News archive

Norton, Barley. 2009. Songs for the Spirits: Music and Mediums in Modern Vietnam. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press. Please click here for further information.

Frederick Moehn is delighted to join the faculty of the Institute for Ethnomusicology - Music and Dance at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, under the direction of Salwa Castelo-Branco, as a Research Associate in the Ciência 2008 program. He is currently teaching Theory and Methods in Ethnomusicology to 14 graduate students there. His article, "A Carioca Blade Runner, or How Percussionist Marcos Suzano Turned the Brazilian Tambourine into a Drum Kit and Other Matters of (Politically) Correct Music Making," was published in the latest issue of Ethnomusicology. He will be conducting new ethnographic research on LusAfrican music cultures while in Lisbon.

Angolan-Portuguese instrument designer and musician Victor Gama just sent me the URL of the new, beautifully constructed website that's part of a really worthwhile 12-year project, of which he is the director, to record and video traditional musicians in rural Angola and encourage them and their traditions by connecting them and their music to the outside world: Quite apart from the value of its content, the website is a shining example of how well ethnomusicology-related things can and might be done with the Web. A CD is about to be released too.

Submitted by Andrew Cronshaw,,

Books by BFE members have fared well in reviews in recent issues of Songlines magazine.

  • Rachel Harris’ book The Making of a Musical Canon in Chinese Central Asia: The Uyghur Twelve Muqam (Ashgate) was awarded 3 stars in the June issue.
  • Barley Norton’s Songs for the Spirits: Music and Spirit Mediums in Modern Vietnam (Illinois) was awarded 4 stars in the July issue.
  • Caroline Bithell’s Transported by Song: Corsican Voices from Oral Tradition to World Stage (Scarecrow) was awarded 5 stars in the August issue.
  • Eleni Kallimopoulou’s Paradosiaká: Music, Meaning and Identity in Modern Greece (Ashgate) was awarded

Thank you Songlines!

Barbara Lebrun has just completed her book entitled Protest Music in France: Production, Identity and Audiences, published by Ashgate (Folk and Popular Music Series). The book traces the evolution of protest music in France since 1981, exploring the contradictions that emerge when artists who take their musical production and political commitment 'seriously', cross over to the mainstream, becoming profitable and consensual. Barbara is a colleague in French Studies at the University of Manchester with a research specialism in popular music in France. For more information about the book, see Ashgate website.

Dear all,

I am delighted to announce the winner of this year's BFE prize for the best student paper presented at the annual conference. 

The prize has been awarded to Thomas Western for his submission "The Rigs of Time: Online Dissemination and the Oldness of Field Recordings". His paper was  presented this year at the BFE annual conference in Belfast.

The prize committee had a difficult decision to make given the high quality and quantity of submissions received. Thomas' paper was awarded the prize in recognition of it being

"A very sophisticated, well-written and stylish paper demonstrating peerless theoretical fluency and the ability to apply it appropriately. It makes a compelling case for thinking about the ways that the monuments of ethnomusicological recording entextualise ideologies while productively problematising ethnographic archives."

On behalf of the prize committee, the BFE committee and our wider membership, Thomas Western receives warm congratulations.

Kind regards,
Amanda Villepastour
Chair BFE

The winner of the 2009 prize for the best student paper presented at the 2009 annual conference at Liverpool John Moores University goes to Sue Miller for her paper, "'The Thieving Magpie': Musical Borrowing, Quotes and Signifiers in Cuban Charanga Improvisation". The panel thought this was highly original work, demonstrating an expert knowledge of the subject matter, using superb examples chosen with a performer’s as well as an audience perspective, pertinent and persuasive use relevant theory woven into the narrative, and tightly timed presentation. Many congratulations!

The British Library launches new traditional and world music collections online at Featuring unique field recordings, live performances and out-of-print commercial releases, this latest addition to the JISC-funded Archival Sound Recordings website provides a sample of musical traditions from around the world - offering a valuable resource for ethnomusicologists. See also

Ashgate have offered 20% discount on their ethnomusicology titles to BFE members. By using this link, you'll be taken to a hidden area of the Ashgate site with the available titles. When you get to the checkout you'll need this promotional code "H11FJW20" to get the full 20% discount, rather than the standard 10% discount for ordering online. For more information on how to become a member, see Membership link on this web site.