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Javaphilia : American love affairs with…

Javaphilia : American love affairs with Javanese music and dance

by Henry Spiller

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0824840941, Hardcover)

Fragrant tropical fl owers, opulent batik fabrics, magnificent bronze gamelanorchestras, and, of course, aromatic coff ee. Such are the exotic images of Java, IndonesiaAEs most densely populated island, that have hovered at the periphery of North American imaginations for generations. Through close readings of the careers of four ojavaphileso - individuals who embraced Javanese performing arts in their own quests for a sense of belonging - Javaphilia: American Love Affairs with Javanese Music and Dance explores a century of American representations of Javanese performing arts by North Americans. While other Asian cultures made direct impressions on Americans by virtue of fi rsthand contacts through immigration, trade, and war, the distance between Java and America, and the vagueness of AmericansAE imagery, enabled a few disenfranchised musicians and dancers to fashion alternative identities through bold and idiosyncratic representations of Javanese music and dance. JavaphiliaAEs main subjectsuCanadian-born singer Eva Gauthier (1885u1958), dancer/painter Hubert Stowitts (1892u1953), ethnomusicologist Mantle Hood (1918u2005), and composer Lou Harrison (1917u2003)uall felt marginalized by the mainstream of Western society: Gauthier by her lukewarm reception as an operatic mezzo-soprano in Europe, Stowitts by his homosexuality, Hood by conflicting interests in spirituality and scientifi c method, and Harrison by his predilection for prettiness in a musical milieu that valued more anxious expressions. All four parlayed their own direct experiences of Java into a defining essence for their own characters. By identifying aspects of Javanese music anddance that were compatible with their own tendencies, these individuals could literally perform unconventionaluyet coherentuidentities based in Javanese music and dance. Although they purported to represent Java to their fellow North Americans, they were in fact simply representing themselves. In addition to probing the fascinating details of these javaphilesAE lives, Javaphilia presents a novel analysis of North AmericaAEs first significant encounters with Javanese performing arts at the 1893 WorldAEs Columbian Exposition in Chicago. An account of the First International Gamelan Festival, in Vancouver, BC (at Expo 86), almost a century later, bookends the epoch that is the focus of Javaphilia and sets the stage for a meditation on North AmericansAE ongoing relationships with the music and dance of Java.

(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 24 Jul 2015 16:16:17 -0400)

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