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Performing Democracy: Bulgarian Music and Musicians in Transition - Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology (Paperback)
  • Performing Democracy: Bulgarian Music and Musicians in Transition - Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology (Paperback)
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Performing Democracy: Bulgarian Music and Musicians in Transition - Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology (Paperback)

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£31.00
Paperback 496 Pages / Published: 10/01/2006
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The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 signaled the onset of tumultuous political, economic, and social reforms throughout Eastern Europe. In Czechoslovakia, Poland, and the Soviet Union these changes were linked to the activities and philosophies of political figures such as Vaclav Havel, Lech Walesa, and Mikhail Gorbachev. In Bulgaria, however, these changes were first heralded and even facilitated by particular musicians and shifting musical styles. Based on fieldwork conducted between 1988 and 1996 with professional Bulgarian folk musicians, Donna A. Buchanan's "Performing Democracy" argues that the performances of traditional music groups may be interpreted not only as harbingers but as agents of Bulgaria's political transition. Many of the musicians in socialist Bulgaria's state folk ensembles served as official cultural emissaries for several decades. Through their reminiscences and repertoires, Buchanan reveals the evolution of Bulgarian musical life as it responded to and informed the political process. By modifying their art to accommodate changing political ideologies, these musicians literally played out regime change on the world's stages, performing their country's democratization musically at home and abroad. "Performing Democracy" and its accompanying CD-ROM, featuring traditional Bulgarian music, lyrics, notation, and photos, will fascinate any reader interested in the many ways art echoes and influences politics.

Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226078274
Number of pages: 496
Weight: 738 g
Dimensions: 225 x 180 x 30 mm
Edition: New edition


MEDIA REVIEWS
"The power of the book comes primarily from Buchanan's ability to address the historical question of post-socialist transition by weaving together rich ethnographic fieldnotes and knowledgeable ethnomusicological, discursive, and historiographical analyses. . . . Although this expansive book is first and foremost an ethnomusicological investigation, its value exceeds narrow disciplinary boundaries. For the particular needs of folklorists . . . Performing Democracy contributes a highly important approach."--Eran Livni "Journal of Folklore Research "
"The book offers a fascinating, comprehensive, and informed account of music and nation buildong in the context of the intense sociopolitical changes that took place in Bulgaria. . . . [Buchanan's] gifts as a brilliant storyteller bring another attractive quality that makes Performing Democracy a welcomed, challenging title in the world of contemporary ethnographic and anthropological scholarship."--Claire Levy "Ethnomusicology "

"The title of this excellent book is more than a play on words. Buchanan demonstrates how the professionalization of folk music by the socialist state for nationalist purposes actually validated notions of western modernity, making the democratic transition more attractive and placing professional musicians at an important political location. These observations help clarify
the rather complex and paradoxical political situation in postsocialist Bulgaria. Anyone who doubts the political power of music--or culture more broadly--should read this book."--Gerald Creed, Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York

-- (07/26/2005)

"The fall of the Berlin Wall launched a series of cataclysmic changes throughout Eastern Europe that have profoundly affected the region's musical life. Performing Democracy situates itself on the cusp of those changes. Focusing on Bulgaria, it details both government-sponsored music-making during the final years of the socialist period, and an array of musical activities that developed during the period of transition to capitalism and democracy. Based on intensive fieldwork carried out over a period of several years, it is the most significant study to chronicle musical developments during this important period of Eastern European history."--Jane C. Sugarman, State University of New York at Stony Brook

-- (05/17/2005)

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