Beatboxing: All From The Mouth

“We are all aware that music and “atmosphere” go together. We might put on relaxing music for a quiet romantic dinner, but listen to something livelier while doing some physical work or exercise or when out socialising in larger groups” (1). The main aspects of music can be summed up as tempo, rhythm, pitch, melody, harmony, pattern recognition, culture aspects. When all these elements are combined together, it became an art piece.

One of the neurologists from Columbia University, Krakauer said that music has the ability to stimulate pleasure and reward areas like orbitofrontal cortex, which can be found directly behind one’s eyes, as well as a midbrain region called the ventral striatum (2). Besides that, music activates the cerebellum that falls under the base of the brain which is involved in the coordination and timing of movement. This explained a lot when we saw people grooving along and tapping their feet over the background music in the bar.

We all are familiar with DJs playing music for the crowds or musicians playing all kind of instruments to entertain the audiences. What if I tell you a beatboxer can make the crowds dance only with his or her mouth, lips, tongue and voice? And only two equipments are needed, which are a microphone and a decent sound system. Stop whatever you are doing right now and brace yourself for the finest beatboxer in the world – Reeps One from UK.

Basically, beatboxing is an artistic form of human sound production in which the vocal organs are used to imitate percussion instruments (3). When we talk about beatboxing, the first thing that came to the people’s mind is Hip Hop. There are five elements in the Hip Hop culture, MCing, DJing, Breaking, Graffiti and Beatboxing (4). Therefore, the fifth element of Hip Hop is beatboxing. Back to the early days, Rahzel, Dough E. Fresh, Kid Lucky, Michael Winslow, Biz Markie and Kenny Muhammad are the pioneers of beatboxing. They shaped the beatbox scene in United States in the 80’s as Hip-hop culture got huge.

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Kenny Muhammad’s showcase for R16 – An annual global b-boy tournament in Korea.

Things start to evolve from time to time, so as beatboxing. Beatboxing is no longer just about Hip Hop in nowadays. In Urban’s study, he said that a culture is restless like an itchy movement as the future is mysterious and unpredictable (5). New school beatboxers are exposed to all kind of music genres like Electro, Drum and Bass, Dubstep, Trap and even Jazz. Exactly like the routine we heard from above video that has Electro and Dubstep influences in it.

Other than music genres, from the cultural perspective, one who lives in a specific geographic region that speaks certain language will also be able to influence one’s beatboxing style. Based on an interview that carried out by Beatbox Battle TV, Skiller, the 2012 world beatbox champion title holder said that Bulgarian’s language is sharp and short which allowed him to develop extremely fast beats. With no doubt, he is known as one of the fastest beatboxers in the world.

The latest Beatbox Battle World Championship (BBWC) happened last year May and that was the fourth time since 2012. BBWC is the biggest day for every single beatboxer around the world. Not only it nominates the world champion but also celebrate the art form by gathering all beatboxers across the world in Berlin. More than 170 beatboxers from 46 countries, including USA, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa, Russia, South Korea and almost the entire European continent, will compete in four different categories: Men, Tag-Team, Female and Crew Battle. 1,500 spectators were expected to watch the BBWC live at the Astra Kulturhaus in Berlin’s nightlife district in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg. Live stream on Youtube have also attracted thousand of beatboxers who were watching it online.

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Beatboxers from all over the world gathered at the Generator Hotel in Berlin, Germany.

It is amazing to see everyone comes together as a family without speaking the same language yet still able to interact with each other just because we share the same passion. Reeps One, the 3 times UK Champion said beatboxers do not need to be able to speak English. When the other beatboxer heard you splitting beat, naturally he or she will come in and start jamming.

The positive vibe and sense of community is indescribable. Beatboxers from one country will always love to host another beatboxer from somewhere in their hometown. This gives us the opportunity to learn from each other in term of skill as well as get to know the local scene better. Last but not least, many still agree that beatboxing is still an underground scene. However, as time goes by, the art form will continue to grow intensively and all we need to do is wait for it.

References:

(1) Paterson, J., 2016.What is music? how it affects moods, emotions, creating atmosphere. [online] Mfiles.co.uk. Available from: http://www.mfiles.co.uk/what-is-music.htm [Accessed 27 Feb. 2016].

(2) Krakauer, J., 2016.Why do we like to dance–And move to the beat?. [online] Scientific American. Available from: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/experts-dance/ [Accessed 27 Feb. 2016].

