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Archive for the 'Workshop Announcements' Category

April 28: Timothy Rommen

Please join us for another Spring workshop on 4/28 at 4:30pm in Rm. 205, Goodspeed Hall. Special guest Timothy Rommen, Professor of Music and Africana Studies, University of Pennsylvania, will present his new research, in a paper titled “It Sounds Better in the Bahamas: Musicians, Management, and Markets in Nassau’s All-Inclusive Hotels.” As usual, light refreshments will be served. See below for an abstract.



Premise: Ethnomusicologists working in the Caribbean have historically, and for a variety of reasons, generally avoided focusing on music in touristic contexts. Scholars in disciplines such as anthropology, cultural geography, and leisure studies, for their part, have focused solely on tourism, leaving any engagement with music to the “experts.” And yet, all-inclusive resorts represent one of the primary sites of encounter between local musicians and tourists throughout the Caribbean. More to the point, tourism is such a ubiquitous economic and social fact in the region that it must be taken seriously as a lens through which to understand and analyze local musical production.

Context: “It’s better in the Bahamas!”—claims the nation’s current tourism slogan. But what exactly is this better “it”? Assuming, for a moment, that an answer might involve music in some way, the Ministry of Tourism has virtually no ability to control whether or how tourists will experience “it” while visiting the Bahamas. This is the case because there is virtually no live music on offer outside of hotels. The live music that is performed in the hotels, moreover, is almost entirely disconnected from (cultural) policy and labor concerns (due to the lack of an effective musicians’ union). In fact, the hotels in which visitors experience their Bahamian vacations are, essentially, free agents. They all have their own branding to worry about and their own commitments to clientele, and this is especially the case at the all-inclusive resorts such as Sandals and Breezes that promise a package experience to their guests. What role do musicians play in these contexts? What creative constraints do they face? How do they make decisions about repertory and style?

Case Study: With these ideas in mind, this paper explores the complicated dynamics attendant to contemporary tourism in the Bahamas, focusing on two musicians—Funky D and Alia—who have built their careers around performing for tourists at all-inclusive hotels (Breezes, in particular). Paying particular attention to notions of craft, to genre expectations, to agency and encounter, and to exploring the ambivalences, joys, and frustrations they experience in negotiating their positions within all-inclusive resorts (both as employees and as performers), this paper makes a case for why ethnomusicological perspectives on music touristics are so urgently needed in the region.

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April 14: Braxton Shelley

Please join us this coming Thursday, 4/14/2016 for a presentation by Braxton Shelley, a PhD candidate in the Department of Music. His presentation is titled “A Sacred Symbol: The Gospel Vamp’s Divine Choreography.” Braxton will introduce his dissertation chapter, which you can find here. Please focus on pages 17-27 in particular.

As usual, the workshop will be held at 4:30pm in Room 205, Goodspeed Hall (1010 E 59th St), and light refreshments will be served.


In this chapter, I develop a theory of the relationship between the gospel vamp and “shouting,” a referent for holy dancing among many African American Christians. After contextualizing the brand of movement that is often coincident with gospel performance historically and culturally, I shape an understanding of “shouting” as the embodied performance of transcendence. Analyzing the interpenetration of music and movement in a communion service at Chicago’s Greater Harvest Missionary Baptist Church, I will point out the “theology of sound” that underpins these practices, reading these phenomena through the work of theologians ranging from Thomas Aquinas, Louis Marie Chauvet and Yves Congar to J. Kameron Carter and Ashon Crawley. The pneumatology implied by gospel performance will come into sharper relief through analyses of performances of Lashun Pace’s “In Everything Give Thanks” and Glenn Burleigh’s “The Name.” In these performances, I am interested in the ability of the vamp, when modified, to substitute for shouting music. Building on Lawrence Zbikowski’s work in cognitive musicology, I will propose that the gospel vamp functions as a sonic analog to “shouting.” I will argue that through its relationship to these transcendent movements, the vamp accrues for itself something of the sacred: it becomes a kind of sonic sacrament by choreographing physical encounter with the divine.


