Newsletter No. 529/530

How would you define ‘popular music’? While ‘pop music’ is often used to refer to a specific genre or style (like Cantopop), the phrase ‘popular music’ can be used more broadly to refer to music that appeals to a wide audience, is recorded and produced in recording studios, and reaches its audience through mediums like radio, recordings, or streaming services. But it’s actually quite hard to provide a precise definition, and it’s also something scholars have grappled with. What kind of popular music did you grow up with? When I was a teenager, the music that all my peers were listening to was the grunge rock of the 1990s—Nirvana, Green Day, Pearl Jam—as well as hip hop. Looking back, a lot of this was great music. But I guess I was a bit of a music snob, and only listened to jazz. It’s only when I got to college that my music tastes expanded, and I started to listen to all sorts of music—electronic, hip hop, reggae, rock, among others—and expand what I thought of as ‘good’ music. Which is your favourite popular piece? Oh, it’s impossible to choose only one! But Pressure Drop by Toots and the Maytals is a song that has meant a lot of different things to me at different points in my life, and whenever I hear it, it makes me feel again the feelings I had during some of those times. What drew you to Hong Kong and CUHK? My research is based in Guangzhou, where I lived for about six years before starting my PhD studies at Columbia. Since ethnomusicology is a fieldwork-based discipline, it’s fantastic to be so close, so I can continue my research and maintain connections to the musicians and other people I work with. At the same time, CUHK is a great place to be teaching and doing this research, and has a lot of people working on contemporary China in different disciplines and from different approaches that inspire me. And, of course, I love living in Hong Kong! Prof. Adam Kielman 乔曼教授 The recipient of the Early Career Award from the Research Grants Council shares with us his musical experience back in the US and in China during the past decade or so, and his award-winning project on popular music and new mobilities in Southern China. 研究资助局「杰出青年学者奖」的得主与我们分享他早年在美国和近十多年在中国的音乐经 验,以及他的获奖研究「中国南方的流行音乐与新流动性」。 你怎样界定「流行音乐」? 「流行音乐」很多时候是指某一类型或风格的 音乐(如粤语流行音乐),但更广义是指受广大 听众欢迎的音乐,在录音室录制和生产,且通 过电台、唱片或串流服务等媒介到达听众。事 实上不少学者就此争论不休,颇难准确定论。 说说陪你长大的流行音乐。 十多岁时同辈都是听九十年代的油渍摇滚— Nirvana、Green Day、Pearl Jam—还有嘻 哈音乐。现在回看,不少都是伟大的音乐。不过 我在音乐上是有点挑剔的,只听爵士乐。要到 进了大学我才扩濶品味,开始什么都听,包括电 子、嘻哈、reggae、摇滚,「好」音乐在我心目中 的范围也扩大了。 哪首流行音乐是你的至爱? 噢,不可能只拣一首吧。不过我的确喜欢Toots and the Maytals的 Pressure Drop 。这首歌 在我生命不同的阶段有着不同的意义,每次听 到,某些时刻的感觉便会再次涌现。 怎么会来到香港和中文大学? 我的研究以广州为基,在哥伦比亚大学念博士 之前我在那儿住了六年。由于民族音乐学以田野 工作为本,在香港非常有利于联系跟我合作的 音乐家等人。中大有不少学者都在做研究当代 中国的工作,范畴手法各异,能给我不少冲击, 所以这儿也是教研的好地方。当然,我喜欢香港 的生活也是原因。 流行音乐与流动性两者有何关连? 过去数十年,中国经历巨大的经济、社会、政治 和文化变迁,不单意味着人民流动的频率和方 式都多了,也意味他们对一己与地方的关系的看 法有所改变。同时,音乐和思想的流播也比以 前更快;那是声音而非人的流动。我的研究就是 探讨中国南部的音乐家如何从全球不同的流行 音乐和地区传统与思想汲取素材,还有他们怎 样创作反映其生活和流徙的音乐。 最初接触中国南部的流行音乐是几时? 2005年大学毕业后我初到广州,在一间媒体和 资讯科技公司工作,打理一个小型录音室,公余 便和民谣圈的音乐家交上朋友,一起玩音乐。 他们令我眼界大开,认识不少了不起的音乐。 这些音乐对你有多陌生? 可以说是既陌生又熟悉。音乐让我了解人,产生 联系,没有别的东西可及得上。既了解人,便可 开始了解音乐。 可有玩什么乐器? 我玩色士风,十岁那年,人人都要选一件乐器,加 入小学乐队,自此我便与音乐结下不解缘,音乐 也成了我生命的中心。音乐为我开拓的世界和经 验无与伦比,我难以想像没有音乐的生活。 S. Lo Department of Music 音乐系 How are popular music and mobilities connected? In the past few decades, the massive economic, social, political and cultural changes in China have meant that people are not only moving around more and in new ways, but they are also thinking differently about their relationships to places. At the same time, music and ideas about it travel faster than ever before, and represent another form of mobility—in this case, of sound, rather than of people. In my research, I explore how musicians in Southern China draw on global popular musics as well as regional traditions and ideas, and how they create music reflective of their own lives and their own mobilities. When did you first encounter popular music in Southern China? I first came to Guangzhou in 2005 after graduating from college, and worked in a media and IT company, running a small recording studio. In my time off, I started becoming friends with many musicians in the minyao (folk) circle, and then started playing music with them. They opened my eyes to so much great music. How alien was it to you? Well, it was alien in a way, but also very familiar. Music allowed me to understand and connect to people in a way that nothing else could, and by understanding people, you can start to understand the music. Did you play any instrument? I play the saxophone. I started playing when I was ten years old, when everyone had to choose an instrument to play in the elementary school band. I immediately fell in love with playing music, and music has been central to my life ever since. It’s opened up so many worlds and experiences for me—I couldn’t imagine life without it. 12 # 5 2 9 / 5 3 0 | 1 9 . 1 2 . 2 0 1 8 口 谈 实 录 / V iva V oce Photo by ISO Staff