(3) Proctor, M., Bresch, E., Byrd, D., Nayak, K. and Narayanan, S., 2013. Paralinguistic mechanisms of production in human “beatboxing”: A real-time magnetic resonance imaging study.The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 133 (2), 1043.

(4) Bobakova, D., 2013. Youth culture and problem behaviours in Slovakia: Hip-Hop, Techno-scene, Metal, Punk, Skinhead, and Roma.

(5) Urban, Greg. 2001. “The Once and Future Thing” Metaculture: How culture moves through the world. U of Minnesota Press. Available from: https://youthcultureandmedia.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/metaculture_how_culture_moves_through_the_world.pdf %5BAccessed 27 Feb. 2016]

Belly dancing has spread widely from Egypt to Western countries

Cowper (2011) defines Belly dancing as a symbol of iconic moves that have social recognition as indicative of the Middle Eastern and North African dance style. According to Urban (2001), cultures may change under the influence of attention-grabbing trends and people’s changing interests. Belly dancing was represented to the West by a group of Algerian dancers called Little Egypt, managed by Sol Bloom, who were taken to France and the Chicago World’s Columbian Exhibition in 1893.

Interestingly, cultural diffusion or sharing notions is a normal element of social experience among humans. Ultimately, there are two main reasons why belly dancing has been popularised: firstly, the dominance of new technology and, secondly, the increase in Western travellers to the Middle East (Lynn, 2010).

Subsequently, the belly dance reached an international level of popularity. This form of dance went by many names, including “danse du ventre”, Oriental dance. Belly dancing moved from the stage to film at the turn of the 20th century. Moreover, aspects of belly dancing, such as “snake arms”, tend to be a symbol of societal recognition in New Zealand and Australia (Cowper 2011).

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Nonetheless, some scholars have argued that only Arabian dancers are qualified and able to meaningfully perform belly dancing. A leading professional Egyptian singer Umm Kalthoum has supported this claim by commending the performance of the belly dancing star Tahiya Carioca due to the unique rhythm of Arabic music called “taqseem” which suits the hip swing of dancers. (Hammond, 2005).

It seems that belly dancing is a gendered activity that relates to women as it increases their empowerment and creates a platform for their marginalized voices which are silenced by men. In addition, several scholars have stated that male participation in belly dancing is severely limited as this dance is linked to feminism and female sexuality (Lynn, 2010; Keft-Kennedy 2005).

Belly dancing is a social and ritual dance in the Middle East, however, it has been criticized due to the poverty in Arab countries which forces women to display their bodies to earn money and feed their household.Despite the popularity of belly dancing in Arab countries, Muslim and Christian groups prohibit women from practicing the art of belly dancing as it is held to be against religious faith and worship (Lynn, 2010; Keft-Kennedy 2005).

At this juncture it is worth citing a quote by Einstein which may illustrate the profound meaning of dancing: “we dance for laughter, we dance for tears, we dance for madness, we dance for fears, we dance for hopes, we dance for screams, we are the dancers, we create the dreams”(2).

References:-

  1. Cowper, M., 2011. Negotiating discursive constructions of belly dancing in New Zealand and Australian dance communities. [Online], 1994. Available from:http://researchcommons.waikato.ac.nz/handle/10289/5610. [Accessed 21 Feb. 2016].
  2. Goodreads, 2016. A quote by Albert Einstein. [online] Goodreads. Available from: http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/97111-we-dance-for-laughter-we-dance-for-tears-we-dance [Accessed 19 May 2016].
  3. Hammond, A., 2005.Pop culture Arab world! Media, arts and lifestyle. 1st ed. California: Library of Congress cataloging, pp.235, 236, 237.
  4. Keft-Kennedy, V., 2005. Representing the belly-dancing body: feminism, orientalism, and the grotesque. PhD. University of Wollongong.
  5. Lynn, J., 2010. American Belly Dance and the Invention of the New Exotic: Orientalism, Feminism, and Popular Culture. MA. Portland State University.
  6. Urban, G., 2001.Metaculture: How culture moves through the world. 1st ed. [eBook] the USA: Minneapolis, MN, USA: University of Minnesota Press, p.16. Available from:https://youthcultureandmedia.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/metaculture_how_culture_moves_through_the_world.pdf[Accessed 21 Feb. 2016].

 

 

 

 

 

PYSHCEDELIC CULTURE: The Mind Blowing Experience

In the eye of the mainstream media, psychedelia will be labeled as a bunch of drug-takers. In Hebdige’s book (1979) he said that “The labeling process is here described in terms of the media’s selection and presentation of news on various group, such as gays, alcoholics, the mentally ill, political deviants, drug-takers, etc (1).” However, for this subculture community, it is a mind blowing experience.