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April 7: Mateo Mulcahy

This week we are delighted and honored to start the Spring Quarter with a presentation by Mateo Mulcahy, Director of Community Projects and Events, Old Town School of Folk Music. His presentation is titled: “Awareness, Deep Engagement, and Sustainability: Presenting Endangered Musics to Audiences in Chicago.”  Please see abstract and bio below.

We will meet in our regular place at our regular time: Thursday, April 7, 4:30-6:00pm in Godspeed Hall, Room 205. As always, our workshop is open to the public, and all are welcome.


As programmer of World Music Wednesdays and the Global Dance Party series at the Old Town School of Folk Music, Matthew “Mateo” Mulcahy works to bring endangered music, artists, and traditions from around the globe to U.S. audiences. These musical traditions are those in danger of extinction or assimilation, surviving through only a handful of practitioners or cultural standard bearers for their communities. This presentation will discuss the challenges that emerge from programming endangered musical practices. One challenge is to develop blueprints for presenting and raising awareness for endangered arts in a meaningful way. This entails identifying artists, facilitating and producing tours, and developing performance and educational residencies. A second challenge is to create financial opportunities such as pursuing grant funding and developing budgets. A third challenge is to develop promotional strategies and community outreach. Discussed will be how to meet these challenges through deep engagement, defined as artist engagement that includes activities which reach a diverse demographic through performance, education, collaboration, and exchange in a variety of settings and locations with a substantive media footprint. Mulcahy argues that endangered arts will only survive if there is an audience to support them. Since many artists in isolated communities have increasingly fewer opportunities to express their arts in their own communities and rely on the broader world community to sustain their arts, presenters and consumers of ethnic arts have a responsibility to create the infrastructure and audiences to sustain and preserve them for future generations.

Mulcahy holds a B.A. in Spanish/International Development from Washington University. He has worked in the music entertainment business for more than 30 years in many different capacities: radio host and producer, video documentary producer, concert promoter, DJ and DJ business owner, live music venue owner and manager, talent buyer, musician and vocalist in salsa groups. Since 2006 he has worked as the Director of Community Projects and Events at The Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. At the Old Town School Mulcahy is responsible for supervising all community and outreach projects including the World Music Wednesday Series, Field Trips, Thursday World Music Workshop Series, Global Dance Party Series, and other initiatives that engage new audiences. Mulcahy also manages partnerships, international exchange, and residencies with institutions and organizations at the local, national and international levels, producing over 100 concerts a year for the School.  He has previously served as a panelist for MIDSEM in 2010, 4° Encuentro de las Artes Escénicas in Mexico, MICSUR in Argentina, FIMVEN in Venezuela, and for grant applications with the National Endowment of the Arts, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, and the GlobalFEST Touring Fund. In 2013 he curated and co-produced a 12-episode televised series, Musicology: Live From The Old Town School Of Folk Music, which aired in partnership with WYCC PBS Chicago.

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March 9: Rudolf Pietsch

This week we are delighted and honored to welcome Rudolf Pietsch, Prof. Dr, and Deputy Director, Institut für Volksmusikforschung und Ethnomusikologie, Vienna, for a special Wednesday workshop sponsored in conjunction with the Music History/Theory workshop. His presentation will be on the topic “Sound aspects caused by the formation of intentional and accidental multipart instrumental music.” He will draw examples from various Austrian musical ensembles.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This workshop is on Wednesday, March 9 in a special location, room 801 in the Logan Center for the Arts.

In addition to his scholarly work, Professor Pietsch in an eminent musician (for a sample performance, see We invite you to join us for his presentation, the ensuing conversation, and refreshments on Wednesday, March 9  in Logan 801 from 4:30-6pm.

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March 3: Nadine Hubbs

This week we are delighted and honored to welcome Nadine Hubbs, professor of women’s studies and music at the University of Michigan, for a special Thursday workshop sponsored in conjunction with the Music History/Theory workshop. Her presentation is entitled, “How the White Working Class (Supposedly) Became Homophobic: Antibourgeois Country and the Middle-Classing of the Queer.”

IMPORTANT NOTE: This workshop is in a special location, room 801 in the Logan Center for the Arts.

