From the Desk Of: Eugene Marlow
2022 Upcoming Events
2023
January 25 Dr. Eugene Marlow begins his 70th semester (35th year) teaching courses in media and culture at Baruch College (City University of New York).
2022
November 21 ARTICLE  PUBLISHED: Dr. Eugene Marlow’s article “Jazz in China: The Book, The Documentary, the Journey,” appears in the November 2022 issue of School Band and Orchestra, pp. 16-19.
November 21 SINGLE TRACK RELEASE: Anruo Cheng’s electroacoustic composition “She Says,” an anti-violence against women protest piece, is released on Eugene Marlow’s indie MEII Enterprises label.
November 19 “JAZZ IN CHINA” DOCUMENTARY AWARD CEREMONY: American INSIGHT’s annual Free Speech Film Festival Award Ceremony takes place at Cliveden in Philadelphia on Saturday, November 19th, 2022. The Free Speech Film Festival Award Ceremony Moderator is American INSIGHT Board member, Karen Curry, former NBC and CNN Bureau Chief. She will be joined onstage by Bob Craig, longtime WRTI Jazz host, and Dr. Eugene Marlow, the director of the 2022 Free Speech Award winner.
November 10 “ZIKKARON KRISTALLNACHT” DOCUMENTARY PRESENTATION: Dr. Eugene Marlow’s award-winning 2015 documentary short “Zikkaron/Kristallnacht: A Family Story” has been selected by 17 domestic and international film festivals. It also earned the 2016 John Culkin Award for Outstanding Praxis from the Media Ecology Association. The documentary short will be presented as part of The Sandra Kahn Wasserman Jewish Studies Center in the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences at Baruch College on November 10. A talk by Dr. Marlow will follow the showing. The presentation takes place in 14-270 starting at 6 p.m. at Baruch College (New York City).
November 7 SINGLE TRACK RELEASE: Eugene Marlow’s piece for string orchestra “Undminished” as performed by the North/South Chamber Orchestra is released by MEII Enterprises on cdbaby to 150+ digital platforms. 
November 3 BLUE IN GREEN: Three tracks from Eugene Marlow’s “Blue in Green: Original Compositions Inspired by the Jazz Poems of Grace Schulman” will be played at a “event” honoring Dr. Grace Schulman’s retirement from Baruch College. The event takes place in Engelman Recital Hall, Baruch College (New York City) at 6 p.m.
October 12 JAZZ IN CHINA DOCUMENTARY AWARD: Eugene Marlow’s 2022 feature-length documentary “Jazz in China” is the winner of the 2022 American Insight “Free Speech Festival.” An award ceremony will take place in Philadelphia on November 19.
September 26 Recording Academy voting member Dr. Eugene Marlow is chosen to serve as a mentor to mentee Ms. Amelia Rolland, a French-born, multi-talented musician-composer (currently studying at the Berklee School of Music in Boston). This is Dr. Marlow’s third turn as a mentor in the Recording Academy’s mentorship program.
September 25 Marlowsphere Blog: Dr. Marlow publishes Blog #156–Anruo Cheng’s electroacoustic composition “She Says,” an anti-violence against women protest piece. 
August 31 JAZZ IN CHINA AWARD INTERVIEW: Dr. Eugene Marlow, Producer/Director of the award-winning documentary “Jazz in China,” is interviewed by Karen Curry, a member of the board of American Insight (via Zoom), regarding his documentary. The feature-length documentary (which has also received an “Award of Excellence” from the Depth of Field International Film Festival) is the winner of the 2022 American Insight “Free Speech Film Festival.”
August 30 The Annual Marlow Prize in “Arts Consulting” is presented at a ceremony organized and hosted by the MA Program in Arts Management (David Milch, Director) at Baruch College (starts at 6.p.m.). Stephanie O’Brien received the award for 2021-22, and both Jose Alvarado and Rob Maitner received Honorable Mentions. Dr. Marlow is in the process of establishing a $25,000 fund so that the annual prize can be awarded in perpetuity. 
August 29 Dr. Eugene Marlow begins his 69th semester (35th year) teaching courses in media and culture at Baruch College (City University of New York).
August 13 JAZZ IN CHINA DOCUMENTARY AWARD: Eugene Marlow’s feature-length documentary “Jazz in China” is the recipient of an “Award of Excellence” from the “2022 Depth of Field International Film Festival.” The festival received close to 400 entries from 23 countries. 
August 9 JAZZ IN CHINA ZOOM PRESENTATION: Dr. Eugene Marlow is interviewed on Zoom by the University of Chicago/Hong Kong about his feature-length documentary “Jazz in China.” Dr. Marlow shows a 15-minute portion of the documentary followed by a Q&A session. The full-length, 60-minute documentary is an official selection at 11 domestic and international film festivals.
August 3 JAZZ IN CHINA IN-PERSON PRESENTATION: Dr. Eugene Marlow gives a talk on “Jazz in China: The Documentary” at the Basalt (Colorado) Public Library. He shows the feature-length documentary in its entirety followed by a Q&A session. Presentation starts at 5:30.
August 1 JAZZ IN CHINA IN-PERSON PRESENTATION: Dr. Eugene Marlow gives talk on “Jazz in China: The Book/The Documentary” at the Aspen Composers Conference, Aspen, Colorado. Dr. Marlow shows a 15-mi nute portion of the documentary followed by a comparison of writing the book vs. producing the documentary.
July 8 PERFORMANCE: Eugene Marlow’s Heritage Ensemble provides music for Baruch College’s Executive MBA Reception at the St. Regis (New York City).
July 2 RADIO PLAY: Eugene Marlow’s “El Ache de Sanabria” performed by the Grammy-nominated “Multiverse Big Band” is spun on WBGO’s “Latin Jazz Cruise,” hosted by Bobby Sanabria. WBGO is the most listened to jazz radio station on the planet.
June JAZZ IN CHINA DOCUMENTARY REVIEW: International Piano (UK) publishes a review of Eugene Marlow’s documentary, p. 62.
May 22 MANUSCRIPT REVIEW: Dr. Eugene Marlow submits review of “Locating Burial Mound: Naamyam, Free Jazz, and Chinese American Voices” draft manuscript for Music Theory Spectrum, University of Ottawa.
April 30 JAZZ IN CHINA DOCUMENTARY: Eugene Marlow’s revised feature-length documentary about “Jazz in China” (based on his 2018 book) is an “official event” of International Jazz Day. The documentary is available for viewing free of charge globally for the 24 hours of International Jazz Day.
April 15 THE MARLOWSPHERE BLOG: Eugene Marlow publishes “Part II: It’s Suffocating: When Young Women From South East Asia Hit A Cultural Wall.” 
April 8 THE MARLOWSPHERE BLOG: Eugene Marlow publishes Part I: “It’s Suffocating When Young Women From South East Asia Hit A Cultural Wall” 
April 2-8 NPR RADIO PLAY: Judy Carmichael re-broadcasts her March 2019 interview with Dr. Eugene Marlow about his book Jazz in China: From Dance Hall Music to Individual Freedom of Expression (University Press of Mississippi 2018). Marlow will release a feature-length documentary version of the book on the MEII Enterprises label on April 30, 2022, International Jazz Day.
February 28 ZIKKARON/KRISTALLNACHT OFFICIAL FILM FESTIVAL SELECTIONS: MEII Enterprises announces that Dr. Eugene Marlow’s 2015 documentary short “Zikkaron/Kristallnacht: A Family Story” has been selected for showing at 18 domestic and international film festivals, as follows: 2022 Stockholm Short Festival, 2022 FlickFair Film Festival, 2022 Arthouse Festival of Beverly Hills, 2021 Tokyo Shorts Film Festival, 2021 San Francisco Indie Short Festival, 2021 Rotterdam Independent Film Festival, 2021 Phoenix Shorts Film Festival, 2021 Paris International Film Festival, 2021 Niagara Falls International Short Festival, 2021 London Indie Short Festival, 2021 Florida Short Film Festival, 2021 Berlin Shorts Award, and 2017 New York Short Film Tuesdays.
