Troubadours and their heritage in the edges of Europe – Singing and rapping experiences of being in a minority in Southern France and in Sámiland
Niiranen, Susanna (University of Jyväskylä, Finland)
Arts as Cultural Diplomacy (ACD) Berlin, February 14th – 20th (2011)
One of the most dazzling and influential vernacular cultural traditions of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries is that of the troubadours. We know them best through their love songs but they were also active commentators and critics of their own society. This paper considers medieval troubadours as intermediators of contemporary actualities and their concern about their own culture and language, Occitan, in a situation where growing political influence and control of the “French” along with the central administration were viewed as a threat to the local culture. After 800 years, the same concern is expressed by modern, living troubadours. Actually, various singers and composers in many parts of the world share the same concern in respect of minorities or ways of life considered as endangered. As for the modern “troubadours”, the focus is on two European contemporary artists or group of artists describing how they are redesigning the promotion of the regional language and increasing awareness of the national minorities they represent. This is demonstrated by two examples, first, by a group which considers the medieval troubadours as their literal ancestors, Massilia Sound System from the city of Marseille, and second, a rapper called Amoc from the Finnish Sámiland (Lapland).