Simon was influenced by music from South Africa. Who knows where modern Western music would be today if our musical ancestors did not explore and experiment with mixing their own regional music with that of other areas? These were musicians who traveled to different regions of the world and were inspired by the music of other countries. Now, these other countries are affecting contemporary Western music through immigration. To use the United States as an example, immigrants here are changing the DNA of communities, job markets, schools, public policy, and the economy. Musicians who are immigrants or children of immigrants are finding their feet, heart, and minds in two worlds. Not only is their worldview different; the way that they communicate is literally different.
El Blues y el Jazz nacieron en comunidades afro-americanas, y rock mezcló R&B con country, blues y folk. Los Beatles recibieron mucha atención por incorporar el citar en algunas de sus canciones, mientras Paul Simon fue influenciado por la música de Sudáfrica. ¿Quién sabe donde estaría la música occidental hoy si nuestros ancestros musicales no hubieran explorado, experimentado y mezclando su propia música regional con la de otras áreas? Estos eran músicos que viajaban a diferentes regiones del mundo y fueron inspirados por la música de otros países. Ahora estos otros países están afectando la música occidental a través de la inmigración. Usando a los Estados Unidos como ejemplo, los inmigrantes aquí están cambiando el ADN de comunidades, mercados de trabajo, escuelas, políticas públicas y la economía. Los músicos que son inmigrantes o hijos de inmigrantes están encontrando sus pies, corazones y mentes en los dos mundos, sus dos países. No solo su visión global es diferente; su forma de comunicarse es distinta literalmente.

China: a land of nearly 1.5 billion people, 56 recognized ethnic groups, and 292 living languages, spanning over 5,000 kilometers and 34 land divisions. Massive in size, notable in history, and influential in its economic and political maneuvers, China is simultaneously exciting and terrifying – something of a contradiction to the outside world, much loved and much feared.
中国:一个有着近15亿人口,56个民族,292种仍在使用的语言,跨越5000公里,由34块地域组成的国家。中国不仅地理广阔,也有着丰富璀璨的历史,影响世界的经济及政治力量。中国不仅令人震惊兴奋,也令人担心害怕 – 她似乎是个与外面世界不太相同的国家,令人热爱也令人畏惧。
Yet hidden beneath the gargantuan, State-driven China that is emphasized over-and-over again in news coverage lies an artistic day-to-day that few people see. As in any developing country, China has become a breeding ground for new and often innovative ideas – and included in that are an increasing number of musicians searching for their own identities. Many of them are following and documenting their own creative impulses, thereby bringing some musical change to a society otherwise dominated by mainstream Asian pop.
尽管中国一直以来都以庞然大国,国家统治形象示人,她所蕴含的日渐浓重的艺术氛围与文化发展却往往为人忽略。如许多发展中国家一样,中国正孕育着许多新颖,极具创造力的艺术思想 – 这些思想都来自于那些努力发声,力求为大众所见的艺术家、音乐家们。众多音乐家正跟随记录着他们自己的艺术脉搏,运用着他们的创造力,努力为日渐单一、主流化的亚洲流行音乐市场带来不一样的声音及改变。
English text by Vivian Hua; Chinese translation by Summer Fang
"The world's image of China is that of a faceless factory worker, the tasteless new rich Chinese buying property everywhere, the 1.5 billion black dots in the horizon sucking up resources. It doesn't realize that there are also 1.5 billion potential creative minds in this country as well. I think it will take time to make that true." – Helen Feng of Nova Heart "世界对中国的印象一直以来都是千篇一律,毫无特征的工厂工人,只有金钱却毫无品味的中国买家,以及用力耗尽资源的15亿人口。然而大多数人都没有意识到,这15亿人口也是15亿个潜在创造力。我想这需要时间去使其成真。" - Nova Heart (新星心) 的冯海宁

The mythological quest to express the sublime through the human body can be the great mystery and significance of dance. The grace and emotive gravity of dance inspire us to explore shared resonance and to comprehend our substance through a most intimate artistry. Yet we are ever limited by our human bodies, those endlessly elusive entities that enrobe our vocabularies and begin and end our extraordinary worlds. Butoh dancing (舞踏) is an expression of body that has found relevance outside of its roots in Japan, across cultures and generations.
Originally known only as the "dance of darkness" or "dance of death", Butoh has evolved into an encompassing expression of every element to be found through the human body. It does not transcend the human form or express a superhuman consciousness, but challenges us to comprehend ourselves through a different mentality. Despite the fairly recent origination of this dance form, it has quickly appealed and demonstrated that it speaks to something common within us, however we may allow our cultural and geographic borders to define us.

