Mapping London Through Song: Geographies of Popular Music And Transculturalism
This presentation sketches approaches the musical mapping of London – as undertaken in many “best of”-lists from a transcultural perspective. Reflecting on the concept of transculturalism and the method of Cultural Mapping, the presentation starts out from a macro-perspective by mapping the songs that have been related to London in popular music. As becomes apparent here, mainstream music lists represent and contribute to the implementation of iconic London locations. Yet, as a comparison of songs related to one central reference location, such as “London Bridge”, illustrates, related attributions vary strongly, hereby representing different mappings of London. At the same time, these popular lists contrast the musical network of communities so varied and complex as London, hereby often excluding repertoires that actually address transcultural identities in a context of thick globalization and modern digitalization.
Britta Sweers is Professor of Cultural Anthropology of Music at the Institute of Musicology and was Director of the Center for Global Studies (2015-2019) at the University of Bern (Switzerland). Having studied at Hamburg University and Indiana University, she was Junior Professor at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Rostock (Germany) 2003 to 2009. Major publications include Electric Folk: The Changing Face of English Traditional Music (2005), Music, Climate Change, and the North (editor, 2019), and Cultural Mapping and Musical Diversity (co-editor; 2020). She is also co-editor of the Equinox book series Transcultural Music Studies.