Aren’t we appropriating music?

You can’t believe how much I love looking appropriate. Especially when it comes to listening to music. I appropriate to impress.

While I was working on office party planning ahead of Christmas day, I decided to buy a set of speaker so that we music lovers can listen to music as loud as our sing-along noise. A few days later, I set up the new speaker on my desk for a test run. Even for a test run, my music selection process isn’t usually quite simple. I consider several factors like emotion, audience, occasion, and so on. This time I chose from my playlists songs that involve bouncy beats such as dancehall and reggaeton that give African-y vibes.

Then I invited my Malawian colleagues to play songs they like to listen to from the nice speaker. One of them hurriedly searched for his music folder on his laptop and played songs that remind me of good ol’ American days. And of course his finishing touch included popular songs of Justin Bieber. Next, another guy enthusiastically played a video clips of some American punk rock band that reminded me how awful punk rock can be.

I usually listen to house music when I’m alone and only time to time listen to those beats. And I assume they might also listen to something else. If that’s true then apparently we were very much concerned about our audience. At least I was. Even though no one meant it, it somehow ended up looking like, ‘hey look, I listen to your kind of music. How cool am I?’ It makes me grin with pure joy whenever I think about this day.

 

Photograph: huyen do

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Author: Choyoung

An anthropology novice with passion for small things. A development worker in a world of imponderabilia.

2 thoughts on “Aren’t we appropriating music?”

  1. It reminds me of those days when listening to music was so interesting with different kinds of music. When I am alone, there are specific songs I like to listen to. But during this time, I listened to songs that others like which turn to be my favourite now.

    1. Back in Korea, I rarely listen to reggaeton or dancehall unless they play during shuffle. I guess it’s not as fun when there’s no one to share the kind of music with. It was real fun listening to music, playing guitar, and singing together no matter how lame and old the songs were!

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