A Sweet Lullaby for World Music - Steven Feld
In A Sweet Lullaby for World Music, Steven Feld discusses the origination of the term "world music", and how it was initially established as a more friendly, relatable term in the 1960s after the academic term ethnomusicology became widely used in the 1950s. The study of world music aimed to examine and support non-Western music practices and performances. While Feld acknowledges how world music had hopeful aims as a study, he discusses the divide that both the terms world music and ethnomusicology have caused, and the difference between world music and music. World music assumes an uncolonized, inferior state to the powerful, domineering Western music. World music became synonymous with third world music. In the 1990s with the rise of popular music, artists began using world music styles in a more aesthetically pleasing way, for the western marketplace, that is. But what really propagated the success of world music was the "rapid product expansion and the promotional support of both the recording and aligned entertainment industries". Throughout the 90s world music gained great fan support and began to penetrate of whole myriad of different venues. The term world music is now more of a musical genre than an academic property.
Feld goes on to a specific case study, discussing how "Rorogwela", a Beagu lullaby from Northern Malatia, only became popular once it became a hit in the 1990s in the world music marketplace. It was renamed "Sweet Lullaby" and includes the original female vocalist with a drum machine and synthesier accompaniments and digital insertions of sounds from Central Africa, such as vocal yodels and forest water-splashing games. Hugo Zemp examined the album Deep Forests, and UNESCO wanted Zemp to credit the American production industry over the artists themselves. Zemp also discovered the lack of consent given in the popularization of "Sweet Lullaby".
This to me provides a shameful example of how industry and business care about making money more than anything. They essentially authorized themselves to use "Sweet Lullaby" whenever and wherever they wanted, be it as a track on the radio or background music for a variety of commercial products. This money and success was never brought back to the roots though - the creators of the original tune that allowed this success to flourish never received any credit, monetary or verbal. Beyond this, the music itself took on an entirely different meaning when it became popular music - it was no longer world music. Even though world music has become a style in and of itself, why is it that it needed to take on the popular music style to gain accreditation? If world music is its own entity and a respected style, why then wasn't the original track used? What is it that truly makes music "popular"?