Monday, April 21, 2008

Doing a Flip Reverse on what is Asian American music

The first musical selection questions (or rather brings back into discussion) the definition of Asian American. The artist, Thao Nguyen, is Asian American, but does her music qualify as Asian American? As a contrast let us use another artist. Using the recent musical artist at Spring Weekend, Vampire Weekend, would their music be considered African just because they use (Steal? Expoit?) African styles and rhythms (ex. “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa”). Furthermore, her popularity and musical style falls under the indie (indie-pop? indie-rock?) genre. What is the relationship of her being Asian American and the indie genre, a genre that is dominated by white males (ex. Vampire Weekend).

The second (and third) musical selection takes us for a moment outside of the US to the UK and Korea. The group Blazin’ Squad several years ago released the track “Flip Reverse” which was covered by the Korean artist Jang Woo Hyuk. The song brings up ideas of “credibility” (itself, tied to ideas of “authenticity” already discussed in class). Does a group of white (except one), British males have the right to perform (faux?) hip hop? Should a Korean artist cover a track from this group? Admittedly, the song is unintentionally funny (try to guess what the song is about; the video after the two music videos will give you a bit of a laugh). But it does raise questions of credibility and authenticity.

Lastly, I wanted to bring to the table an article from the New York Times several years ago about Asian American artists.

. It puts an interesting take on the popularity of Thao Nguyen being an indie (rather than mainstream) artist.

-Christopher Huynh

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