Nadine Hubbs is professor of women’s studies and music and faculty associate in American culture at the University of Michigan, where she also directs the Lesbian-Gay-Queer Research Initiative. She has written on gender and sexuality in popular and concert music throughout many essays and reviews and in two books, The Queer Composition of America’s Sound (California 2004), and Rednecks, Queers, and Country Music (California 2014). Music and gender-sexuality studies are fused with class analysis in Rednecks and her other recent work, including “‘Jolene,’ Genre, and the Everyday Homoerotics of Country Music: Dolly Parton’s Loving Address of the Other Woman,” published last fall in Women and Music, and two forthcoming essays: “The Promised Land: Springsteen’s Epic Heterosexuality and Prospects for Queer Life” and “How the White Working Class (Supposedly) Became Homophobic: Antibourgeois Country and the Middle-Classing of the Queer.”

We heartily invite you to join us for the presentation, ensuing conversation, and refreshments on Thursday, March 3 in Logan 801 from 4:30-6pm.

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February 18: Inna Naroditskya

This week’s workshop features Inna Naroditskaya, Professor of Musicology and Ethnomusicology at Northwestern University. She will be presenting a paper on tango entitled “. . . now I’m here, I’m dancing a tango” (L. Bernstein, Candide). The abstract is posted below.


We will meet in our regular place at our regular time: Thursday, Feb 18, 4:30-6:00pm in Godspeed Hall, Room 205. As always, our workshop is open to the public, and all are welcome.



When tango, fenced off as a hobby from my occupation as an ethnomusicologist, gradually turns into fieldwork, when ethnographic research begins not as a study of others, but as an ethnography of self, the dance steps become a metaphor of migration, head-spinning pivots, dislocating sacadas, and desired axis linked with diasporic transition and craving for stability. The pleasure of dance links my personal story, with Russian and Jewish immigration sagas in Chicago, Odessa, Buenos Aires, elsewhere.

Attempting to make sense of the sizable presence of Soviet immigrants in the Chicago tango scene brings me hundred years back – in Russia, where during the turbulent march towards WWI, twentieth century futurism, cubism, suprematism had a “rendezvous with tango.” The tango craze spun across Russian classical repertoire (Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Prokofiev), operettas, cinematography (Dunaevsky), popular music, and dance. While tango plied the ocean from South America to Europe and Russia, Russian Jews at approximately the same time migrated to Americas.

The tango scene, populated by Jewish musicians, entrepreneurs, and dancers, seems inherently related to Jewish musical sensibilities; tango’s nostalgic, often heartbreaking tone resonates with the tragedy of pogroms, exiles, and the Holocaust. Tango songs map the patterns of Jewish immigration: “El Choclo” lived a double life as an early Argentine tango tune and a Jewish drinking song in Odessa. The melody of “Papirosen,” a tango song premiered on the New York stage, was sang decades before in Russia. Its reincarnation in the first Soviet musical film attained mass popularity, while “Papirosen” itself was reintroduced to the Jewish Soviet crowd by the Israeli Sisters Barry. Whether or not conscious of cultural links between tango, Russian modernism, and Yiddish culture, Russian Jewish immigrants in Chicago and elsewhere are attuned to tango songs and challenging tango movement.

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February 11: Edwin Seroussi

This week’s workshop features Visiting Professor Edwin Seroussi (Emanuel Alexandre Professor of Musicology and director of the Jewish Music Research Centre at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem).

In preparation for Professor Seroussi’s talk, we ask that you read his paper, “Nostalgic Soundscapes: The Future of Israel’s Sonic Past” (Israel Studies, Volume 19, Number 2, Summer 2014). (e-mail for the paper)

Please also listen to the following three songs (discussed in the article):

Kobi Oz, “Elohai” (Hebrew: “My God”)

Yehuda Polikar, “Limonero” (Judeo-Spanish: “The Lemon Vendor”)

Dudu Tasa and the Kuweitim, “Walla ajabni jamalak” (Arabic: “Oh my God, I loved your beauty”)


You are invited to join us for dinner (at a location TBD in Hyde Park) with Professor Seroussi after the workshop. Please let us know if you are interested in attending.

