Monday, 29 July 2013

Article published on popular music heritage, canonisation and country music in Tamworth, Australia

Not strictly about DIY archives but my latest publication in the journal Popular Music -- an article about cultural memory and canonisation in Australia's 'country music capital' -- might be of interest to some readers of this blog. 

Claire Gilmore from Cambridge University Press writes on the Cambridge Journals Blog:

The latest issue of Popular Music features an article by Sarah Baker and Alison Huber about the regional city of Tamworth, New South Wales, the self-made ‘Country Music Capital’ of Australia. The article considers the ongoing memorialisation of country music in Tamworth. The authors argue that the various events, festivals and monuments dedicated to this memorialisation have helped to create, maintain and perpetuate an Australian country music ‘canon’....     
The authors go on to consider why Tamworth has invested so heavily in the development of such a canon. They argue that ‘canons provide an appealing solution to the problems associated with an excess of information, choosing for us what is important to single out for listening or, more importantly for our purposes, what one should remember.
‘In Tamworth, there seems to be a cultural desire for a usable, ordered memory of the past… Without something like a canon, collective imaginings of the past can only be fragmented, but at the same time, the veneration of the canon, can be at risk of a ‘contraction’ of cultural memory.
‘Yet in spite of the tendency we observed toward paying homage to the past and the strong presence of the canon, the range in genre and style that make up ‘country music’ in Australia appears to us to be more varied and perhaps even more popular than ever.’

Cambridge Journals has made the article available to view free of charge until the 25th August 2013, just click here.

My photo of the wax figure of Smoky Dawson, taken at Tamworth's Gallery of Stars Wax Museum, even made the front cover of the journal:

Full publication details are as follows:

Sarah Baker and Alison Huber 2013, 'Locating the canon in Tamworth: historical narratives, cultural memory and Australia's "Country Music Capital"', Popular Music, vol. 32, no. 2, pp 223-240. doi:10.1017/S0261143013000081.