February 7 GRAMMYU: Grammy U, the educational outreach arm of the Recording Academy, has paired Dr. Eugene Marlow (voting member since 2006) with Jonah Abrams, an upper level student at Stevens Institute of Technology (New Jersey) for the Spring 2022 semester.
January 31 Dr. Eugene Marlow begins his 68th semester teaching courses in media and culture at Baruch College (City University of New York).
January 28 Dr. Eugene Marlow interviews Baayork Lee, Co-Founder and Executive Artistic Director of the National Asian Artists Project, as part of the MA in Arts Administration Spring 2022 Semester Welcome @ Baruch College (starts @ 5 p.m.) Dr. Marlow and Ms. Lee both graduated from The High School of the Performing Arts: Marlow as a drama major, Ms. Lee as a dance major. Of note, Lee created the role of Connie in the 1976 Tony-award winning Best Musical A Chorus Line.
January 11 THE MARLOWSPHERE BLOG: Eugene Marlow publishes his newest blog: “Update: The Max Borak Story.”
January 10 ALBUM RELEASE: MEII Enterprises releases “C.I.T.I.Z.E.N.” the inaugural album from Ghananian rapper Pope Nst. The five-track album has been distributed worldwide to all digital platforms. 
2021
December 24 RADIO PLAY: Eugene Marlow’s Afro-Caribbean arrangement of “Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel,” performed by his Heritage Ensemble,  is spun on WBGO’s “Latin Jazz Cruise,” hosted by Grammy-nominated drummer Bobby Sanabria. WBGO is the most listened to jazz radio station on the planet.
December 23 The final version of the “Jazz in China” documentary is completed, with the audio mix scheduled for mid-January 2022 at Onomatopoeia (New York City). Dr. Marlow’s plan is to submit the one-hour long documentary to several festivals before attempting to distribute it to various markets. He also plans to give it a 24-hour window “free access” as an “official event” of International Jazz Day, April 30, 2022. Marlow gives much credit for the “improved” version of the documentary to his latest editor Jiefei “Faye” Yuan: “She found ways to integrate the material more efficiently. And as we worked on it numerous cuts became obvious. It’s a tighter, more effective documentary now,” Marlow observed.
November 22 SINGLE TRACK RELEASE: Eugene Marlow’s original composition for string quartet, “La Femme d’un Temps Passe au Present,” performed by the New York Composers Circle Chamber Ensemble, is released on the MEII Enterprises indie label to numerous digital platforms via cdbaby.
November 19 RADIO PLAY: Eugene Marlow’s original composition “Broken Heart” for big band is spun on WBGO’s “Latin Jazz Cruise,” hosted by Grammy-nominated drummer Bobby Sanabria. The track comes from Sanabria’s 2012 Grammy-nominated “Multiverse” album (Jazzheads). WBGO is the most listened to jazz radio station on the planet.
November 15 SINGLE TRACK RELEASE: Eugene Marlow’s original composition for mixed chamber ensemble, “Agitation du Coeur,” performed by the New York Composers Chamber Ensemble, is released on the MEII Enterprises indie label to numerous digital platforms via cdbaby. 
October 29 RADIO PLAY: “Taylored for Billy,” Eugene Marlow’s homage to Dr. Billy Taylor–recorded on Marlow’s inaugural 2015 album “A Summer Afternoon With You”–is played on KJZZ, a National Public Radio member station in Phoenix, Arizona.
October 28 SINGLE TRACK RELEASE: Eugene Marlow’s original composition “Marche Militaire a la Russe,” performed by organist Claudia Dumschat, is released on indie label MEII Enterprises for distribution on all major digital platforms.
October 22 RADIO PLAY: Eugene Marlow’s original composition “Flight II” (a samba from his 2016 Heritage Ensemble “Obrigado Brasil” album) is spun on WBGO’s “Latin Jazz Cruise,” hosted by Grammy-nominated drummer Bobby Sanabria. The track features ArcoIris Sandoval on piano, Frank Wagner on bass, and Bobby Sanabria on drums. WBGO is the most listened to jazz radio station on the planet.
October 15 RADIO PLAY: Eugene Marlow’s arrangement of “Hatikva” (from his 2011 Heritage Ensemble “Fresh Take” album) is spun on WBGO’s “Latin Jazz Cruise,” hosted by Grammy-nominated drummer Bobby Sanabria. WBGO is the most listened to jazz radio station on the planet.
October 5 Dr. Eugene Marlow’s documentary short “Zikkaron/Kristallnacht: A Family Story” is selected for screening on the 2021 Paris (France) Independent Film Festival scheduled for October 18-24, 2021.
October 4 RADIO PLAY: “Taylored for Billy,” Eugene Marlow’s homage to Dr. Billy Taylor–recorded on Marlow’s inaugural 2015 album “A Summer Afternoon With You”–is played on KJZZ, a National Public Radio member station in Phoenix, Arizona.
October 3 Dr. Eugene Marlow starts working with Jiefei Yuan, a Shanghai-born video editor, on re-editing his “Jazz in China” feature-length documentary fine-cut.
October 3 Dr. Eugene Marlow chosen to mentor Paul Nst (stage name), a young Accra, Ghana-based rapper, as part of the Recording Academy’s GrammyU outreach program. 
September 30 Documentary short festival nomination: Eugene Marlow’s documentary short “Zikkaron Kristallnacht” nominated in the London Independent Film Festival 
August 25 Dr. Eugene Marlow begins his 67th semester teaching courses in media and culture at Baruch College (City University of New York). This semester he will teach an honors course entitled “Jazz: Cultural Touchstone of the 20th Century.” Marlow is chair of Baruch’s Educational Technology Committee.
August 11 PERFORMANCE: New York-based organist Claudia Dumschat performs three of Eugene Marlow’s works at a concert mounted by the New York Composers Circle. The three pieces are: “Clasico Bolero,” “A La Russe,” and “D’humeur melancolique.” Ms. Dumschat performs these pieces as part of a larger virtual concert at the “Little Church Around the Corner” on East 29th Street in New York City.  
August 4 Documentary short festival nomination: Eugene Marlow’s documentary short “Zikkaron Kristallnacht” nominated in the “Best Documentary Short” category by the San Francisco Indie Short Festival. 
July 23 RADIO PLAY: Eugene Marlow’s arrangement of “Adon Olam” (from his 2011 Heritage Ensemble “Fresh Take” album) played on WBGO’s “Latin Jazz Cruise,” hosted by Grammy-nominated drummer Bobby Sanabria. This arrangement, featuring vocalist Rachel Kara Perez,  is a tip of the hat to saxophonist Ornette Coleman’s “free” jazz” movement. WBGO is the most listened to jazz radio station on the planet.
 June 15 The Marlow Prize: David Milch, Director of the MA Program in Arts Administration at Baruch College announced that . . . “Thomas Kapusta as the recipient of the Marlow Prize in Arts Leadership for the 2020/2021 academic year. His thesis, Bringing a Programmatic Budget to Bedlam, Inc. was an exceptional paper applying sound financial and budgeting practices to support a very prominent Off-Broadway theater company.  Tom’s work not only featured thoughtful research and analysis, but demonstrated a clear and engaging writing style that made numbers and budgeting (often thought to be a dry topic), both compelling and essential to understanding the organization’s goals.  The paper’s clear position that the budget is a statement of organizational values — as well as “value” — was both powerful and essential to consider for any arts administrator.