A psychedelic experience is a journey to new realms of consciousness. The experience is limitless and its characteristic features include transcendence of verbal concepts, of space-time dimensions, and of the ego or identity (2). The term “psychedelic” is derived from the Ancient Greek words psykhe“mind” and deloun “make visible, reveal”, this simply means mind revealing.

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Magic Mushroom, the most common used psychedelic drug which can be legally purchased in Amsterdam Coffeshop.

Among the psychedelia community, some other psychedelic drugs which are widely consumed include LSD, mescaline, salvia, cannabis and DMT. All these substances are psychoactive drugs which trigger hallucination. The motive behind consuming these substances is all depends on the users. It could be simply just for fun or out of curiosity, as well as for spiritual, meditation and religious ritual (3). Consuming psychedelic drugs can induce non-ordinary forms of consciousness such as trance, dreaming and even near death experience. Apparently, these drugs have been used by humans for tens of thousands of years.

In this modern era, things have evolved quickly and eventually party has become a trend. There are plenty of events were organized out of this psychedelic subculture. Open your mind and eyes. Let’s enjoy watching the following video.

From the video, there are some psychedelic characteristics which can be identified. For example, the set up of the stage, props and production. Basically, all of those features help to enhance the trippin experience especially for those who are on drugs. The background music of the video and the music that played by the DJ is known as psychedelic trance also known as Psytrance. Psytrance is a genre of electronic dance music characterized by arrangements of synthetic rhythms and layered melodies created by high tempo (4).

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Tree of Life Festival’s lighting effect.

More information about the event can be found from this link:

http://festival.electreelife.com/

Last but not least, everyone has their own perception and judgment towards drugs. Unfortunately, most of the time people only look at the negative effects and consequences of it rather than having an in depth look and understanding into the culture itself. Whether you agree or disagree, this subculture is still moving and definitely growing from time to time under the shades of the society.

 

References:

(1) Hebdige, D., 1979.Subculture: The Meaning of Style [online], 179. London: Methuen. Available from: http://www.erikclabaugh.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/181899847-Subculture.pdf

(2) Leary, T., Metzner, R. and Alpert, R., 1964. The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of Dead [online]. USA: Citadel Press Inc. Available from: http://www.holybooks.com/wp-content/uploads/Timothy-Leary-The-Psychedelic-Experience-The-Tibetan-Book-Of-The-Dead.pdf

(3) Hofmann, A., Ratsch, C. and Schultes, R. E., 1992. Plants of the Gods [online]. USA: Healing Arts Press. Available from: http://satdude.com/4don/ebooks/LSD%20&%20Psychedelics%20Essential%20Books/Schultes,Hofmann%20-%20Plants%20of%20the%20Gods%20(Healing%20Arts,%202001).pdf

(4) John, G. S., 2010. The Local Scenes and Global Culture of Psytrance [online]. United Kingdom: Routledge. Available from: http://samples.sainsburysebooks.co.uk/9781136944345_sample_860577.pdf

 

A brief introduction about bohemianism and its influence on popular fashion

In essence, bohemianism is an unconventional lifestyle in Western societies widely identified with rebellion, ultimate freedom and artistic pursuits. A large number of people engaging with this practice are painters, writers, musicians, actors and other types of artists (1). Rejecting bourgeois values, a bohemian willingly leads a nomadic carefree life, which is of little material attachment, and adopts amoral attitudes towards love and sex (1). Regarding their nature of discarding conventional social viewpoints, Nicholson made a remark: “The bohemian is an outsider, defines themselves as an outsider and is defined by the world as an outsider…” (2).

 Originally, the word “bohemian”, or “bohemien” in French, is rooted in Bohemia, a Czech region where many of its inhabitants are Gypsies (3), therefore traditionally in French, a gypsy was called bohemien (1). However, by the mid-1800s, the term started to be used by a few French authors to refer to “one who lives a vagabond, unregimented life without assured resources, who does not worry about tomorrow” (4). Later, in 1951, “bohemien”, with its new sense, came into use widely as a result of the popularity of the play “La Vie de Boheme” (4).

The first bohemian communities were significantly made up of Parisian middle class youths who sought after a life abundant with the joy of autonomy, freedom and artistic creation. They associated bohemianism with “prolonged adolescence”, where they tried a counter-culture of rejecting materialistic values before an eventual return to their bourgeois society. Later, bohemianism began to attract working class people, and their participation in the bohemian subculture brought about the aspect of real poverty (4).

