Music in Oman: Politics, Identity, Time, and Space in the Sultanate
In this issue five articles round out collective impressions of the contemporary musical life in the Sultanate of Oman. The four authors who collaborated on this collection are each scholars involved in original ethnographic research in the Arabian Gulf. All of them are engaged music activists working in Oman and the Gulf. Each brings specific expertise to a set of questions regarding politically motivated constructions of a musical past, the challenge of implementing music education and connoisseurship, teaching identity through framing traditional performance, and the mixed musical aesthetics of Omani popular and national musics, facilitated by Arab regional interculturalism and its media flows. Together the authors offer perspectives on the re-creation and re-contextualization of traditional musics, the acquisition of cultural capital in the form of European art music and classical music of the Turko-Arab tradition, and the challenges for music education, outreach, and production in the schools, universities, through mass media and in the public sphere as new contexts are for music learning, performance, and consumption are created and managed. The presentation of Oman, as a contemporary multicultural society, deeply rooted in complex multi-regional traditions, yet viscerally involved in the construction of cultural identities within national, regional, post-colonial, and global frames should be of interest to students, scholars, and readers interested in Indian Ocean interactions, Arab societies, Middle Eastern histories, and political and cultural Islam.