“The Committee also selected an Honorable Mention for the Marlow Prize, recognizing Višnja Begović for her consultancy, Reaching Teenage Readers: Creative Strategies for Marketing and Selling Teenage Fiction.  Višnja’s work stood out in its ability to identify recommendations in an area where there had been little specific research.  It presented a thoughtful, engaging and exceptionally clear analysis; and, one which will most certainly be of great benefit to the organization and the field at large.” 

June 6 Performance: Eugene Marlow’s bembe arrangement of “Maria” from Bobby Sanabria’s 2018 Grammy-nominated “West Side Story Reimagined” is performed by the Bobby Sanabria “Multiverse” Big Band at PLAYGROUND 52 AMPHITHEATER, across the street from PS 52, 681 Kelly Street in the Bronx, New York City.
May 24 Dr. Eugene Marlow establishes the “Rudy Merino Prize for Music in Community” at Merced College, in Merced, California.
April 30 OFFICIAL RELEASE: Eugene Marlow’s “Jazz in China: The Documentary” is an “official” event of International Jazz Day, April 30, 2021, an event mounted by UNESCO. Dr. Marlow makes the 76-minute documentary available for viewing for the 24 hours of International Jazz Day free of charge.
April 26 Guest Blog: Dr. Marlow provided a guest blog to the University Press of Mississippi (UPM) regarding the April 30, 2021 “official” release of Dr. Marlow’s “Jazz in China: The Documentary.” UPM published Marlow’s book (Jazz in China: From Dance Hall Music to Individual Freedom of Expression) in 2018.
April 21 Article contribution: Marlow asked by Hong Kong-based freelance reporter Simon Parry to comment on the importance of the forthcoming October 2021 Montreux Jazz Festival in Hangzhou, China for an article to appear in the South China Morning Post. 
April 20 Guest Panelist: Dr. Eugene Marlow participates in a panel of journalists as part of “Headliners in Education” on a Zoom call organized by John Vitti of the Boston Globe. The subject of the panel concerned admissions requirements of high school students interested in journalism at the college level.
March 19 RADIO PLAY: Eugene Marlow’s arrangement of “Adon Olam” (from his 2011 Heritage Ensemble “Fresh Take” album) played on WBGO’s “Latin Jazz Cruise,” hosted by Grammy-nominated drummer Bobby Sanabria. This arrangement, featuring vocalist Rachel Kara Perez,  is a tip of the hat to saxophonist Ornette Coleman’s “free” jazz” movement. WBGO is the most listened to jazz radio station on the planet.
March 1 Jazz in China documentary: The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO),  sponsor of the annual April 30 International Jazz Day, has invited Dr. Eugene Marlow, producer/director of the forthcoming feature-length documentary “Jazz in China,” to announce the documentary’s completion on its website as an “official event” of International Jazz Day 2021. There are jazz performances all over the planet on this day.  International Jazz Day is chaired and led by UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay and legendary jazz pianist and composer Herbie Hancock, who serves as a UNESCO Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue and Chairman of the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz
February 2 Composer Marlow/MEII Enterprises sign agreement with Dance In Frame Productions. Producer Michael Bishop of Brooklyn-based Dance In Frame Productions is developing a 30-minute documentary entitled “Shadows Among Us.” The documentary’s purpose is to raise awareness for a draft bill to be presented to the New York State legislature. This bill, if adopted, will act as a promise to artists and art organizations that the State of New York will do more to support the arts and culture sector should another disruptive event like the 2020-2021 pandemic occur again. The documentary will incorporate scenes with dance performers, interviews with them about the importance of art for society, and their hopes for its recovery following the end of the pandemic.  The documentary’s music underscore will be provided by composer and music producer Eugene Marlow from his 2006 album “Les Sentiments D’Amour” (MEII Enterprises).
February 1 Dr. Marlow begins his 66th semester teaching courses in media and culture at Baruch College (City University of New York). Dr. Marlow is chair of Baruch’s Educational Technology Committee.
January 29 RADIO PLAY: Eugene Marlow’s arrangement of “Hatikva” (from his 2011 Heritage Ensemble “Fresh Take” album) opens WBGO’s “Latin Jazz Cruise,” hosted by Grammy-nominated drummer Bobby Sanabria. WBGO is the most listened to jazz radio station on the planet.
January 14 Jazz in China Project: Baruch College (where Dr. Marlow teaches) launches a web site to help raise funds to complete Marlow’s feature-length documentary project. Please consider becoming a patron of the arts by clicking on the link above.
January 8 RADIO PLAY: Eugene Marlow’s original big band composition “El Ache de Sanabria” (from Bobby Sanabria’s 2007 Grammy-nominated “Big Band Urban Folktales” album) opens WBGO’s “Latin Jazz Cruise,” hosted by Grammy-nominated drummer Bobby Sanabria. WBGO is the most listened to jazz radio station on the planet.
January 1 RADIO PLAY: Eugene Marlow’s arrangement of “Hatikva” (from his 2011 Heritage Ensemble “Fresh Take” album) opens WBGO’s “Latin Jazz Cruise,” hosted by Grammy-nominated drummer Bobby Sanabria. WBGO is the most listened to jazz radio station on the planet.
January 1 Dr. Eugene Marlow is quoted in the “Future Issue” of Chamber Music America’s 2021 Membership Directory: “John Adams, second president of the United States said ‘Every problem is an opportunity in disguise.’ In the longer term, we will have found other ways to practice and express our art. We will surprise ourselves with opportunistic solutions” (p. 70). 