Until now, bohemian clothing has been generally related as outmoded, worn out and sometimes eccentric. Here, individual artistic selves are displayed not only in the lifestyle but also in ways of dressing (5). In the modern world, bohemian dressing styles have remarkably influenced on worldwide mainstream fashion (3). A number of popular elements of bohemian-inspired fashion style (or in other words, Boho chic) include “loose, flowing clothing made of natural fabrics”, “a general disregard for tidiness and uniformity of dress”, tribal, floral or geometric patterns, restrictive accessories of ethnic designs, long loose messy hair with a range of head bands (5).

In conclusion, bohemianism as a counter-culture insists on a freestyle life basically characterised by few permanent ties, open relationships, expression of identity, appreciation and creation of art. In the aspect of fashion alone, dressing Boho chic offers followers numerous occasions to play with their creative mind and to highlight their uniqueness. Whether it is indulging in bohemianism or merely putting on Boho chic outfits, the spirit has been a great source of inspiration for many young people in the world.


References

(1) Subculture List, 2016. Bohemianism [online]. Available from: http://subcultureslist.com/bohemianism/ [Accessed 19 February 2016]

(2) Walker, A., 2011. What is bohemian? BBC News [online], 11 March 2011. Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-12711181 [Accessed 19 February 2016]

(3) Grimwood, J., 2015. Bohemianism: A British Subculture. Impact [online], 28 September 2015. Available from: http://www.impactnottingham.com/2015/09/bohemianism-a-british-subculture/ [Accessed 19 February 2016]

(4) Mount Holyoke College, 2016. Bohemianism and Counter-Culture [online]. South Hadley. Available from: https://www.mtholyoke.edu/courses/rschwart/hist255-s01/boheme/lifestyle.html [Accessed 19 February 2016].

(5) HubPages, 2015. Boho – Fashion History and Bohemian Style. HubPages [online]. 12 August 2015. Available from: http://hubpages.com/style/BohoTheFashionHistoryofBohemianClothes [Accessed 19 February 2016].

Selfies, from politicians and celebrities to subculture

We are living in an era where technology has become dominant. Therefore, this technological element could be responsible for the emergence of several phenomena that have begun to shape different cultures and civilisations. In other word, it creates a so-called subculture. One new development has been the emergence of the selfie. According to (4)Murray (2015 p.491) “the term of Selfie has been illustrated in the Oxford dictionary as the photograph taking by single person for himself and post it on social media”. Nevertheless, the first official use of the word emersion of this world was on the Australian online forum in 2002(5)(Philpot 2016).History of the selfie

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Although today, selfies seem like a modern phenomenon, back in 1839, daguerreotype pioneer Robert Cornelius took a photo for himself. Yet it is not clear whether this can be considered a selfie or not if he had assistance when he took it(1) (Borreli2015). Furthermore, when US President Barack Obama took a selfie, he sparked off a debate about whether he was acting in an offhand and narcissistic manner Selfie Addiction. Despite this debate, the incidence of selfies is growing(4)(Murray 2015). (2)Hebdige (1979) states that the hegemony and potential from President Obama has contributed to turning the selfie into a subculture and circulating this culture among adolescents. A case in point: celebrities tend to capture many shots of themselves to share with their fans. For instance, the pop star Justin Bieber frequently publishes selfies in different situations via his social media accounts. In this way, he shares his private life with fans(3)(Mirror 2014).

Moreover, the hegemony of celebrities and political figures has spread the selfie culture. (7)Urban (2001) states that mechanical reproduction of social media seems to make cultural movements. Social media was invented for specific purposes. For example, Facebook was originally set up to aid university students in their work. Alternatively, the prevalent utilisation of social media primarily to share selfies and pictures of daily life with their families and friends. however ,people seem to be addicted in taking selfie and share it via social media Which could be appear from statistic by TNG website the number of selfies on the social media has approximately arrived million selfies   with 48% of selfies are shared on Facebook, and 27% of WhatsApp. Australia is the most popular country for taking selfies based on a survey conducted in 2013 on respondents aged between18-35 (6)(Šuk2014). Further statistics

To conclude, selfies are a subculture that are gaining in popularity globally. Hegemony and mechanical reproduction drive the selfie subculture, along with the effect from celebrities and famous people who share their life moments with their fans through social media.

References :

(1)Borreli, L., 2015. What Makes A Selfie Addict?. [online] Medical Daily. Available from: http://www.medicaldaily.com/selfie-addiction-people-who-post-self-potraits-social-media-are-extroverted-social-361504 [Accessed 22 Feb. 2016].

