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January 31 – Andrea Harris Jordan

Join us in support of our own! Andrea Harris Jordan will be presenting work from her dissertation on Thursday, January 31 in Goodspeed Hall room 205 at 4:30 pm. The background info is attached below. Check out this abstract for starters.


My doctoral research explores the intersection of music, literature and nationalism in nineteenth-century Ireland and how people intentionally use the past for particular goals in the present. Music, embedded in literature, can serve as a lens to allow us to rethink the ways in which people interpret their history in the present as well as how we write the history of the Irish nation and nationalism. I consider how descriptions of music and music-making, musical notations, and song texts were used in the 1800s within literature to promote nationalist—cultural and political—ends. I ask how Irish people today view their nineteenth-century past in light of music, literature and nationalism. Inherent in my project are issues of violence done to oral traditions and struggles of linguistic representation in the development of Hiberno-English. I address the role of the artist in political movements; gaps and closures between popular arts; efforts and perspectives of a literati class; and questions of gender in national representation. I contribute to ideas and methods of ethnomusicology as I engage in ethnography in the archive and in the field site of contemporary Ireland.

See you soon!

Jordan Ethnoise 1.31.13

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January 24 – Shane Greene


Join us Thursday, January 24th at 4:30 pm in Goodspeed Hall room 205 for this week’s workshop, featuring Shane Greene. Shane will be presenting On the Peruvian Reality of Punk’s Mode of Underproduction.

Abstract: Parting from the historical context of Peru’s 1980s underground punk scene – which emerged amid the country’s descent into a civil war and the rise of Shining Path Maoists – I develop a theory of punk as a mode of global underproduction. Theoretically, the aim is to elaborate on under-production as a point of relative contrast to both Marxian understandings of capitalist over-production and the more specifically aesthetic forms overproduction takes with artistic and musical commodities. I apply this theoretical framework both the general emergence of Lima’s “underground rock” phenomena in the 80s and to one of its most iconic examples of musical production: Narcosis’ “Primera Dosis” demo cassette first recorded in a garage in 1985. Details of its various lives of production and circulation – then on pirated cassette; now on US-produced vinyl – reveal the inherent relativity of under to over-production at different moments and in different contexts. Originally an under-produced icon of Lima’s street piracy-based market, “Primera Dosis” now also circulates as an over-produced status commodity in and outside of Peru.


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January 17 – Gabriel Solis

Please join us in welcoming Gabriel Solis and workshopping his paper “The Black Pacific: Music and Racialization in Papua New Guinea and Australia.” The abstract and link to the full paper are below. Thursday, January 17th at 4:30 pm in Goodspeed Hall, room 205. Refreshments will be served.

When Mandawuy Yunupingu, of the Aboriginal Australian band Yothu Yindi, recorded the song, “Treaty” in 1991, he used a prominent, Funk bass and drum part.  Similarly, when Tolai singer George Telek wrote the song “West Papua,” calling for an end to Indonesian colonialism, he modeled it on the music of Bob Marley and the Wailers.  Together these two songs amount to high points in a proliferating field of African Diasporic musical references in the work of politicized artists in the Southwestern Pacific.  This paper argues that the connection between music, blackness, and the anticolonial struggle for Indigenous peoples in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Australia is neither incidental nor insignificant; in fact, it is a crucial linkage in what Howard Winant calls the “trajectory of racial politics.”  I combine ethnographic and historical research in the Australia and PNG, showing that local identifications with blackness as a racialized identity category is politically effective and has served as a way of recognizing and engaging the modern world system from an explicitly subaltern position. 

Crucially, I draw attention in this study to the making of a “Black Pacific” through ongoing interactions in the region between Indigenous peoples—Aborigines and Melanesians—and people of African descent.  The history I trace in this paper is one in which mass-mediated musical products—first sheet music, later sound recordings and now video—have played a significant role, but only as part of a process of social action that critically involved black sailors, servicemen, and artists beginning at least as early as the late 19th century.  The importance of African Diasporic people in the Pacific is less widely discussed than in the Atlantic, and less commonly recognized than that of Europeans in the region representing the colonial powers, particularly England and France.  Nevertheless, my research shows the profound effect of a steady flow of black people, mostly from the U.S. and the Caribbean, in disseminating black music and equally importantly, ideas about resistance and liberation associated with that music.

