It Takes A Village to Raise an Andy: A Low-Fi Portrait

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Peggy Ann Hall, Faculty/Staff (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Gavin Douglas

Abstract: This paper examines the role of Andy Mabe, a local Winston-Salem musician and icon, in the transmission of qualities that characterize the low-fi DIY scene. An understanding of a community's identity emerged; informed by my relationship to Andy and the local arts collective. Andy's iconic status, I will argue, exists because he is a symbol to the DIY subculture of the authentic, independent artist, able to access and employ alternative channels (rather than established forms of distribution) to share his music. The value of an "Andy" archetype suggests a community created around common values. This study exposes the role of subversion, a need to express one's personal complexity, and reciprocity within the community, centering on the need for independence. From who do the indie artists gain independence? As self-identified outsiders, they easily see the contradictions within the mainstream and engage in behaviors suggesting they want to be apart from it. For the community, independence exists by being separate from the mainstream. Yet, unable to turn their backs completely on the mainstream, Andy and the community around him, must engage in a series of tradeoffs. Therefore, a contradiction emerges. How can a community be independent and still interact with the mainstream? Autonomy creates itself on a personal front and a "low-fi" culture of homemade and self-produced alternatives surface. Andy's significance and success in the Winston-Salem DIY low-fi community means that his trade offs are lower than most.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2007
Anthropology Cultural, Biography, Music, Sociology General

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