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Creative Insights into a Planet's Cultural Diversity
Léonie E. Naylor & Michael L. Naylor, Authors

Unit Text and Music Samples

The following samples from OUR MUSICAL WORLD include: the Contents, a Preface and text summary, a Listing of CD Musical examples, and a brief Synopsis, a 4-5 page sample (PDF), and one Musical Example from each Unit.

All unit samples are in PDF format.
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Table of Contents
Preface: Authors Bio and Project scope
CD Contents and Artist List

Units and Topics addressed:

NOTE: Each Unit will be available in individual booklet form with CD and accessories in 2009.

Units I & II (Book 1)
Introduction / Human Universals

In addition to setting the groundwork for all the other Units, establishing basic perimeters for seeing all art and music as expressive of human values, and understanding the possible applications of each unit to our lives, we will explore how we arrive at our tastes and distastes for all things (music inclusive) over the course of the life-cycle. We will examine the influences of families, cultures, and subcultures on our values, the impact of media on our perceptions, and explore the universals of the human condition in attempting to de-mystify the individual experience from that which is simply human. This Unit is a recommended pre-requisite reading for all the other Units as it establishes both the basics of multi-cultural perception, artistic composition, and listening skills. The interdisciplinary focus of each Unit facilitates the inter-connection of each culture’s values and beliefs to their art, architecture, dance, music, literature . . . and to the reader’s own life.

Music Sample: "Tsukuyomi," from the CD: Karasu Randa, by Karasu Randa, c. 2004, Mie, Japan.

Unit III (Book 2)
Native America: The Spirit in Symbolism

Through the samples of commentary, art, and music from Native American cultures, we will examine the importance of seeing, understanding, and "de-coding" cultural symbolism. We will especially look into some of the stronger and most prevalent symbols and cultural expressions in Native cultures (i.e. the circle, Powwow, the drum, etc.) and examine in what ways these may contrast and potentially balance Western beliefs and symbols. We will focus on examining the friction between the worlds of the rectangle and that of the circle and how it might provide alternatives to pervasive practices in the perception of value, in discourse (on challenging subjects), and in conflict resolution. We will also look to improve our depth of listening and our trust in intuitive perception, as well as increase the integrity and depth of our perception of "Native American" diversity and the concept of "cultural balancing."

Music Sample: "Grand Entry," by Jeremy "Worm" Dearly, Jr. from the CD: Midnite Express: Live in Cali, c. 2005, Midnite Express Productions. Contact: midniteexpress@msn.com

Unit IV (Book 3)
Africa America: Tales and Visions of a Racial Legacy

Through the stories, commentary, art, and music by Blues, Spirituals, Capoeira, Calypso, and Hip-Hop artists, we will examine the influence and confront the impact of barriers and biases. Particularly, as concerns culture biases and racism… we will examine possible preconceived historical basis for the development of biases and how they can be recognized and overcome. Specifically, we will analyze how our African Diaspora cultures creatively survived (and continue to survive) the impact of culture biases, developed signified or encoded meaning, and used music to survive the impact of racism. The global impact of the music and culture of the African Diaspora cannot be overestimated. Today, virtually every culture in the world benefits from the music and cultural expressions born from the sacrifices of these culture groups. This Unit seeks to create a balance between a painstaking look at the evolution of cultural and racial biases, privileges, and the magnificent outcome or gift to humanity born from the simultaneously turbulent history and creative history of these cultures.

Music Sample: Freedom," conducted by Dr. Augustus Hill with the Brazeal Dennard Community Chorus, from the CD: Spring Concert, 2003, c. 2003.

Unit V (Book 4)
The Middle East (and Southern Asia): Religion and Music

The samples of commentary, art, and music in this Unit will give us a glimpse of the influence of the universally human qualities of seeking "purpose" in life (most often embodied through our world’s religions); of communicating and mis-communicating or stereotyping our perceptions of "religion" (re-defined as seeking a "re-connection"), also the basis for many of our world’s greatest conflicts; and will provide a brief visit to our world’s most influential religions, with special emphasis on Islam and the cultures/art of the Middle East. We will, for example, show how "chant" or religious cantillation (chant) has influenced all music, explore some of the similarities and differences of our world’s religions, look more deeply into Islam, and explore some of the more helpful paradigm by which we may maintain our beliefs but still "respect" (not merely tolerate) the beliefs of others. Through the poetry, music, and art of Middle Eastern and North African cultures we will explore some of the more powerful and impactful aspects of these cultures and their influence on Western cultures as well. Finally, we will also take a few side-trips into understanding "counter-culture" movements, the potential role of education in decreasing human stereotyping, and the manner by which science and education can be balanced by religion (as distinct from "church" and state).

Music Sample: "Madh" (Praise Song), from the Orchestra Chabab al Andalouss, from the CD: Musique Arabo Andalouse Du Maroc, c. 2004.