A Background on Butoh

tatsumi-hijikata Kazuo Ohno © H. Tsukamoto Dance is a corporeal poetry that speaks to us through sensual body memory and intangible thought, thus communicating experience and expressing ideals. We may, for instance, find the most exquisite aspirations to perfection in the sculptural forms of ballet and the etiquettes of ballroom dance -- but what dance is there to speak of anguish and terror? What of the uncontainable spirit that seeps from our grotesque beings in spite of vigilant taboo? Would it not be deceptive to express the most visceral of human experience through only forms of chiseled beauty? Dance that declares itself as an encompassing language for human experience yet speaks from under a veneer of piety for conventional aesthetics is fundamentally dishonest. With passionate protest to the void in integrity of expression and against standards of superficiality, Butoh emerged at the end of the 20th century. It was in the shadow of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that Butoh's first breaths were drawn, already shuddering naked and borne by true darkness. Shaped into its ghostly form by dancers Kazuo Ohno and Tatsumi Hijikata, Butoh came to define Japanese avant-garde dance in its embrace of the totality of emotional experience and the absurdity found in the raw body. Ohno and Hijikata composed a new lyric for the human body where nothing was forbidden to experience. The revolutionary spirit of Butoh explored morbidity and sexuality in its most explicit forms. By doing so, it not only transformed the Japanese stage but connected with international audiences and dancers, tantalizing a universal desire for this same purity of expression. Until the '60s, there had been no such dance within Japan that allowed for the communication of the uninhibited body and, as far as technical form, there still exist few such parallels.

Kazuo Ohno & Tatsumi Hijikata

"Butoh, as [with] so many true arts, contains the beautiful spectrum of being. Often these first looks at Butoh are early works of suffering individuals. I have found that once the repressed or taboo aspects of life and the soul are allowed to naturally surface through the body and art, the lightness and loving joy must also be revealed." - Maureen Freehill (Seattle-based Butoh dancer, Artistic Director of "Butopia")

As the mountainous ribs of southern Siberia, the republic of Tuva breathes with a culture of inherent symbiosis. The expansive region rests at the true heart of Central Asia, brushed by the ancient carcass of the Sayan Mountains that rumble alongside the eastern steppe, the rigid Altai peaks that hover over winding plateaus to the west, and the Mongolian border to the south. At this intersection of Asian lands and traditionally semi-nomadic cultures, a legendary form of music continues to cultivate creative expression, spirituality, and, through adaptation, modern experimentation.
The music of any region is the skin of its culture. Its texture, wrinkles, and colors stretch over flesh, bone, and spirit. Within the open palm of Central Asia, Tuva holds a musical tradition that has been quietly capturing the imagination of the world and which is among the most awe-inspiring vocal arts to have persisted to this day. Also known as overtone singing, and colloquially as khoomei, throat singing is a style of vocal performance that allows a singer to deliver two or more notes simultaneously, while the pitch is naturally controlled by the lips and throat. Overtone singing can be heard in many cultures: for instance, in some isolated regions in Canada's Arctic; within the Xhosa communities of South Africa; among the Chukchi; and in the memory of the Ainu art of Rekuhkara. Tuva's throat singing, however, is unlike any other in the world.
Jump to: 1. From the Lungs of Central Asia 2. Between Political and Folk Narrative 3. Transcending Place 4. Music as the Frequency of Spiritual Experience 5. Continuing Exploration and Growth Alash River, Tuva Republic. Photography by Konstantin Mikhailov
"For Tuvans, I would say, khoomei expresses thought within the field of sound. And that is why, for the majority of Tuvans — even those who do not sing but only listen — it evokes associations with the sounds of nature, while for the performers, as they sing, it would be native lands, mountains, steppe, taiga, and so on." - Choduraa Tumat, Tyva Kyzy
"Но у тувинцев, я бы сказала, хоомей выражается как мышление в звуковом пространстве. И поэтому у большинства тувинцев, даже у тех кто не поет а только слушает, при слушании возникает ассоциация со звуками природы. А у самих исполнителей при пении явная визуализация природы: родные места, горы, степь, тайга и т.д." - Чодураа Тумат, Тыва Кызы
 

In spring 2010, Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted, billowing an ash cloud so large it disrupted air travel in Western Europe for nearly a month. News stations scrambled to cover the event, and all eyes turned to Iceland, both praising it and admonishing it for its native geographic wonders. But once the ash settled, so did the attention. Once again, Iceland found itself inhabiting its own isolated region of the world.

Iceland is a small country with a reputation built upon a foundation of misinformation. Few people have first-hand knowledge of the country, but many think they do. They spread the myth that Iceland is frozen over by glaciers year-round, that it's barely inhabitable during the winter months. They harp that quirky Icelanders have a widespread belief in the existence of fairies. No wonder a musician as eccentric as Björk would spawn from such a curious land! These hastily-draw conclusions do not paint the whole picture.
Iceland is certainly cold in winter months, but the famed landscape of eternal tundra is reflective of Greenland, not Iceland. Belief in mythological spirits certainly does exist, but Iceland is far from being an underdeveloped rural society of loons. The country's most famous export, Björk, is considered unique by any standards. Her musical and aesthetic choices are hardly reflective of the conventional norms of the country, and your average Icelander is far from outlandish.

Björk's recent accomplishments have taken the form of collaborative projects with musicians like Dirty Projectors and Antony And The Johnsons. Ostensibly, her solo career has been deferred, and to fill in the void, the world has shifted towards Iceland's other successful musical acts. Few and far between, those acts have wielded tremendous power, their sheer dearth providing them the opportunity to mold global perspectives on Icelandic's music scene.

Post-rock quintet Sigur Rós has, in the recent past, contributed to the rebranding of Iceland with a new visual and musical face -- a move that has unwittingly opened the scene up to another slew of stereotypes and associations.
"Icelanders are blessed with beautiful nature, lots of water, and space, and there's great energy in the country. But I think that more importantly, the most successful Icelandic musicians have been led by their curiosity and put a lot of time and effort into their art, and as result, created their own unique musical world." -- Ólöf Arnalds