The Dance No 3
  • The Dance No 3
  • Laraaji
  • Ambient 3: Day Of Radiance

Turn Back Tuesday

Every Tuesday, I’ll highlight a track that was released before the advent of Tumblr. Each track is chosen both for its influence and worthiness for additional exposure.

Laraaji - The Dance No. 3

I recently had an argument with a friend about a song that he didn’t particularly like. I asked him what he didn’t like about it; he claimed it was too repetitive, that it did the same thing over and over. While I personally wasn’t a fan of the song either, I believe he missed the point of the song; it wasn’t repetitive because it lacked creativity, but because it was aiming to be hypnotic for the listener. Figuring out what an artist is trying to do is the first step in understanding art.

This argument made me think of this week’s track, Laraaji’s “The Dance No. 3”. A listener could easily say they don’t the track because it’s “repetitive”; however, such an position doesn’t really acknowledge what  Laraaji is aiming for here. With immaculate production from Brian Eno, “The Dance No. 3” transports the listener into a different mindset, one of introspection and study. Laraaji makes music that you can either think to or zone out to, and both modes help us become better human beings if done correctly. Take a listen to “The Dance No. 3” here and then choose your own adventure.

What does it mean to be authentically Cajun?

By Lisa Wade, PhD

The term “Cajun” refers to a group of people who settled in Southern Louisiana after being exiled from Acadia (now Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island) in the mid 1700s.  For a very long time, being Cajun meant living, humbly, off the land and bayou (small-scale agriculture, hunting, fishing, and trapping).  Unique cuisine and music developed among these communities.

In Blue Collar Bayou, Jaques Henry and Carl Bankston III explain that today more than 70% live in urban areas and most work in blue collar jobs in service industries, factories, or the oil industry. “Like other working-class and middle-class Americans,’ they write, “the Southwestern Louisianan of today is much more likely to buy dinner at the Super Kmart than to trap it in the bayou” (p. 188).

But they don’t argue that young Cajuns who live urban lifestyles and work in factories are no longer authentically Cajun.  Instead, they suggest that the whole notion of ethnic authenticity is dependent on economic change.

When our economy was a production economy (that is, who you are is what you make), it made sense that Cajun-ness was linked to how one made a living.  But, today, in a consumption economy (when our identities are tied up with what we buy), it makes sense that Cajun-ness involves consumption of products like food and music.

Of course, commodifying Cajun-ness (making it something that you can buy) means that, now, anyone can purchase and consume it.  Henry and Bankston see this more as a paradox than a problem, arguing that the objectification and marketing of “Cajun” certainly makes it sellable to non-Cajuns, but does not take away from its meaningfulness to Cajuns themselves.  Tourism, they argue, “encourages Cajuns to act out their culture both for commercial gain and cultural preservation” (p. 187).

Photos borrowed from GQEW, and My New Orleans.  Originally posted in 2009.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.