We will meet in our regular place at our regular time: Thursday, Feb 11, 4:30-6:00pm in Godspeed Hall, Room 205. As always, our workshop is open to the public, and all are welcome.


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January 21: Will Buckingham

This week’s workshop features Doctoral Candidate in Ethnomusicology Will Buckingham. He will be presenting his paper “‘Tienes que conocer la décima’: Ethnic Identity and Spanish Ballad in St Bernard Parish, Louisiana.” The abstract for this paper is posted below.


We will meet in our regular place at our regular time: ThursdayJan 21, 4:30-6:00pm in Godspeed Hall, Room 205. As always, our workshop is open to the public, and all are welcome.


This chapter presents a music history of the Louisiana décima, tracing its contested ontologies and role in defining, representing, and negotiating Isleño identity from the earliest available historical sources through theethnographic present. I ask how and why this genre of song has maintained such an integral place in the imagination of Isleño identity as I try to present this history coherently, while keeping much of its richness and complexity intact. To that end, rather than suggesting an essential, unitary understanding of the décima, I explore a variety of positions,conceptualizing the décima as a polysemous discursive category engaged by diverse agents in different times and circumstances.


You can access the paper via our “downloads” page (see the link bar above). E-mail for the password.

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January 14: Rehanna Kheshgi

Our first workshop meeting of the quarter, this Thursday, Jan 14, features Doctoral Candidate in Ethnomusicology Rehanna Kheshgi. She will be presenting her paper “Performing Youthful Desires: The Gabhoru Body as Creative Force in Assam, India.“ The abstract for this paper is posted below.


We will meet in our regular place at our regular time: Thursday, Jan 14, 4:30-6:00pm in Godspeed Hall, Room 205. As always, our workshop is open to the public, and all are welcome.


Recent studies of popular culture, globalization, and gender in South Asia have recognized the importance of critically engaging with youth culture as a site for debating social values and shaping subjectivities. But few move beyond cosmopolitan centers to incorporate experiences of young people in rural areas. In this talk, I follow a group of young performers from the village courtyard to the proscenium stage, exploring their participation in fertility rituals for agricultural prosperity and aestheticized competitions associated with the springtime bihu festival celebrated in the northeastern Indian state of Assam. Bihu festival songs narrate romantic encounters between women and men, offering a set of stock characters for young people to take on through performance. Intimate and illicit encounters that happen during bihu inspire a shared romantic drama that unfolds in village courtyards, on festival stages, and on television screens across the state of Assam. I argue that the blurring of onstage and offstage personas creates opportunities for young performers to experiment with socially determined boundaries of gender and sexuality, but this freedom also constitutes a context in which young women (gabhoru) are especially vulnerable to threats of bodily harm.

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Winter Quarter 2016 Schedule

Happy New Year! We are pleased to announce our presenters for the winter quarter (see below). Please note that all workshops, unless otherwise indicated, will be held on Thursdays at 4:30pm in Rm. 205, Goodspeed Hall (1010 E 59th St., Chicago, IL 60637).


Winter Quarter Schedule:


January 14: UofC graduate student Rehanna Kheshgi

“Performing Youthful Desires: The Gabhoru Body as Creative Force in Assam, India”


January 21: UofC graduate student Will Buckingham

“The Louisiana Décima and the Isleño Heritage Revival”


February 4: UofC graduate student Genevieve Dempsey

“‘There in the Sky is Santa Maria’: The Sound of Gender in Afro-Brazilian Sacred Rituals”


Also of interest to EthNoise! attendees: Jewish Studies Workshop on Feb 8, 4:30-6:00:

Mili Leitner (UofC graduate student) presents “Reviving a Mythical Past: Understanding the Klezmer Revival Movement Through Its Album Art”


February 11: Edwin Seroussi (Emanuel Alexandre Professor of Musicology at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)


February 18: Inna Naroditskya (Professor of Musicology at Northwestern University)


March 3: Nadine Hubbs (Associate Professor of Women’s Studies and Music Theory at the University of Michigan)

Special session in collaboration with the Music History/Theory Workshop. Location: Logan Center, Rm. 801 (day and time are the same as usual)

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