Please check back often as updates with new dates and more details
will be added to the schedule.

Click here to learn more about Eugene Marlow’s Heritage Ensemble

EMHE

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“Jazz in China” Winner of American INSIGHT’s 2022 Free Speech Film Festival

From L to R: American Insight Board Member Karen Curry, Eugene Marlow, Ph..D. (Producer/Director of "Jazz in China"), Jiefei Yuan, documentary Associate Director, and Bob Craig, Jazz DJ, WRTI, Philadelphia Eugene Marlow’s feature length documentary “Jazz in China” is the winner of the 2022 American Insight sponsored “Free Speech Film Festival.”

American INSIGHT’s Free Speech Film Festival celebrates the passionate innovations of independent filmmakers, and champions the ideas, perspectives and voices that prove vital to the future of Free Speech, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law around the world.

American INSIGHT’s Free Speech Film Festival is a goodwill, grassroots, sustainable program that unites judges, students, scholars, educators and the general public in conversations about the past, present and future of Free Speech.

The mission of the Free Speech Film Festival is to promote Free Speech, not war.

According to Margaret Chew Barringer, American Insight Founder & Chairman, “When we first saw the submission from Director Eugene Marlow we didn’t know this very democratic form of music could exist (and THRIVE) in such a place. This astonishment was just one of the many reasons ‘Jazz in China’ is the 2022 Free Speech Award-winning Film.”

She added: “Over several weeks of judging approximately 100 entries from 17 countries, ‘Jazz in China’ never fell out of first place.”

“Most people don’t know that jazz even exists in China,” noted Bob Craig, popular host for WRTI, Philadelphia’s jazz and classical music radio station. “The film chronicles the 100-year story of how this very democratic form of music improvisation exists and thrives in a country with a long tradition of adherence to central authority.”

Click the image to see the “Jazz in China” trailer.

Jazz in China - Play Video

The Free Speech Film Festival Award Ceremony was moderated by American INSIGHT Board member, Karen Curry, former NBC and Dr. Eugene Marlow receives the American Insight "Free Speech Bell" from Karen Curry, American Insight Board Member. The first prize also came with a $1,000 honorarium.CNN Bureau Chief. She was joined onstage by Bob Craig, longtime WRTI Jazz host,  Dr. Eugene Marlow, the director of the 2022 Free Speech Award winner and Jiefei Yuan, documentary Associate Director.

