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Lullabies: Historic and cultural circulations, transmission of the intimate

Berceuses : circulations historiques et culturelles, transmissions de l’intime

Textes et contextes (vol. 18.1, 2023)

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Published on Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Abstract

This issue of Textes et contextes (vol. 18.1) aims to bring together contributions from musicologists, historians, anthropologists, ethnologists and ethnomusicologists, sociologists, specialists of literature, linguists, and therapists. The purpose of the issue is to question what lullabies reveal about the histories, movements, and transmission of the intimate in different cultures and peoples, from a transhistorical and transdisciplinary perspective.

Announcement

Guest Editors

  • Élise Petit, université Grenoble-Alpes
  • Anne Cayuela, université Grenoble-Alpes

Argument

This issue of Textes et Contextes (vol. 18.1) aims to bring together contributions from musicologists, historians, anthropologists, ethnologists and ethnomusicologists, sociologists, specialists of literature, linguists, and therapists. The purpose of the issue is to question what lullabies reveal about the histories, movements, and transmission of the intimate in different cultures and peoples, from a transhistorical and transdisciplinary perspective. What do lullabies teach us about the sometimes partial or fragmentary history of circulations and migrations? What is the importance of these repertoires in the oral transmission of the history of peoples? Is there a “cathartic” function of lullabies dealing with traumatic episodes? What are the extra-musical stakes for the performer, often female?

Proposals for articles should fall within one of the following areas:

A. Circulations and cultural transfers

This area will favor communications that deal with cultural transfers of all periods or that trace the evolution of the repertoire of lullabies within a given population over time.

As the example of the origin of the Spanish word for lullaby shows – “Nana, nanita”, beginning the song, derives from “nám, nám, nám” signifying “sleep, sleep, sleep” in Arabic. The repertoire of lullabies is rich in information on the circulation of populations over the centuries, in this example the migration of nomadic populations from the East to the West, the Arab domination followed by the expulsion of the Moriscos in 1609 in the Hispanic sphere, and the forced uprooting of populations reduced to slavery. All of these are found in the aesthetic evolution of lullabies from different geographical spheres. Some musical styles related to the lullaby, such as the nana of the flamenco, show a musical syncretism that calls for a targeted analysis.

B. The transmission of the intimate, gender and lullabies

Throughout the centuries, many lullabies have been used to transmit traumatic memories linked to conflicts or persecutions of a political, racial, or religious nature: the famous "Cossack lullaby" collected in the 19th century, the Yiddish or Sephardic lullabies1 commemorating pogroms or the exile of Jewish populations, the gypsy lullabies evoking the fate of marginalized populations, the lullabies composed in concentration camps or those of Atahualpa Yupanqui, imprisoned under the regime of Juan Perón, are some examples. Beyond the memorial and testimonial aspect of this repertoire, which addresses a political, religious, or cultural community, its challenge and interest also lays in what it says about individual destinies. The study of these repertoires also questions the initiatory aspect of songs whose violent text or unexpected character contrast strikingly with their musical aesthetic2.

The transmission of the intimate is also that of the interpreter, most often female; if the first objective of the lullaby remains to help a child sleep, some collected lullabies evoke the child itself as a burden, and a number of them attack an absent father, sometimes virulently. Thus, the lullaby is a form of release that allows for the expression of an unease which again contradicts the aesthetic of the musical genre. Would the issues of appeasement apply primarily to the mother herself? Doesn't the lullaby of oral tradition finally offer a new space of freedom for the creative interpreter, who sings for a child whom she assumes does not understand the meaning of her recriminations?

The question of genders that intersect in the lullaby also calls into question the "art song" lullabies, destined to be performed in the context of a concert or outside of any functional framework, which have often been the work of male composers, whereas the interpreter is most often female, and often addresses a boy. Does the performative dimension of the lullaby intended for the concert constitute a form of "staging of the intimate", or does it make it impossible for this very reason? Does the gender of the composer affect the lyrics, and to what extent? Is there a noticeable difference in lyrics, whether the child addressed is a girl or a boy? Is there a body of lullabies intended to be sung by men?

Submission guidelines

Proposals for papers, in French, English or Spanish, should include an abstract of approximately 800 words and a proposed outline of the paper. A short biographical sketch and a recent publication should be included with the proposal.

All documents should be sent to Élise Petit (elise.petit@univ-grenoble-alpes.fr) and Anne Cayuela (anne.cayuela@univ-grenoble-alpes.fr) before May 6th, 2022.

Successful applicants will be notified in late May 2022. Papers will be due by October 7th 2022.

Note

1 Sami Sadak, «Transculturalité et identité musicale dans les répertoires judéo-espagnols», Cahiers d’ethnomusicologie, 2007, Vol. 20, p. 229-242.2 Mukaddas Mijit, « Elley Balam : Une berceuse ouïghoure sur scène », Cahiers d’ethnomusicologie, 2018, Vol. 31, p. 241-248.


Date(s)

  • Friday, May 06, 2022

Keywords

  • berceuse, chant, musique, ethnomusicologie, musicologie, littérature

Contact(s)

  • Elise Petit
    courriel : elise [dot] petit [at] univ-grenoble-alpes [dot] fr
  • Anne Cayuela
    courriel : anne [dot] cayuela [at] univ-grenoble-alpes [dot] fr

Information source

  • Anne Cayuela
    courriel : anne [dot] cayuela [at] univ-grenoble-alpes [dot] fr

License

CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Lullabies: Historic and cultural circulations, transmission of the intimate », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, February 22, 2022, https://doi.org/10.58079/18aw

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