TALK: Becoming Animal: Prophecy and Bestial Mimesis in the 1950's Rockabilly, R&B and Country Music, Dick Hebdige (UCSB)

Event Date: 

Wednesday, April 9, 2003 - 3:00pm

Event Location: 

  • UCSB Music Building Room 1145

Event Price: 

Free Admission

Using audio, video clips and slides this talk considers the role and significance of animal references and animal impersonation in early 20th century burlesque, 1970's punk and most especially 1950's country, country boogie, r&b and rockabilly recordings in the light of Jacques Attali's suggestion that "music is prophetic noise." Country and rockabilly are interpreted as linked yet distinctive, regional mid-century examples of 'vernacular modernism' that bring together black and white musical and cultural traditions at a particularly explosive time in the history of U.S race relations, immediately prior to the rise of the civil rights movement. In what ways might the coming confrontation over race/with segregation be audibly prefigured in the 'wild' sound of rockabilly and what exactly, in the end, is prophetic discourse?