The fundamental question that I attempt to address in my practice-led research in composition is related to the status of creation and innovation in musical syntheses involving the musical heritage of world’s cultures.
In my current research, I focus on the fascinating diversity of Pacific Islands cultures, and specifically on the musical heritage in French Polynesia.
Understood within a post-colonial paradigm, the situation in the Pacific Islands region today reveals the contrasting effects of intensifying globalization processes that have complicated the relationships between Western music and other musical traditions. Scholars have examined in detail such concepts as tradition, innovation, authenticity, and indigenous culture. Today they tend to privilege an approach based on social action in order to understand modernity and manage the fluid boundaries of societies. In this light, processes of cultural revival through engagement with an indigenous community have in general been interpreted as a viable response to perceptions of culture loss.
Through my research, I contend that the creative exploration of musical syntheses might represent an effective alternative or at least additional approach to be considered. In allowing aspects or elements of Tahitian music to be transmitted by way of a repository of global intangible culture, it enacts a proactive and cosmopolitanist response to perceptions of out-of-control globalization processes.
Following James Clifford’s approach to ethnography, the fieldwork-informed musical fictions presented here demonstrate the possibilities of new aesthetics for the development of Tahitian musical tradition.