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Rripangu Yirdaki: Negotiating musical identities in a northeast Arnhem Land tourism business

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Title: Rripangu Yirdaki: Negotiating musical identities in a northeast Arnhem Land tourism business
Author(s): Clark, Philip A.
Advisor(s): Solis, Gabriel
Department / Program: Music
Discipline: Music
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: M.Mus.
Genre: Thesis
Subject(s): didjeridu didgeridoo music identity tourism ecotourism Aboriginal Australia
Abstract: Rripaŋu Yidaki is a grassroots tourism business, dedicated to the craft and study of the didjeridu, initiated, owned, and maintained by one Aboriginal family in the far north of Australia. Because of their work as Aboriginal musicians in the tourism industry, members of the Gurruwiwi family are identified, and sometimes self-identify, with common perceptions of Aboriginal enterprises as being “authentic,” “indigenous,” and “ecological.” These perceptions and self-identifications are important parts of the Gurruwiwis’ musical identity, which like all identities is composite and situationally-contingent, meaning that particular aspects of this musical identity are highlighted or become salient in particular situations. The tourist encounter is one such situation, particularly noteworthy in that it is rife with tensions between tourists’ preconceptions and the self-representations of host societies. In the case of Rripaŋu Yidaki the tensions between preconceptions and self-representations of the “authentic,” the “indigenous,” and the “ecological” produce consequences that directly impact the sustainability of both the Gurruwiwi family’s business and the long-standing musical practices upon which it is based. The more negative of these consequences could be mitigated somewhat by increased scholarly participation in developing resources for and actively facilitating a more informed, transparent, and comprehensible kind of musical tourism.
Issue Date: 2011-05-25
Rights Information: Copyright 2011 Philip Clark
Date Available in IDEALS: 2011-05-25
Date Deposited: 2011-05

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