American INSIGHT’s annual Free Speech Film Festival Award Ceremony was held Saturday, November 19th, 2022 in Philadelphia, where Dr. Marlow was awarded the symbolic Free Speech Liberty Bell and $1,000 honorarium by Ms. Curry.
 
Topics submitted to the American INSIGHT Free Speech Film Festival in 2022 included censorship, resistance, inequality, courage, change, and hope. Independent filmmakers from 58 countries around the world have entered their films as a response to the subject of Free Speech: You Define It!

The six 2022 Official Selection films are:

  •  Jazz in China directed by Dr. Eugene Marlow
  • My Grandmother Is an Egg directed by Wu-Ching Chang
  • Common Grounds? directed by Raed Truett Gilliam
  • Chinese Cancan – Lulu, a Chinese Woman directed by Coralie Van Rietschote
  • Strength Among Us directed by Taha Ovaci
  • Urania Leilus directed by Andrew Serban

Eugene Marlow, Ph.D., teaches courses in media and culture at Baruch College (City University of New York, since 1988). “Jazz in China is his latest documentary project based on his 2018 acclaimed book. Previously, his documentary short “Zikkaron Kristallnacht: A Family Story” was an “official selection” at 17 domestic and international film festivals and was the recipient of the John Culkin Award from the Media Ecology Association. Dr. Marlow has earned awards for video programming excellence from numerous film festival competitions.

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Anruo Cheng’s “She Says | 她说”: An Anti-Violence Against Women Contemporary Protest Song

Marlowsphere (Blog #156)

"The 1930s Lynching that Inspired Strange Fruit"Music serves many functions in society and can be found in almost every corner of everyday life. One such function is “protest.” Protest songs give musical voice to issues dealing with racism, war, civil rights, and women’s rights, among others.

Among the most famous protest songs in western culture is “Strange Fruit” recorded by Billie Holiday in 1939. It is based on a poem inspired by the lynching of two young African-Americans in 1930 Marion, Indiana. They were accused of rape and murder. The poem was written by Abel Meeropol (1903-1986), a white Jew, teacher, poet and songwriter, who published under the name Lewis Allan.

It is not usual, however, to hear of protest songs and singers in eastern cultures, such as China, but they exist. The most prominent is Cui Jian, a Beijing-based singer-songwriter (also trumpeter and guitarist) who is recognized as the “father of rock” in China. He has been jailed by the Chinese government from time to time for composing and performing songs critical of the Communist Party.

Critical protest of the Chinese Communist Party goes beyond issues of governance. Among the issues are violence against women, a global problem in fact. Estimates published by the World Health Organization indicate that globally about 1 in 3 (30%) of women worldwide have been subjected to either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime. Most of this violence is intimate partner violence.

Chinese-born, New York City-based contemporary composer Anruo Cheng’s response to this issue in China is her 8:27 minute protest composition “She Says | 她说.”

“She Says” was inspired by several reports and significant incidents in China:

  1. Every 7.4 seconds, a woman in China faces domestic violence, according to the All-China Women’s Federation, the country’s largest women’s organization. For example, after enduring years of attacks, Shaanxi native Yang Xi killed her husband. She was originally sentenced to death, but a higher court commuted the sentence to 12 years in jail for killing him.
  2. A Xuzhou woman was chained to a wall, tortured, and gave birth to eight children for her “husband.” The incident was revealed through video interviews by social media in the winter of 2021 but immediately covered up by mainstream media in China. Some people were arrested while investigating the case. Unfortunately, the chained woman’s voice is not allowed to be heard anymore.
  3. In June 2022, four women were assaulted and brutally punched by a group of men in a late-night Tangshan (China) restaurant. After the surveillance footage of the incident was leaked online, the victims, as well as their families and friends remained silent.

Cheng adds: “In this work, you will hear heavy percussive sounds every 7.4 seconds throughout the piece, representing the domestic violence Domestic Violence in Chinahappening to Chinese women. I also use the Chinese ancient folk tune Jasmine Flower (originally praising women’s purity and nobility) as a metaphor for the victims and twisted facts people are facing. Many other sound objects manipulated by electronic techniques are also inspired by these incidents, like the sounds of chains, metallic percussive sounds, and sounds of broken glass bottles.”

There are two kinds of broad musical categories: absolute music and program music. The former is music that stands alone without any requisite explanation. This category of music can be enjoyed and appreciated on its own merit. The latter category is the reverse. One of the more famous examples of “program music” is Sergei Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf” where various instruments take on the characteristics, musically speaking, of the “characters” in the story. The music, though, is accompanied by a spoken narrative.

The repetition of “She Says” in a female voice hints at the subject of Cheng’s piece, and the repeat of hard sounds every 7.4 seconds also gives an indication of what the piece means and what its purpose is. But you need the external explanation to reveal the real power of the composition. Could this piece standalone without any further explication? Certainly. Its sonic elements are compelling on their own. But when you understand the inspiration of “She Says” the power of Cheng’s composition expands exponentially.

Click here to listen to “She Says| 她说” on Sound Cloud.

For more about Anruo Cheng, go to www.anruocheng.com

Eugene Marlow, MBA, Ph.D., © 2022

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Part II: “It’s Suffocating” When Young Women from South East Asia Hit A Cultural Wall

Marlowsphere (Blog #155)

In Part I of this blog (posted last week), Female Student (FS) informed us of the inequities she and other females experience vs. males in the Pakistani culture.


Memorization vs. Analysis or Questioning

EM:  What about formal education in Pakistan?

FS: I completed high school in Pakpattan.  In that region of Pakistan people are very narrow-minded. Very, very narrow-minded.

