Tales Of Southeast Asia's Jazz Age

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TALES OF SOUTHEAST ASIA'S JAZZ AGE
by Peter Keppy
published by Ridge Books

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The exciting adventures of Filipino entertainer Luis Borromeo and the Javanese Miss Riboet, in vaudeville and Malay opera respectively, tell an important story of Southeast Asia's 1920s Jazz Age. Borromeo and Riboet were leading figures in the development of a localised hybrid popular culture, surrounded by the elusive phenomena of modernity, cosmopolitanism and nationalism.

These two artists are exemplary of the pioneering cultural brokers of the time, who connected the arts, tradition and modernity, the foreign and the local, becoming the first stars of a new popular culture. Audiences seized this popular culture-situated somewhere between high art and banal entertainment-to channel emancipatory activities, to articulate social critique and to propagate an inclusive nationalism without being radically anti-colonial. By the early 1930s, this social potency was lost due to political polarization, an exclusive nationalism and a global economic crisis, ending years of cultural renaissance.

Leaning on cultural studies and the work on cosmopolitanism and modernity by Henry Jenkins and Joel Kahn, popular culture is critically examined here as a contradictory social phenomenon. As Southeast Asia's urban multi-ethnic middle-classes emerged as both consumers and producers of a new in-between culture, the book challenges notions of Southeast Asia's popular culture as low brow entertainment created by elites and commerce to manipulate the masses.

- paperback: 336 pages
- product dimensions: 152 x 229 mm
- ISBN: 9789813250512