Page 135 - MIGRATION

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Natalia Rashkova
With the variety of issues that have sprung and piled up in my fieldwork and research
for the
Resettlers and migrants on the two sides of the Bulgarian-Turkish border: heritage, identity,
intercultural interactions
project, the specificity of migration processes and their impact on the
culture of migrating communities is coming to the fore. In view of the interdisciplinary approaches
established in this project, my attention has been focused primarily on gathering information and
studying music as the means of preserving the local cultural identity of the two target groups of
migrants (‘Thracian’ Bulgarians and Turks, resettlers from Bulgaria) and in Edirne as a town that
accommodates predominantly migrant population.
Ethnomusicology has long emphasised on the processes and results of migration, but
the influence on the study of migration in a more general sense is a recent development (Baily,
Collier 2006). In the traditional interpretation of the research field of ethnomusicology, there is the
notion of locality characteristic of anthropology and ethnography, in the sense of exploring local
musical traditions and cultures. Such an approach of accumulating empirical material is essential
in the long history of our academic field. It establishes certain spatial categories for describing the
specificity of music. Since the early 1990s, however, the claim that culture is related to territories
or localities has changed and there has been a growing interest in the mobility of cultural forms;
the phrase “travelling cultures” has gained popularity (Clifford 1992). The notion of locality has
become fuzzy and has acquired dimensions, which differ from the traditional understanding of
cultural space, especially on a specific territory. It is not so much the place that is in the centre of
attention, it is the people who are the bearers of culture and who have it with them throughout
their migratory experience.
A different topic, quite important in itself, is tracing the migrant
cultures in time and the ways, in which they preserve themselves or get transformed.
Meanwhile, the migrant groups cannot be excluded from the dialogic cultural process that
touches upon and, possibly, interacts with the cultures of other communities, which they coexist
with before or after migration, regardless of whether the differences are determined by locality or
The illustrations, accumulated in the process of fieldwork observations and research
on this project, add new variations to the boundless theme of the musical cultures of migrant
communities. This text will introduce some of them.
Thracian Bulgarians
Knowledge of the traditional musical culture is preserved and transmitted as an inherited
1 For more details on this line of research cf. Rashkova 1999, Rashkova 2003, Peycheva, Dimov 2006, Rashkova
2010, Toncheva 2011.