The teachers have the same mindset as the people living there.  So, they are transferring that mindset to the students. The type of study is Pakistani Girls in Schooldifferent here from there. It was more like reading through the pages and just memorizing them.  There is no creativity and no effort to allow students to acknowledge what skills they have. Students are not allowed or given the opportunity to choose their own field. They are not given choice from the start. That really messes things up when you’re not given a choice in your life ever.

EM:  How come you’re so open-minded?

FS:  That’s an interesting question. I became more open-minded when I came here.  I had the same mindset before I came here. I was talking about this yesterday to my friend. She said “You don’t judge people.” That’s why we have such a good bonding.

I told her I wasn’t always like this. If you met me four years back, I was so judgmental, so narrow-minded that I judged every person I saw. If I look back at myself four years ago, I see myself as a horrible person with the same mindset of the people I criticize now. When I came to America everything started to change. The way I started to look at the world changed.

It really changed for me when my mother was really very sick. She had ulcerated colitis. She was extremely ill. She was on her death bed. I had to take care of her. I struggled a lot in that phase. I had college and housework and I had to take care of my mother. At that time, it kind of changed me because I started to realize about the education I was getting here. I was never allowed, or you could say, that I never really had the chance to acknowledge the talents or skills I have, or what I can really do and really want to do in life in Pakistan.

My parents always told me “We want you to be a doctor.” I was like, “Yeah, I want to be a doctor.” But it all changed when I came here and I really got to know that I don’t really want to be in that field. It would be suffocating if I choose this. I was trying to find myself, where I really stand and who I really am as a young woman. Things started to change for me here.

Queens Borough Community College SealEM:  You started your college career at Queens Community College. Was there any particular course or professor you were taking that helped you change your attitude or perspective or was it just the overall environment?

FS: It was the overall environment, especially two of my professors from my literature class. My one English professor, during her lecture, always used to add some lines out of nowhere that were inspiring and really eye-opening. I found myself catching every sentence she threw at us. I really like the spirit she had. Every time she was teaching something, out of nowhere she just said a sentence about woman empowerment. That was really different for me because I had never been told those things. I came from an area in Pakistan where if a girl is caught with a boy—looking, smiling, holding hands, embracing—she could be killed, as in an honor killing.

My Mother’s Unfulfilled Life

FS: The other thing that was really eye-opening for me was my mother. She’s been through a lot. She was the most creative, most intelligent and the most beautiful person I have known. She had talent to be a writer, a poet, a painter. She wanted to be a doctor but nobody allowed Women in Niqab, Faisalabad Pakistanher to be. Then she got married. Nobody allowed her to write or to paint. She was just told “You are here to serve your in-laws and look after your kids.”

Whenever I saw the inner turmoil she was going through, it just clicked one day that I don’t want to have her life. I don’t want to be oppressed like she has been all her life. I don’t want to be in a relationship similar to my mother’s. I don’t want my children to see the same thing that I am seeing every day. In some ways, I always, always got inspiration from my mother. She is an ideal for me because you can say that her mindset is different from the people from our culture. When I was younger, she always told me “I don’t like how you think.”

EM:  She said that to you?

FS: Yes. Often, my mother told me when I was younger, when I wasn’t like how I am right now, she would scold me about not doing the right thing for myself. At that time, I didn’t understand because I was with people who thought it was the right thing to think like everybody else in a narrow-minded way. Even while living among those people in Pakistan for a lot of years, she didn’t change her mindset. Even after a lot of opportunities were snatched away from her, a lot of jobs that she wanted to do, she didn’t change herself to go after them. I think the biggest eye-opener for me is my mother’s plight changed me as a person while I was looking after her and taking care of her when she was sick.  I realized I am inspired by her, but I don’t want to be in the situation she is in right now.

EM:  She survived COVID?

FS:  Yes, she is so much better and she is recovering. Even from after COVID, her situation changed, she got much better. She was on steroids before COVID but she had to quit them because when you have COVID and are taking steroids the situation gets worse so she had to quit them. Steroids are the type of drug that when quit them without any tapering your body goes through a withdrawal and causes a bad reaction. Her condition really worsened after that.  When she recovered from the after-effects of quitting steroids, then she started to get better.  Her treatment is continuing so she’s much better than three years back or so.

EM:  Does your mother work or is she a housewife who takes care of the kids and your father?

FS: She’s a housewife.

Navigating the Future

Men On Public Transportation, Besham City, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, PakistanEM:  What are you going to do when you graduate? Are you going to say bye-bye to your parents and go off on your own?  What do you foresee yourself doing if you want to have your own life and your own values and you want to marry someone you really love and have children with that person?  What do you want to do?

FS:  I’m not sure. The situation right now is that my father twice a week talks about my marriage. He says: “Once you graduate you will get married. You’re going back to Pakistan.  We will look for a suitable person for you and then you will marry that guy.”

One day, I asked my mother “What if I want to get married to a person I like?” She said I don’t have that choice. My father will never agree.  However good or nice the person is, my father will never agree.  He wants me to marry the person he chooses for me. I don’t want that. I know what he thinks about the world, of the life, of how he thinks a woman should lead her life. It doesn’t resonate with my beliefs and I don’t want that. So, what I have thought is after completing my bachelor’s degree, I plan to go to law school. I want to delay as much as I can.

One positive thing is that my father is not that adamant. He does listen to me when I’m trying to prove my point. Sometimes when I’m trying to say something, he reacts so negatively that sometimes shuts me up. I try to understand him. I pretend to agree with him and then I try to prove my point. Sometimes it works. I think that If I try to do that, some day he will really see my perspective and from which I want to lead my life.

It’s really suffocating when you’re told that you can’t do the thing you love. You can’t write a poem because “we don’t see it right.” It’s so suffocating. My mom has been through that.  Whenever I look at her face, I feel what she has thought years back. It’s horrible.

