Authenticity and Hybridity

This article was published in a special issue of the journal Bulgarian Musicology: Studies. “The Human World and Musical Diversity: Proceedings From the Fourth Meeting of the ICTM [International Council for Traditional Music] Study Group ‘Music and Minorities’ in Varna, Bulgaria 2006.” Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. Institute of Art Studies. Sofia, 2008. Edited by Rosemary Statelova, Angela Rodel, Lozanka Peycheva, Ivanka Vlaeva and Ventsislav Dimov.


The study of music in relation to nations, identity, place and race in the last decades has shown how national feelings, ideologies, and racial prejudices still manifest themselves in cultural policies and peoples’ sensibilities, and thus in the discourses that surround music.

This paper examines three soundscapes that have constituted ground for the shaping of major musical styles, tastes, performance practices and ideologies of music in Georgia from the 19th to the 21st century. These soundscapes, identified as “Oriental”, “Western” and “Georgian” conjure historical and imagined links with specific geographical places, origin, ethnicity, race and civilization. They participate in the negotiation of such concepts as authenticity and hybridity, ultimately contributing to the imagining of the “true”, authentic national music as opposed to the “alien” musical imports.

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