(2)Hebdige, D., 1979. Subculture The Meaning of Style (New Accents). 1st ed. [ebook] Routledge. Available from: http://www.erikclabaugh.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/181899847-Subculture.pdf [Accessed 22 Feb. 2016].

(3)Mirror, 2014. Justin Bieber shocks fans with naked selfie after studio session with rumoured love interest. [online] Celebrity News. Available from: http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/justin-bieber-shocks-fans-naked-3792883 [Accessed 1 May 2016].

(4)Murray, D., 2015. Notes to self: the visual culture of selfies in the age of social media. Consumption Markets & Culture, 18 (6), 490-516.

(5)Philpot, J., 2016. The ‘Selfie Subculture’ And ‘Selfie-Righteousness’ (Even Though No One Is ‘Unique’). [Blog] LutheranLayman. Available from: http://www.lutheranlayman.com/2014/03/the-selfie-subculture-and-selfie.html [Accessed 22 Feb. 2016].

(6)Šuk, T., 2014. Selfie Infographic – “Selfiegraphic” Facts and Statistics. [online] Infographic Design & Data Visualization. Available from: http://techinfographics.com/selfie-infographic-selfiegraphic-facts-and-statistics/ [Accessed 22 Feb. 2016].

(7)Urban, G., 2001. The Once and Future Thing” Metaculture: How culture moves through the world. 1st ed. [ebook] U of Minnesota Press, pp.pp.1-40. Available from: https://youthcultureandmedia.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/metaculture_how_culture_moves_through_the_world.pdf [Accessed 21 Feb. 2016].

 

 

Cosplay: Stigmas and Stereotypes

“Cosplay” – a combined term of “costume” and “play” – describes the subculturist activities of people constructing costumes and props and dressing up as fictional characters from comics, graphic novels, video games, music groups or other science fiction media productions (1). Though coined by a Japanese journalist in 1984, the act is reported to have been practiced by science fiction fans since 1939, all beginning at the first World Science Fiction Convention in New York (1).

 Motivations to cosplay vary from one individual to another. It could be the need for self-expression through photo shoots and performances; the pleasure that comes with fulfilling their dreams of playing their favourite characters; the confidence acquired through transforming into a fantasied person or simply the chance to social bonding (2).

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Cosplay by Tasha on Pinterest

However, like other subcultures, cosplaying is not free from stigmas and stereotypes that are passed off by the media. In an analysis of press and academic content by Lotecki (2012), cosplayers are dismissed as “unhip”, “juvenile”, “obsessive”, “deviant” or most commonly “nerds” (p.22). In recent news articles about Comic Cons in the UAE and India in 2012 and 2015 respectively, this subculturist practitioners are labeled “geeks” – socially awkward persons who do not fit in, according to Merriam-Webster dictionary. An article from The Daily Mail in 2015 was bashed by the cosplay communities for publicly making fun of females in their Wonder Women costumes.

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Females in Wonder Women costumes on The Daily Mail (2015)

Moreover, criticisms against cosplay point to the sexual undertones due to the choice of characters. Some assert that the authenticity of cosplay culture is lost when women cosplayers are not really fans but try to sexualize themselves. Besides, this subculture is criticized for being expensive and meaningless, and that cosplay is actually abbreviated for “cost” and “play” (2).

The reason for this stigma comes from the hegemony in society (3), meaning the act of cosplaying is positioned as a deviancy that opposes the socially normative patterns of behavior (4). As explained by Hebdige (1979) (3), the challenge to the dominant group comes from the signs (i.e. the costumes) exerted by subordinate groups that “go against nature” and “lie outside history” (p.17). Furthermore, the mass media that disseminate ideas in one society tend to present information in the interests of the dominant group, explaining why cosplay is placed unfavorably.

To conclude, even though cosplayers view their involvement in the subculture as a meaningful endeavor, this symbolic violation of social order will continue to provoke censure amongst the society leaders.

References:

(1) Lotecki, A., 2012. Cosplay Culture: The Development of Interactive and Living Art through Play [online]. Thesis (MA). Ryerson University.

(2) Rahman, O., Wing-Sun, L. and Cheung, B., 2012. “Cosplay”: Imaginative Self and Performing Identity, Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body and Culture [online], 16 (3), 317-341.

(3) Hebdige, D., 1979. Subculture: The Meaning of Style [online]. London: Methuen.

(4) Gn, J., 2011. Queer simulation: The practice, performance and pleasure of cosplay. Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies [online], 25 (4), 583–593.