Ubuntu” and Fusion Music

International Scientific Conference

Bratislava, 19/05/2022

Venue: Comenius University, Faculty of Arts,

811 02 Bratislava, Gondova 2, room no. 236

The Angrusori concert in Bratislava, the workshop, and the conference are part of the 7th World Music Festival Bratislava.

Organizer: Žudro in cooperation with the Faculty of Arts and WMF

Schedule for 19/05/2022conference, workshop, university concert

“Ubuntu” and Fusion Music: A Concept Not Only of Musical Mutuality. Sources of Inspiration, Creative Methods, and the Significance of Improvisation

  • 9:30 – 9:40 Opening
  • 9:40 – 10:20 Luca Cerchiari, (IULM University, Milan) Ethnic music and jazz, past and present. A general theoretical approach and a focus on multi-instrumentalist Yusef Lateef, key speaker
  • 10:20 – 10:40 Petr Dorůžka, Musical Fusion throughout the History, from Qawwali via Gospel to Bolivian Baroque (Czech Republic)
  • 10:40 – 11:00 Franco Fabbri  (IULM University, Milan, Huddersfield UK University), Preparing an indigestible dish: Macchina Maccheronica and Rock In Opposition as a genre
  • 11:00 – 11:20 Coffee break
  • 11:20 – 11: 40 Yvetta Kajanová (Comenius University, Bratislava), Ethnic Music and American-Slovak Jazz, Eugen Botoš Finally, Radovan Tariška Folklor to Jazz, Hanka G project
  • 11:40 – 12:00 Jana Belišová (Comenius University, Bratislava), afterPhurikane: A multi-ethnic music project inspired by ancient Romani songs
  • 12:00-12:40 Petter Frost Fadnes (University of Stavanger, Norway), Nils Henrik Asheim (Norway), Sitting in a Circle: The Angrusori ‘method’ and hybridity in practice
  • 12:40 – 13:00 Jana Ambrósová

“Ubuntu” and Fusion Music: A Concept Not Only of Musical Mutuality. Sources of Inspiration, Creative Methods, and the Significance of Improvisation

“Ubuntu” is an African principle of mutuality and humaneness, expressed in various modifications in African languages and dialects, which may be summed up as follows: “I am because you are”, or humaneness for others. We feel fusion connects not only various genres of music, but also musicians and people from different cultures, ethnicities, and social groups. For the past 15 years, fusion music has been a frequent creative method even in popular music. Musical formations cross the borders between genres and create novel, fresh musical combinations. This trend draws on the popularity of world music and the need of today’s people to return to their historical roots. Part of the papers at the conference will be based on the musical and creative practice of the presenters, who point out the artistic procedures and the significance of improvisation in the genesis of new works of music. Another group of presenters will bring theoretical and new pieces of information about the trend of fusion in the world of contemporary music.

Fusion music is a timely term especially for the field of fusing jazz and rock music in the late 1960s, even though terms like jazz rock, rock jazz, or crossover were preferred at that time. The term ‘fusion music’ began to be actively used in the 1980s, when tendencies appeared to constantly push the boundaries of jazz even into ethnic fields. New terms like pop jazz, funky, electric jazz, and later even derogatory terms like eclectic jazz, or terms giving rise to conflicting views like smooth jazz, acid jazz, nu jazz, or electro jazz, came to the forefront. Several problems were solved by introducing the term ‘world music’, but this was accepted by many only as a commercial emblem. Side by side with these external characteristics, composition and improvisation are also changing in ethnic music, jazz, rock music, classical music, and other genres.

Since the beginning of postmodernism, composition has undergone significant changes against the background of the styles and genres of jazz, rock, and art music. Its characteristic features changed from “opus perfectum et absolutum”, with precise notation, to improvised expressions. This is taking place not only in jazz where composers can choose between improvisation and notation in the arrangements but also in art music where classical composers give up their preference for notation in favour of improvised composition. In contemporary music, composers opt for a compromise between these two approaches and often appear in the role of the performer. Contemporary composition techniques in jazz, rock, blues, country, and European music oscillate between the phenomena of composition, improvisation, comprovisation, arrangement, hybrids, variants, cover versions, remixes, productions, etc. Classical analyses of the compositions, their modern software analyses, and the identification of their aesthetic attributes and historical contexts are the key to understanding these expressions.

The goal of the conference is to answer the question of whether fusion music is still relevant today in Europe and in the world, in which genres and styles, whether the current situation is similar or reminiscent of the melting pot in the early history of jazz in the USA.

We would like to dedicate this conference, which focuses on mutuality not only in music, to the African percussionist Thierry Ebam (* Central African Republic, † 01/12/2021 Bratislava), friend and collaborator in several musical projects of the OZ Žudro civic association (afterPhurikane) for many years.

Concept: Mgr. Jana Belišová, PhD., prof. Yvetta Kajanová, PhD.

Supported by VEGA Grant 1/0015/19 (Composition in the Context of Jazz, Rock, 20th-Century European Music, and the Present)

The conference is part of the Angrusori project, the fusion music of Norwegian musicians from Kitchen Orchestra, the Czech singer Iva Bittová, the Slovak multi-instrumentalist Roman Harvan, and amateur Romani musicians from Eastern Slovakia.