EM:  Are there other young women, students like you who are going through the same situation that you’re aware of?

FS:  I think yes. One of my Pakistani friends is from Karachi. She’s not facing the pressure of getting married but she does have parents who are strict and they have somewhat the same mindset as my parents. You get to know people and where they are coming from when you spend time with them. I realize that my fear resonates with hers. What she fears, I fear.

Marriage is a big responsibility. You have to take care of yourself, the person you are with and then when you have kids, it triples the "Men are not told what it's really like to be a good man. . . . they don't take care of their women, how to treat their daughters, how to respect women. They are not told."responsibility.  For us, especially in East Asian countries, not only are you taking care of your husband and your kids, you also have to look after your in-laws.

In the summer, we were living in my uncle’s house. His wife was working 24/7. She had to take care of the guests, look after her kids and look after other people living in the house. She is only one person. Can you believe it?

She’s so fragile that I had no words for what she is going through.  Nobody realizes that. Men don’t realize how their wives suffer because they have never been told. When they’re never told, they don’t know how to take care of their women, how to treat their daughters, how to respect women. They are not told.

I think they are more concentrated about keeping narrow tradition of what are “good girls” or “good women.” Men need to be told what it’s really like to be a good man. When you impose your narrow view, your beliefs and your actions on another person, you destroy them. It’s like killing them. Men never realize that and no one has made them realize that.

EM:  It’s not built into the culture?

FS:  No, it’s not.


NOTE: The images in this blog are from Creative Common License stock and do not reflect any of the individuals mentioned in the blog.

Eugene Marlow, MBA, Ph.D., © 2022

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Part I: “It’s Suffocating” When Young Women From South East Asia Hit A Cultural Wall

Marlowsphere (Blog #154)

Pakistan, literacy, Women, IndependenceQuestion: 

What happens when a young person, especially a young female person from a conservative South East Asia family and country, comes to study at a college in the United States where the values concerning male and female roles, dating and marriage are out of step with the more liberal values surrounding male and female roles, dating and marriage in many American colleges?

Answer:

They hit a cultural wall, not necessarily with their new found student peers, but with their own family and country-of-origin traditions.

It is a difficult and stressful situation for the female student. On the one hand, the female student wants to do well and achieve a higher learning status. On the other hand, the parents, especially the fathers, are more concerned about marrying the daughter off, regardless of the daughter’s intellectual potential and prowess. It is a about individual freedom of expression vs. adherence to entrenched adherence to hundreds, perhaps thousands of years of immovable cultural traditions.

This cultural conflict of values—essentially a double standard: one for male and one for female with South Asian backgrounds—was brought home to me late last year when one of my students who is Pakistani approached me seeking help with this familiar story. It is made worse by the context of the pandemic. Many people from this region of the world believe the COVID-19 vaccine is for controlling people.

There is a strong correlation between these “beliefs” and illiteracy. Pakistan—a nuclear-armed nation—has a literacy rate of about 62 percent—out of 227 million people. This means millions of Pakistanis are illiterate, especially women. Innovation, for example, in Pakistan is very low. Little is invested in education.

What follows is the interview I conducted with this student. Her name has been changed to “female student” (and abbreviated to FS:) to protect her from possible harmful consequences meted out by her parents or her cultural community.


“I went back to Pakistan and there were many people who think the vaccine is there to kill people, to depopulate the world.”To Vaccinate or Not To Vaccinate

EM:  Let’s start with the story you were telling me a few weeks ago about your family and their response to vaccination mandates.

FS: It’s all about the fake news and the people. People in my family look more to the videos on YouTube and they believe those stories. For example, some of my relatives came from Pakistan two months ago.  We tried to convince them to be vaccinated, but they were hesitant because they believed the vaccine had a chip in it and then it could get injected in our bodies and they can control us and we won’t have any control over our minds. It was frustrating because the situation is getting worse and their son was also sick. We tried to convince them, but they were adamant that the vaccine is not good.

Last summer (2021), I went back to Pakistan and there were many people who think the vaccine is there to kill people, to depopulate the world.  They had that firm belief. Even if we tried to convince them that we are vaccinated and nothing has happened to us and they will be fine too, they say, “No, we don’t believe you.”

I realized then it’s not only word-of-mouth that shapes their beliefs on the vaccine but also social media. YouTube especially has very much more to do with it.

My father follows a YouTube channel called Haqeeqat TV. The host just posts a video on YouTube talking randomly about anything and none Haqeeqat TVof his claims make sense. For example, when we got infected by COVID last year, my mother was in hospital. Her condition was very serious. We were sitting in the living room and my father clicked on the video and that host was saying “There is no COVID. There is nothing like that, it’s just propaganda to shut down the world. America is fine. Nothing is happening there.  People are living their lives. It is just us [in Pakistan] who are suffering because of it.” My father wasn’t convinced that guy’s claims were false!

EM:  Are you vaccinated?

FS:  Yeah, I’m vaccinated.  My whole family—father, mother, two brothers—is now vaccinated.

EM:  The relatives that came from Pakistan, they were not vaccinated.

FS:  Yeah, they were not vaccinated.  Do you remember that I told you that I skipped two classes because I found out my friend tested positive and I maybe I was having symptoms and I wanted to get tested?  When I told these relatives that I think I am COVID positive too, they were kind of scared. What I did is scare them more. Then they said they should get vaccinated.

EM:  What part of Pakistan does your family come from?

FS:  Punjab.

“. . . it is common for girls that if they get married then they aren’t allowed to continue their education.”Finish Your Degree So We Can Get You Married

EM:  Please tell me the story about your friend who was about to turn 21 and her father wanted to send her back to Pakistan to get married, so she’s hurrying up to finish her college.

