Heritage and the Politics of Culture
Since the late 1980s, Khakas folk musicians are reshaping their sonic performing traditions, redefining a post-Soviet indigenous musical culture. The sudden freedom to relatively autonomously shape their own music and to establish artistic relationships with musical cultures and musicians of their liking not only led to a multitude of innovative approaches to Khakas folk music and dance, but also caused significant shifts in artistic exchange. In this re-localisation process, musicians have been de-Russifying and de-Sovietising the musical repertoires, selectively erasing influences from European art music introduced in the Soviet period, and borrowing from global popular music styles and more and less related Turkic and Mongolian performance traditions. Also, from the mid 200s mobility increased, due to improved living conditions and increased accessibility of new technology and the Internet. Musicians from the Sayan-Altai region started frequenting one another’s region, sometimes collaborating in joint projects, and musicians from Central-Asia incidentally came in for a performance, consultancy, or musical instrument. With such intercultural exchanges, Khakas musicians and their fellows are not only creating new musical legacies for future generations, they are also expressing longstanding cultural affinities and establishing new artistic alliances. Thus they cause a shift in musical geography, away from the older hegemonic cultural centres (Russia and “The West”) towards a new, Inner Asian, cultural centre along regional and transnational ethnic lines (Sayan-Altaian Turkic with spurs to north-eastern Central-Asia and Mongolia).
Who borrows from whom, who performs with whom, and what cultural centres of gravity are emerging?