But these are not dead or stable forms, nor is their access to or through the media fixed or weighted forever in favor of trashy commerce. The year 2006 can now be seen as a turning point: in that media-year two major innovations swept through the world of “true folk” (another way of rendering yuanshitai/yuanshengtgai), hopefully with path-opening affect and widening opportunity for mixing of sounds vocal and instrumental.
Most visible/audible in the process of change has been the institutionalizing of “pristine” sound in mixes of voice and instrument. Though the push forces are many and not all laudable (cultural tourism a minus, but “intangible cultural heritage” award something of a plus… T
Where to look? And who are the candidates for global fusion/crossover?
A middle ground: Dadawa and Tashi Tsereng (next post) experiment with a mix of Tibetan drums and cross-singing in Yunnan (the latter’s base of operations for multiple song/voice explorations into the hill country. He is not however a Tibet-born singer, but has learned language and the voicing from his travels. Diasporas are so often the breeding ground for crossing genres! Had I the language access, I am sure that I could wander trough Khampo or Amdo or the Ordos and unearth many more such Shangrila-Greenwich Villages from which emerged so very many =- too many – of the “new Tibet” songsters.
But back to Dadawa, both vocal and perergrine angel: it becomes clear that sound itself has a jealous dependence on terrain, the physical and climatological amphitheatre where it re-sounds. The elusive gypsy-traveler is the most aware of all listeners of this fact, and annotates music within landscape. He/she, because always aware of the next day’s march, or stressed by the prior one’s, can best hear (distinguish) the ethereal sound of indigenous singing, since “ethereal” means play or resonance with the cross-echoes of a climate and topography (he source of the fantasy). The intermediating voice of the traveler – and her’s is wonderful – thus is a prime conditioner of what can then be heard as “pure”. Here is one instance of a learner nearing the end of her interiorizing.