Perhaps most importantly, this paper adds to the literature on racialization as a global phenomenon from an Africentric perspective. Most scholarship on blackness in the Pacific has been implicitly Eurocentric, treating the development of race in the region simply as a product of the Anglo power structure, and has focused on the antimony of black and white.  As a result, too little attention has been paid to African Diasporic people and their connections with Indigenous peoples in the development of racial consciousness within the black Pacific.  In this project I highlight black people’s perspectives on their own artistic products and their relationship to racial identity.  In that light, music serves as an ideal focal point for the development of an Africentric and Indigenous-centric counter-narrative, because it has served as a key mode for both identification with and the expression of blackness in the region.


Solis_Black Pacific_Ethnoise

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January 10 – Tiago Meireles

Welcome back!
We’re kicking off winter quarter with a presentation by Tiago Meireles on Brazilian Neopentecostal Religiosity and Music Performances. The paper is below. Please join us in Goodspeed Hall, room 205 on January 10, 2013 at 4:30 p.m. for a lively discussion.

Meireles _ brazilian neopentecostal music

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November 15 – Gianpaolo Chiriacò

Please join us this Thursday, November 15th at 4:30 pm as we discuss “Voice of the Origins: Hypotheses Towards a Vocal Aesthetic within the African Diaspora” with Gianpaolo Chiriacò. Gianpaolo comes to us from the Università del Salento, and is currently a fellow at the Center for Black Music Research. Please review the pre-circulated materials and come prepared for an informative discussion of the ROTVOSCIAME project.


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October 18 – SEM Conference Dry-Runs

Please join us Thursday, October 18 at 4:30 pm in Goodspeed 205 as we help some of our own prepare for the showdown in New Orleans! Papers will be presented by Alisha Lola Jones and Michael O’Toole. As always, refreshments will be served.


“This Prayer Is UnSpoken”: Redefining Faith, Blasphemy, and Authentic Worship through Musical Performance – Jones

Throughout his 2009 recording, UnSpoken, the Pentecostal artist TON3X explores the queer practices that he believes are embedded in Christianity. Although these practices are generally not discussed in most Pentecostal churches or on contemporary gospel recordings, TON3X uses lyrics to illustrate the kind of honesty toward which he believes Christians should strive. For TON3X, such transparency about specific personal triumphs amounts to a form of authentic worship. To worship God “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24) is thus a radical exploration of matters that are not set apart for a particular socioreligious context outside of worship but that have particular saliency within a Christian frame. In this paper, I examine TON3X’s demonstration of worship “in spirit and in truth.” We will consider the extent to which his musical interpretation of authentic worship evokes a less sexually restrictive performance of faith and the re-appropriation of “blasphemy” as a tool for spiritual education and worship.

Rehearsing Publics in a ‘Turkish Art Music’ Ensemble in Berlin – O’Toole

How are publics imagined through the practices of rehearsal? How does the rehearsal space itself constitute a form of imagining a public? Ethnomusicological studies of publics, drawing upon the work of Michael Warner and Charles Hirschkind, have tended to focus on how publics are constituted in and through musical performance as well as media forms such as radio and recordings. And yet crucial to the formation of publics through performance are the ways in which publics are imagined and represented in the practice of rehearsing for a performance. In this paper, I will consider the ways in which a variety of potential publics are imagined and represented in the rehearsals of an amateur ensemble for Turkish Art Music in Berlin, Germany. Drawing on participant observation at rehearsals and concerts, as well as interviews with ensemble members, I will argue that the activity of rehearsing enables participants in this ensemble to imagine themselves as members of multiple publics, as well as to situate the ensemble itself as a form of public-making. I will argue that this process of public-making through rehearsing is crucial to understanding the political context of musical practice for Turkish Germans in Berlin, where the formation of publics is deeply intertwined with local constructions of ethnic, religious, and musical difference. By imagining multiple forms of local, national, and diasporic publics through the practices of rehearsing, performers of Turkish Art Music in Berlin can craft varied interventions in struggles over the representation of identity and citizenship in contemporary Germany.


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Thank you!

Thanks to all who attended tonight’s EthNoise! Please continue the discussion by reaching Marti Newland at and Paul Kwami at Next week – SEM dry-runs!