Unit VI (Book 5)
Europe: The Impact of Ancestry and Imperialism

What is the practical value of learning or personalizing history and especially as relates to the appreciation of "ancestry"? In this Unit we will explore how "our" European ancestors have directly influenced ourselves, our values, and those of many of today’s institutions and accepted traditions. We will also be exposed to a synopsis/chronology of European "art" or art ("classical") music, seek to understand the ebb and flow of order and drama (classical and romantic) created by imperialism, nationalism, and intra-cultural exchange, and the relationship of some of the most prevalent events and values of each age upon us, our music, and modern-day values. Additionally, we will look at the evolution of imperialism and the impact in classifying cultures by "nation" (nationality) over time. We will further examine the role these paradigms play in cultural imperialism and its impact on our world and values today. Moreover, we will get an in-depth glimpse into a few of the European masters: Monteverdi, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Verdi, and to programmatic music, including the music in today’s films.

Music Sample: "Cantate Domine," by Claudio Monteverdi, from the CD: Glory to God, by the Wayne State Concert Chorale, Dennis Tini, conductor, c. 1998.

Unit VII (Book 6)
Jewish and Romani: Stories of Creativity and Influence

Who determines what or who is included in our historical documentation and subsequent presentation of "history"? In Europe, there are two groups: the Jewish and Romani ("Gypsy") communities that, owing to centuries of repression, minority status, and migration, have used music, dance, and various related forms of creativity (i.e. making of musical instruments, storytelling, etc.) as essential expressive means for healing, community building, and enjoyment. Despite having enormous impact on the "art" (classical) and folk music of Europe, as well as many other areas of Euro/Euro-American distinction (i.e. banking/economics, the movie industry, etc), these groups are strikingly underexposed in most approaches to education for their creative impact on our world today. This Unit will also examine the relevance and irrelevance of "nationality" as a cultural identifier, the influence of Ancient Greek culture, the trans-continental community (diasporas), as well as the manner by which both Jewish, Romani, and non-Jewish/Romani communities have interacted and exchanged traditions cross/(intra)-culturally.

Music Sample: "Trec Tiganii," by Taraful din Baia, from the CD: Gypsies of Romania, c. 2000, Arc Music International

Unit VIII (Book 7)
Africa and Latin America: Rites, Rituals, and Community Life

Close-knit community life is perhaps one of the most essential joys and most prolific sources of comfort across the human experience and life cycle. But how (or in what manner) does a community solidify the closeness of their members? And where on this planet, can we find some of the most profound models of "community life"? By journeying to Africa and Pan-Latino cultures (Caribbean, Central America, and South America), we will uncover some of the most vibrant music and dance traditions and the manner by which these expressions mark and enhance the life cycle and the quality of community life. What is also critical to the life-journey, is that creating vibrant or close extended families or communities, since time memorial, has been the primary source from which the majority of the world’s most vibrant expressions are spawned, and by which most of us will eventually achieve our highest personal fulfillment as well. This Unit will address the West African Djaly (Griot), Highlife (Afro-beat/pop), politics and the media influence on the perception of "Africa," the diversity and similarities across our Pan-Latino cultures, and hospitality, fluidity, and creativity modeled in our Latino cultures.

Music Sample: "Cumbia Cienagüera," by Istvan Dely & Millero Congo, from the CD: Millero Congo, c. 1996, Insignia Records, Contact: www.insigniarecords.com.

Unit IX (Book 8)
Asia: Seeking Balance (and Healing) Through Music

Although we know that human health is contingent upon the balancing of the physical, mental, emotional, and what many term – spiritual – aspects of the human condition – under all these, are the cultural values and history, which shape how we live. Throughout the vast histories of Asian cultures, lie central themes of fostering "balance" that are as indigenous to Hinduism, Buddhism, and most other Asian philosophies, as they are prominent in Asian art, dance, music, and storytelling. Through a sampling of musical storytelling genres from India, China, Korea, Japan, and Indonesia, we will address the manner by which generations of Asian cultures have advocated "balance," as well as by which Western cultures might consider creating a more intuitive and life-enhancing balance to their own emphasis on material and economic values. We will examine the unique characteristics of Indian Raags, Chinese Opera, Japanese Kabuki, Korean Pansori, and Indonesian Gamelan and their influence on the creativity of some of today’s artists.

Music Samples: "Song by Saint Eknath," by Mrinalini Arkatkar, tabla by Shyam Kani from the CD: For Saint Eknath, c. 2005.

Unit X (Book 9)
Creolization: Creating Community Beyond Race and Nation

As a summary, we will look at the phenomenon of creolization, or creative cultural fusion, in American jazz and popular music as it is embodied in the cultural dynamics and music of much of the world today. In this book, we explore some of the most active models of cultural fusion and "creolization" (creative cultural change). We will use a tiny island group in the Indian Ocean (the Seychelles Islands), American jazz, and a variety of modern artistic fusions, to explore what is arguably the oldest and most powerful tradition in our world: the multi-cultural exchange and fusion of human cultures. Despite our ancestor’s propensity for creating labels, claiming land, titles, creating national boundaries or nation-states, and ultimately teaching these labels over centuries to subsequent generations; the active and viable tradition of human exchange and creolization, remains virtually unexplored. The culmination of this Unit – will offer some perceptions that may guide readers to incorporate their own creativity in the context of building ever stronger and more diverse communities, rituals, and exploring creative community consultation --- over time.

Music Sample: "Bachbatá" Brandenburg Concertos, Concerto Nº 3 in G Major, Allegro, by Johann Sebastian Bach, with the Capella Istropolitana (Slovak Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra) and Istvan and Shangó Dely, c. 2002.