Approach to non-eurocentric music #4: Fusion/Facebooking
How it analyses the power imbalance in music: Two temporally disparate approaches to deeply questioning the division of “us” and “them”, one obliviously and provocatively hippie-universalist (“Fusion”), the other distinctly post-structuralist and technology-driven (“Facebooking” or whatever). The common factor? Analyzing the division as being one of lack of direct contact – third-world musicians have less power because they don’t participate directly in the eurocentric public.
How it attempts to empower third world musicians: By having jam sessions with them/By connecting with them directly on social networks.
What it gets right: The division between “us” and “them” is one of the consistently problematic aspects of all these approaches, and is at least superficially solved here. Levinasian face-to-face is always a good thing. Also: the recent version (though not classic fusion) totally destroys the concept of roots, and better reflects how musical culture actually works.
Where it fails: By wilfully ignoring privilege, it risks masking and denying it as much as undermining it. Also, it automatically favours the well-connected over the less well-connected, leading the marginalised people within many societies not being included. Still, in its limited, middle class-to-middle class capacity, the recent social network-based approach (which, unlike Fusion, does not depend on eurocentric money and networks) is probably the best solution so far.