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Nummelin, Georgette (2022) Borrowing Songs, Lending Voices - Encountering Ainu through the online teaching and learning of upopo: a reflexive case study. In: 46th ICTM World Conference, 21st–27th July 2022, Lisbon, Portugal. (Unpublished)

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Throughout my doctoral research on Ainu1 music and language revitalisation, I have been learning the Ainu language and musical traditions as reflexive ethnography, and to be part of the process of maintenance, revitalisation, and transmission. As a singer and shamisen player in a Japanese folk music group which had some Okinawan but no Ainu repertoire, the pandemic period provided a perfect opportunity to introduce new material which required nothing but our voices. In this paper I discuss introducing the SOAS Min’yo Group to Ainu upopo during the UK COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020-21, exploring the process of teaching and learning this Indigenous music with a diverse group of performers, many of whom had little or no knowledge of Ainu music or language prior to this, and who were already participating in the group using a second language. The paper explores whether transmission and presentation of this music by, and to, non-Ainu, can play a positive role in both revitalisation and activism. Also discussed are some of the approaches used with the SOAS Min’yo Group , and with Year 13 music students at a London school, to make the teaching and learning of a musical tradition in an unfamiliar language as effective, enjoyable, and informative as possible, while centring the experiences and autonomy of Ainu communities. Additionally, it offers suggestions for other groups to have their first contact with a new language through music; music which could aid in further language acquisition and provide methods for linguistic and cultural transmission which can work hand in hand with Indigenous and minority communities. Key Words Ainu; upopo; min’yo; revitalisation; music; teaching; activism

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Items (Paper)
Keywords: Ainu; upopo; min’yo; revitalisation; music; teaching; activism
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Arts > Department of Music
Departments and Subunits > School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics > Department of Linguistics
SOAS Doctoral School
Date Deposited: 08 Jul 2023 10:22

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