FS: One day when we were discussing about majors and she said, “I’m an accounting major.” She said she was taking summer and winter classes. She was trying to finish college early. I asked her, “why?” She said that “My parents will get me married soon so I don’t want my degree left unfinished.” I was shocked at that time. I thought “Your husband won’t allow you to study if you get married? That is why you are hurrying up?” She was hesitant. She didn’t really reply. She is going to turn 20 in January 2022. She is hoping to complete her bachelor’s degree by 2023. It isn’t clear that she is facing pressure from her family, that she won’t be able to finish her degree after she gets married.

I do know some people from Pakistan where it is common for girls that if they get married then they aren’t allowed to continue their education. Or if they’re working, they aren’t allowed to continue their job. I tried to talk to her about that later too, but she didn’t respond.

EM:  Are you facing a similar situation or is it different with your family?

FS:  In my situation, there is no pressure that I wouldn’t be able to continue my studies. My father, however, wants me to get married after I graduate and he wants me to marry in 2024 or 2025.

I don’t want to get married so early because for me, my age should be 26 or 27 to get married. I believe I will be more responsible and more ready then to get into marriage. I disagree with my father. He thinks you should get your children married at a certain age, for example, 22 or 23.  He is adamant.  He talks about it every day. “Once you graduate, I want you to get married,” he says.

It’s Not the Same for Boys

Men on Motorcycle, Lhore, Punjab, PakistanEM:  Is it the same for your brothers?

FS:  I don’t think so. My brothers are young.  One is three years younger than me. The other is six years younger than me.  One is going to get into college and the other just entered high school.  I’m about to finish my college.

I don’t think they’re going to have the situation like I am. I realized this a month ago.  My f was in a relationship with a Pakistani girl.  He hid that relationship from all of us, but then we went to Pakistan and he told one of my cousins about it who told everyone my brother was in a relationship with a girl.

My mother got to know about it. I was not shocked because I was expecting this because of the kind of behavior he showed.  But I wasn’t as shocked as my mother was. He had normal behavior, but we really didn’t know how my father was going to react. My father was here [in the U.S.] when we were in Pakistan so when we came back, my mother told him.  He didn’t react well.  He just shoved it off.

EM:  So, it’s different for boys?

FS:  Yeah, it’s different for boys.

The next thing I’m going to tell you is much worse. The girl my brother had this relationship with is also from Pakistan, from Punjab.  Her parents eventually learned about the relationship, here’s how. Let me tell you about her brother. Her brother is a college freshman. He has a lot of girlfriends. You could call him a playboy. Everyone knows about it in his house, even his father, his mother, his sisters. He has one girlfriend that he introduced to his parents, his family. But when that boy catches his sister in the relationship with my brother! What he does he do now? He tells this to his parents.

My brother’s girlfriend faces the wrath of her parents. They come to our house and they threaten my mother, my father. My brother was in school. I was in college. They talk to my father and say “Tell your son never to contact our daughter again.” My father was much calmer “I realized what parents think and believe for their daughters is different from what they want for their son.”because he realized the situation my brother was in because he is also from the same background.  So, he was much calmer and he apologized to the girlfriend’s parents.

Then they came again. They said they wanted my brother’s phone to read all the messages, all the pictures of their daughter. My brother said “I won’t give them my phone.” They threatened to go the police. Realizing the situation, my father said that we needed to give them the phone so they can just check it out and they will give it back to my brother. They checked the phone and deleted all the pictures and then deleted all the messages.

On that day, I realized what parents think and believe for their daughters is different from what they want for their son. My dad was outside our home talking to the girl’s dad and I went to my brother’s room and said “You know what. It doesn’t matter that this happened to you but I can realize what the girl’s going through.” Her parents emotionally blackmailed her to cut all ties with my brother. I realized it must have been a horrible situation for her.

I talked to my brother and said “I’m really angry because I know what she’s going through. If I would have been in that situation, the scenario in our home would have been different.” My mother was now calmer, my father was calmer, but if it had been me caught in a relationship, oh my God.

The Culture Clash

EM:  Are you of the Muslim faith?

FS:  Yes.

Men_in_Pakistan_Market PlaceEM:  Do you have a sense that other young women like yourself of the Muslim faith in places like Pakistan are in similar situations? That when they come from those countries to the United States where the cultural mores are different, where young men and young women behave differently?

In the west there are women in their mid-twenties and even thirties who are still single but they have careers. Do you feel like you’re running into a cultural clash because you’re coming from a culture that has very different values when it comes to how a young woman should behave and how much education a young woman should get?

FS: I think yes.  I 100% agree with that. There is not only a culture clash in the United States, but also in Pakistan. The area where I come from, people are not that well educated. They are very narrow-minded. That narrow-mindedness is what my parents took with them when they came here. The people who are from a different area in the same country who have a different mindset, they also have a clash with “. . . 45% of the people want to stand up for women and 55% or 60% of people want to control them.”people who are very extremist regarding their beliefs. Not only about religion, but also about how they want the woman to live like. You can say that 45% of the people want to stand up for women and 55% or 60% of people want to control them.

It’s not only when you come from Pakistan or India to here. It’s also other countries. It’s about the mindset, where they have lived and how their mindset is shaped. That belief then comes in the form of decisions and how they behave with other people. There’s a lot going on. Not only here, but there too.

I have friends there and some of them are married. Half of them quit their education and half of them are continuing their education. Some are continuing their education without getting married. Some of them are getting married by their own will to the person they like and they are completing their education. They are not from the same area.  Some of them are from Lahore, Karachi, some from Islamabad.  Some of them are from the part where I came from.  Each one of them have different lives. They face different situations in their lives and face different hardships.


In Part II of this blog (which will be posted next week), Female Student (FS) tells us how she relates to her parents and  plans to navigate the next chapter of her life after college.

NOTE: The images in this blog are from Creative Common License stock and do not reflect any of the individuals mentioned in the blog.

Eugene Marlow, MBA, Ph.D., © 2022

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