Authenticity in music: How to be a ‘real’ musician in times of retromania?
Are we obsessed by anything and everything vintage, from retrospective rock documentaries to band reformations (the Sex Pistols!), reunion tours, and reenactments of historical concerts? Are we living in a pop age gone loco for nostalgia? If we are to believe music critics such as Simon Reynolds (author of the book Retromania, 2011), then popular music – and even popular culture in general – is currently suffering from a disease called ‘retromania’, an incurable addiction towards its own past. By reviving styles from the past (folk, electropop, Britpop), pop music regains the desired aura of ‘authenticity’, but is essentially only recycling the past: a never-ending story of the fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties…
On the other hand, the notion of ‘authenticity’ seems to be more alive than ever. The best singer-songwriter of the Netherlands is the one who ‘keeps it small and simple’ and is void of being the distant celebrity. Moreover, when looking at the increasing popularity of genres like ‘folk’ and ‘world music’, in which notions like ‘sincerity’ and ‘authenticity’ have always been dominant, then there seems to be more going on than just being crazy for retro.
During the third edition of Music Talks we invite you to explore the current debate on authenticity together with musicians, academics, and people working in the music industry. What is authenticity? How can you study it (academically)? What is the value of authenticity for developing a career as a musician? Who decides what is ‘authentic’, and what are the mechanisms behind such selection and marketing processes?
With – from academia: Barbara Titus (Associate Professor Musicology, University of Amsterdam) & Dick Houtman (Full Professor of Sociology of Culture and Religion, University of Leuven, Belgium). Musicians (and music by): Lucky Fonz III (Dutch folk musician) & Kudsi Ergüner (master of the Turkish ney flute and artistic leader Ottoman music Codarts). Music industry: George Caird (Artistic Advisor of the Classical Music department, Codarts) & Koen ter Heegde (label manager Subroutine Records Groningen).
Artistic performance by Rotterdam artist Toine Klaassen (curated by Roodkapje Radicals)
Hosts: Niels van Poecke (EUR), Zuzsi Nagy-Sandor (EUR) & Henrice Vonck (Codarts)
Music Talks #3 is organized by: Erasmus University Rotterdam (Arts and Culture studies), ERMeCC, Codarts, Grounds, Roodkapje Radicals and SG Erasmus.
Foto: Sanja Marija Marušić