News archive

Stefanie Alisch recently completed a two-month stay in Lisbon where she undertook research into the local kuduro scene as part of her PhD project in musicology at the Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies (BIGSAS), Germany. Alisch interviewed DJs who were pivotal in the dissemination of the style in Africa during the mid-1990ies to 2002, visited music studios, attended kuduro events and participated in dance classes. She conducted a number of innovative participatory video interviews with kuduro dancers, in which she danced with practitioners, asked them to demonstrate dance moves, and recorded her attempts to copy the moves. The research trip was funded by BIGSAS. Read one of her posts at the "os kuduristas" website.

Image: Nelson Gomes (Príncipe Discos) and DJ Maboku (Pequenos DJs do Gueto) on stage at Noite Príncipe in Lisbon club Musicbox, December 2012

The Middle East and Central Asia Music Forum was established in 2007 to provide an opportunity for those researching the musics of the region. The Forum meets twice a year, usually in Senate House. With the support of the British Forum for Ethnomusicology and the Centre for Music Studies, City University London, the first meeting of the 2012-2013 academic year was held on Thursday December 6, 2012, at Senate House. The meeting featured presentations by John Baily, Carolyn Landau, Simone Tarsitani, Miranda Crowdus, Owen Wright, Nina ter Laan, Stephen Wilford, and Sara Manasseh. Review on this event, written by Marie Saunders, PhD student at City University, is available below.

The legendary Eoan Group has performed opera, ballet and drama since the 1930s. It was the first amateur company in South Africa to perform dance, theatre and grand opera often to packed houses in Cape Town’s best concert halls. Intensifying Apartheid legislation since the 1960s affected the Group’s morale, although they continued to perform whenever they could before mixed audiences. Based on extensive interviews with former Eoan members, and rich visual and archival material, the comprehensive publication “Eoan: Our Story” (edited by Wayne Muller and Hilde Roos) makes a unique contribution to South African music history. It illustrates not only how difficult it was for many people to work in the classical arts during the apartheid years, but also how music and the arts can bring meaning to the lives of communities and individuals. Read more about the Eoan Group on the website of The Documentation Centre for Music at Stellenbosch University (DOMUS) and find the press release of the publishers below. For more information, contact also (Hilde Roos)!

Reel to Real is a project running at the Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford, designed to digitise and deliver the museum's unique ethnographic sound recordings. Please visit the project blog for project updates and emerging content, including a beautiful short professional film of the recent 'sound galleries' event on November 23rd 2012. Curated by (Dr Noel Lobley) and Embedded composer in residence, Nathaniel Mann, a four hour playlist of Bayaka music was programmed, broadcast and streamed live from within darkened galleries as thousands of visitors explored by torchlight. The webcast was watched live in the Central African Republic by a group of Bayaka people who walked for more than an hour to get to a satellite phone in the WWF office in Bayanga.   

The Digital Children’s Folksongs for Language and Cultural Learning (Folk DC) project is a European Union project designed to motivate young language learners to engage with language learning through using Folk songs, and activities around the songs. The songs are in 10 European languages (Czech, Danish, English, Finnish, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Turkish). The project has producing a complete package for schools (Autonomous Teacher Training Tool kit – ATTT) so that schools all over Europe can take part in the project. Browse the Folk DC website! The end of the project will be marked by simultaneous live concerts in five European countries (UK, Turkey, Finland, Romania and Spain), live streamed on 23 April 2013.

1 Sep 2012

Starting in fall 2012, the Musicology Department of the Georg August University Göttingen will offer a Master's program in Cultural Musicology. Enrolment for the academic year 2012/2013 is still possible. For further information please see here, or contact (Prof. Dr. Birgit Abels).

The Fourth International Doctoral Workshop: Current Trends in Ethnomusicological Research was held from 27th to 30th June at the recently established Center for World Music (CWM), University of Hildesheim, Germany. The workshop emerged as a collaboration between the CWM and the Hanover University of Music, Media and Drama. Sixteen doctoral students at various stages of their research came together for three full days of presentations and discussions that aimed to represent current research trends in the field of ethnomusicology. Directed by Prof. Philip V. Bohlman (Chicago/Hanover), Prof. Raimund Vogels (CWM/Hanover), organised by Dr. Thomas Hilder (CWM) and with a keynote address presented by Dr. Julio Mendívil (Hanover), the workshop was an excellent opportunity for doctoral students from across the world to come together in an intellectually stimulating environment. Read more of the review by Matthew Machin (PhD Candidate, Cardiff University) here! 

Bronwen Robertson has recently published her book, titled “Reverberations of Dissent: Identity and Expression in Iran's Illegal Music Scene” (2012, continuum). It is about the rich youth culture in Iran, centered around rock music and being beneath the ever-changing and unstable political climate of that country. Reaching beyond a social, historical and political overview of music, Bronwen Robertson looks deeper and seeks to decipher how members of the underground scene invent and express different versions of ‘being Iranian’ through the production and distribution of their music. Robertson spent a year undercover in Tehran, conducting research and interviews within this complex and fascinating culture. This illuminating work demonstrates that rock music, a global genre, gains significance as it is performed in a local context, disrupting pre-conceived notions of what it means to be ‘Iranian’. UCLA's Professor Timothy D. Taylor says, "Based on fearless fieldwork in Iran, Bronwen Robertson offers an eye-opening account of music in Iran's illegal music world. This book offers a rich and compelling portrait of courageous musicians in a part of the world that requires such courage." See more here.

The BFE Student Prize is offered for the best student paper presented at the BFE annual conferences. This year’s prize is awarded to Joe Browning, currently writing up his PhD thesis in ethnomusicology at SOAS, University of London, for his paper "Responsive spaces, vocal places: environmental performance interactions in solo shakuhachi recordings“. The judges were impressed by many aspects his paper and comment the following: “This is a sophisticated paper with a complex argument, squarely located in contemporary debates surrounding listening and the boundaries between ‘high fidelity’ and ‘studio art’. The paper skilfully winds in technology, soundscape and environment, offering a highly original perspective on ‘performance interaction’. Three levels of ‘listening’ presented are carefully explicated and well worked through. The idea that the recordings analysed aim both to control agencies and allow them to speak through is intriguing, and could be the focus of further investigation, particularly with regard to issues of authenticity.” Congratulations, Joe, on this award! 

Joe Browning replied: "It's been very encouraging to receive the BFE student essay prize and has helped to further motivate and direct my research. This only adds to the constructive comments I received after presenting my paper and the stimulating atmosphere of the Durham conference more broadly."

Sydney Hutchinson (Assistant Professor, Syracuse University) designed and taught a new summer course on Dominican music and ethnomusicology in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic from June 3-18, 2012. For two intensive weeks, ten U.S. students and seven Dominican ones participated in daily seminars and practice sessions with local master musicians in the traditional palos and merengue típico genres. They also enjoyed lectures by guest speakers Martha Ellen Davis and Edis Sánchez, as well as field trips to local music clubs and museums, singer Xiomara Fortuna’s ecological ranch, and a hundred-year-old festival put on yearly by the Guillén family, a group of artisans in the town of Yamasá. The course concluded with a collaborative fieldwork project on the San Antonio festival in Cañada Andrés (Cañandré), a village in the southern province of San Cristóbal. Photos, videos, and descriptions written by the students will soon be available on the website of the host institution, Centro León. Plans are to continue the course annually. For more nformation, 
contact (Sydney Hutchinson) or SU Abroad (see course website).