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Oct 11 – Marti Newland and Paul T. Kwami

All are welcome to the first EthNoise! of the year, featuring Marti Newland and Paul T. Kwami

On the Value of Quietness: Dr. Paul T. Kwami Conducting the Fisk Jubilee Singers®

Thursday, October 11 at 4:30 p.m. in Goodspeed Hall, room 205

The Fisk Jubilee Singers, an acapella concert spiritual ensemble comprised of Fisk University students directed by Dr. Paul T. Kwami, continue to perform the concert spiritual singing tradition established by the original ensemble in the 1870s. Renowned for their vocal virtuosity, the Singers regularly present themselves in concert with dignified poise and without the appearance of a choral conductor. This critical examination of Kwami’s conducting describes how his divergence from traditional ideals of Western choral conducting shapes the Fisk Jubilee Singers’ distinct style of self-led performances. Drawing from fieldwork and Kevin Quashie’s The Sovereignty of Quiet (2012), I discuss how Kwami’s mode of conducting educates the Singers about how to manage politics of racial inequality through a quiet presence and make audible their repertoire’s message of Christian faith.

After a brief documentary screening, we will be pleased to present Dr. Paul T. Kwami, Musical Director of the Fisk Jubilee Singers® and Marti Newland, Ph.D. Candidate in Ethnomusicology at Columbia University.

There is a pre-circulated paper, available here: Newland UChicago EthNoise Paper

Also, follow this link for a sample of the music to be discussed:


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May 24th – Lillian Wohl

Please join us for the Ethnoise! workshop this Thursday, May 24th at 4:30, in Goodspeed Hall room 205. Lillian Wohl, PhD candidate in Ethnomusicology, will present: 

“The Café and the Espectáculo: ‘Diasporic Cannibals,’ Collective Remembrance, and Musical Mate[realities] in Jewish Performance at the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA)

The 1994 bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires (the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina, or AMIA) endures as a lasting site of profound significance, central to the question of Jewish belonging in Argentina. In the wake of this attack, cultural forms have come to bear greater importance as markers of Jewish identity within both secular-ethnic and religiously observant Jewish communities, where a renegotiation of the forms and values of personal and communal interests intersect with public, politicized discourses on memory, justice, and oblivion. While the AMIA building was rebuilt and re-inaugurated in 1999, and now functions as a working mutual aid society, library, archive, and administrative center, it is through the social worlds provided by musical engagement that community participants explore a variety of expressive practices to commemorate Jewish heritage through the performance of Jewish music and memory. As the most important center for Jewish music appreciation in Argentina, the AMIA plays a critical role in determining the character of Jewish music in Buenos Aires, disseminating music, and providing support to musicians traveling in the region. In this paper, I will discuss two spaces of musical performance, the Café Literario and the weekly espectáculos performed in the Auditorio AMIA.I offer an understanding of these disparate musical materials performed at AMIA, by analyzing them through the theoretical lens of cultural cannibalism. Proposed by the Brazilian theorist of the early 20th century, Osvald de Andrade, and appropriated by the Brazilian tropicalists in the 1960s, “cultural cannibalism” refers to a style of creative engagement that mixes disparate pop, traditional, and radical aesthetic elements to form a comprehensive mode of self-expression and self-definition with decisively political connotations. I believe that an exploration of the social and aesthetic processes of incorporation that define the politicized, Jewish experience in Buenos Aires point to a “diasporic cannibalism” at work in the commemorative musical practices at AMIA, where performers localize musical forms and traditions from the wide variety of styles associated with the global Jewish diaspora across historical periods. 

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May 17th – Gregory Savarimuthu

Please join us for the Ethnoise! workshop this Thursday, May 17th at 4:30, in Goodspeed Hall room 205.  We are excited to welcome Dr. Gregory Savarimuthu, Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Anthropology at Kannur University in Kerala, India, as he presents: 


“Aesthetics, Expressive culture and Indigenous Communities: A Bottom-up Perspective on Development”


Discussant:  Kaley Mason, Assistant Professor of Music, University of Chicago



The term ‘aesthetics’ has been subjected to philosophical discourse since ancient times. It has been understood differently and its nature has been expounded differently by different scholars. In most discourses, the close association between nature and aesthetics has been obvious though there may be differences in the details of its manifestation. Since the tribal people have been known for their symbiotic relationship with nature in their traditions and culture, eco-aesthetics with reference to the tribal people has a special significance and relevance. The present paper looks into this dimension and analyses its implication in the modern society, particularly with reference to development.


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