Folk Music in the Baltics at the Age of Digital Globalization

Sweers, Britta (2013). Folk Music in the Baltics at the Age of Digital Globalization (Unpublished). In: British Forum for Ethnomusicology, Annual Conference. Belfast (Nordirland). 04.-07.04.2013.

Shaped by factors like global outreach and immediacy, particularly the internet represents the multi-layered nature of contemporary globalization (cf Held et al. 2002). How have digital newspapers, social media and other internet platforms altered the situation of smaller music microcultues, especially in regions that have been on the fringes of global networks?
This paper analyses the situation of the Latvian postfolklore band Ilgi between 2001 and 2008. Focusing on the group’s label UPE, the paper highlights how the internet became a significant means of existence during this specific period. Having established a local niche with a sound studio and CD shops, UPE combined this physical basis with outreach strategies, such as marketing and direct internet sales, which guaranteed the survival of the independent label. This strategy was also taken up by the band itself who started to develop a strong presence on social media like MySpace. At the same time, Ilgi has been using the internet as a central means of communicating with diasporic communities in the U.S. and Canada – hereby creating structures that were described as « intercultures » by Slobin (1993). This indicates that the local-global dichotomy can no longer be sufficiently addressed by a horizontal or vertical two-dimensional perception.
Falling also back on the fieldwork experiences gained in Latvia, the paper finally addresses the question of how internet representation relates to the actual local situation – and how this has been altering the fieldwork perception. With regard to this situation – how useful are the approaches that have been developed within the context of « Media Anthropology » that investigates mass media items as multi-layered, densified symbolic objects?

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Other Institutions > Walter Benjamin Kolleg (WBKolleg) > Center for Global Studies (CGS)
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Musicology

UniBE Contributor:

Sweers, Britta


700 Arts > 780 Music




Britta Sweers

Date Deposited:

16 Sep 2014 07:20

Last Modified:

05 Feb 2018 21:18


Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback