Members news

Dear BFE members, please do share your news with us. Whether it be news about your latest fieldwork trip, your media work or your performances, the release of your new book, your new academic appointment or PhD completion, your success in contests, prizes and grants or any other achievement, we would like to hear about it.

To share your news, please write a short announcement, attach a picture or two and send them to our BFE Administrator: (Fiorella Montero Diaz)

Older news are in news archive.

Sydney-based ethnomusicologist and BFE member Dr Muriel E. Swijghuisen Reigersberg has co-edited a volume entitled Making Congregational Music Local in Christian Communities Worldwide, which is due to be released by Routledge on 9th March 2018. Congratulations Muriel!

Making Congregational Music Local in Christian Communities Worldwide explores the ways that congregational music-making is integral to how communities around the world understand what it means to be ‘local’ and ‘Christian’. Showing how locality is produced, negotiated, and performed through music-making, this book draws on case studies from every continent that integrate insights from anthropology, ethnomusicology, cultural geography, mission studies, and practical theology. Four sections explore a central aspect of the production of locality through congregational music-making, addressing the role of historical trends, cultural and political power, diverging values, and translocal influences in defining what it means to be ‘local’ and ‘Christian’. This book contends that examining musical processes of localization can lead scholars to new understandings of the meaning and power of Christian belief and practice.

For more information and to purchase Muriel's co-edited volume, click on this link to the CRC Press website.



BFE member Matthew Machin-Autenrieth, currently a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge has been awarded a European Research Council Starting Grant. Worth €1.5 million, Matthew will lead a team-based project entitled ‘Past and Present Musical Encounters across the Strait of Gibraltar’ (MESG). Working alongside Matthew will be Dr Samuel Llano, a cultural historian and musicologist based at the University of Manchester. The project will also feature two 4-year postdoctoral positions and a PhD scholarship.

Over a period of 5 years starting in early 2018, MESG will explore how the notion of a collective European-North African cultural memory has been articulated through music for different sociopolitical ends in colonial and postcolonial contexts. Often based on the notion of convivencia (the alleged coexistence between Christians, Jews and Muslims in Islamic Spain), music has been employed as a means of social control and representation during French-Spanish colonialism in North Africa (1912–56), and as a model for multiculturalism and cultural diplomacy among North African communities in Europe today. Current scholarship on musical exchange between Europe and North Africa is fragmented, often focusing on isolated geographical case studies. There is limited understanding of how a collective cultural memory has shaped musical practice and discourse in the colonial past and the postcolonial present.

Rather than separating these historical periods, however, MESG analyses how modern-day practices of musical exchange in the region are shaped by discourses and networks formed during colonialism. Combining archival research, oral history and ethnographic fieldwork, this groundbreaking project brings together for the first time different geographical, linguistic and musical specialisms, leading towards an integrated understanding of musical exchange in the region. For the wider European context, the project is more important today than ever before. At a time of increased anti-immigration rhetoric and Islamophobia, music cannot be divorced from debates about difference that dominate in society. With musical exchange at its centre, MESG will bring about a greater understanding of how colonial legacies shape multiculturalism and intercultural dialogue at the frontier of Europe.

For more information on the project, please contact Matthew at

BFE member Ros Hawley is running a one day workshop on making music in hospital settings, informed by her Songbirds project with non-verbal children. The workshop will be held at Soas on June 24th 2017.

You can find out more about the fantastic work that Ros does at her website:

Clarinettist, music leader and consultant | music and health practitioner | klezmer performance tutor, The Michael Kahan Kapelye, The University of Manchester

Tel: +44 (0)7832148573

We are very proud to announce that Cassandre Balosso-Bardin, BFE member and previous recipient of the BFE Student Paper Prize, has been appointed as Lecturer in Music at the University of Lincoln! Huge congratulations to Cassandre, who gained this post in January 2017 after completing a one-year postdoctoral position working on wind instruments with a team of acousticians at the Sorbonne. This interdisciplinary project is called Geste-Acoustique-Musique, and was led by Sorbonnes-Universités and the Musée de l'Homme. During her postdoc, Cassandre worked closely with the acousticians from the Lutherie-Acoustique-Musique team at the Institut d'Alembert, UPMC, and Prof Patricio de la Cuadra (who is from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile) was a guest professor for the project for one year (see for more information about this project).

Regarding her exciting new appointment in Lincoln, Cassandre writes:

The Music Department at the University of Lincoln opened in September 2015 and I am currently developping the BA programme with my colleagues, making sure that ethnomusicology and music from all around the world is properly included. I am in the process of setting up a new World Music Concert Series at the Lincoln Performing Arts Centre, with the first concert scheduled to take place in November 2017. Lincoln University will also feature a brand new folk/world music ensemble in the new academic year.

Here is a link to Cassandre's staff page:

And here is a link to Cassandre's website, where you can find more information about her research and music projects:


This image shows Cassandre Balosso-Bardin recording and monitoring the pressure in the bag of a Galician bagpipe with Patricio de la Cuadra (Professor in Acoustics at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile). The piper in the picture is Anxo Lorenzo, an acclaimed virtuoso gaitero from Galicia in Spain who plays concerts throughout Europe. 

BFE Member Dr Henry Johnson has recently co-edited with Ian Chapman a ground-breaking volume entitled 'Global Glam and Popular Music: Style and Spectacle from the 1970s to the 2000s'. Published by Routledge and featuring chapters by diverse music researchers covering Glam scenes across the globe, this book offers a truly international perspective on the inception, development and spread of Glam in its many different cultural manifestations. The editors write:

"Approaching glam music performance and style broadly, and using the glam/glitter rock genre of the early 1970s as a foundation for case studies and comparisons, the volume engages with subjects that help in defining the glam phenomenon in its many manifestations and contexts. Glam rock, in its original, term-defining inception, had its birth in the UK in 1970/71, and featured at its forefront acts such as David Bowie, T. Rex, Slade, and Roxy Music. Termed "glitter rock" in the US, stateside artists included Alice Cooper, Suzi Quatro, The New York Dolls, and Kiss. In a global context, glam is represented in many other cultures, where the influences of early glam rock can be seen clearly. In this book, glam exists at the intersections of glam rock and other styles (e.g., punk, metal, disco, goth). Its performers are characterized by their flamboyant and theatrical appearance (clothes, costumes, makeup, hairstyles), they often challenge gender stereotypes and sexuality (androgyny), and they create spectacle in popular music performance, fandom, and fashion. The essays in this collection comprise theoretically-informed contributions that address the diversity of the world’s popular music via artists, bands, and movements, with special attention given to the ways glam has been influential not only as a music genre, but also in fashion, design, and other visual culture."

'Global Glam and Popular Music: Style and Spectacle from the 1970s to the 2000s' can be purchased from the Routledge website (click on the link below) where more information regarding the volume is also available:


Click on the following link to check out BFE member Gerardo Yllera's teaser video from his documentary about the making of a Flamenco guitar in Jerez de la Frontera (Spain):

'Flamenco Guitar' is the first chapter of the forthcoming documentary series which will describe different musical cultures all over the world through the creators of their instruments. The subject of Greardo's documentary is Flamenco guitar maker David Peña Vargas, who lives and works in the Andalucian town of Jerez de la Frontera, in the Flamenco heartland of southern Spain. In his synopsis of the film, Gerardo writes:

"As we see how he builds a guitar starting from simple wooden slats, we will know his personal life, how he came to this profession, his aspirations and the world that surrounds him. Through the workshop will pass major guitarists as Diego del Morao and Antonio Rey, who will tell us about various aspects of the instrument. We will see the musical life of the streets and bars of Jerez and how Flamenco influences the life of its inhabitants."


SOAS Research Associate and BFE Member Dr Alexander Knapp has recently co-edited with Norman Solomon a book entitled 'Ernest Bloch Studies', which features essays by leading scholars on Bloch cover all periods of his creative output and its reception around the world. Chapter contributors to this landmark volume are Ernest Bloch II, Alexander Knapp, Stanley Henig, Norman Solomon, Klára Móricz, Malcolm Miller, David Schiller, David Z. Kushner, Philip V. Bohlman, Jehoash Hirshberg and Zecharia Plavin. The book has been published by Cambridge University Press as the latest edition in the ' Cambridge Composer Studies' series. CUP says of the volume:

"Ernest Bloch left his native Switzerland to settle in the United States in 1916. One of the great twentieth-century composers, he was influenced by a range of genres and styles - Jewish, American and Swiss - and his works reflect his lifelong struggle with his identity. Drawing on firsthand recollections of relatives and others who knew and worked with the composer, this collection is the most comprehensive study to date of Bloch's life, musical achievement and reception. Contributors present the latest research on Bloch's works and compositional practice, including studies of his Avodath Hakodesh (Sacred Service), violin pieces such as Nigun, the symphonic Schelomo, and the opera Macbeth. Setting the quality and significance of Bloch's output in its historical and cultural contexts, this book provides scholarly analyses as well as a full chronology, list of online resources, catalogue of published and unpublished works, and selected further reading."

Set up by BFE member Friedlind Riedel, the WAING Research Network aims at promoting transdisciplinary and transnational research in and on music and sound in Myanmar and intends to foster critical discussions among musicians and musicologists, ethnomusicologists, dancers, music historians, sound students, researchers of popular music, music collectors, or sound artists as well as anthropologists, religious scholars, sociologists, journalists, writers, political scientists, or art historians working in Myanmar (including its border regions and satellite communities around the world) with an interest in the sonic and musical.

This network "aims at an inclusive engagement with the audible and vibrational of social and cultural experience, and with it its discourses and practices, politics and atmospheres, institutions and agents, genres and occasions".

Friedlind writes:

On our website you will find information about on-going research and music projects, upcoming events, call for papers, new publications including not yet published theses (Master and PhD) as well as a growing international bibliography of relevant books and articles. Do consider to subscribe to our blog to receive new updates in your inbox right away and follow us on our WAING Facebook page where we share news with you on a more regular basis.

Following our recent call for applications to the BFE Fieldwork Grant Awards scheme, we are delighted to announce that three fieldwork grants have been awarded for 2017. It was a hotly contested competition this year, with a very high standard of applications; but we offer huge congratulations to Sophia Frankford, Pablo Infante-Amate and Katie Young, who are the 2017 grant recipients. Sophia, Pablo and Katie introduce their research projects below, and we look forward to hearing more from them when they return from the field.


Sophia Frankford

My research focuses on Egyptian sha’bi music, a contemporary urban genre that emerged from working-class neighbourhoods in 1970s Cairo. Sha’bi is at once valourised as an antithesis to cosmopolitan genres of the elite, and criticised as an undesirable and backward genre of the uneducated masses. Through tracing the development of the genre from the 1970s to the present day, I plan to examine its role in shaping a working-class Egyptian identity, exploring how it served as an impetus for a reframing of cultural ideals and class stereotypes, and a vital path through which modern identities have been re-imagined.


Pablo Infante-Amate

My project explores the recent birth of a digital music economy in Equatorial Guinea, and how this has been facilitated and hindered by a combination of two key events: the discovery of large oil reserves in the mid-1990s and the introduction of digital technologies starting from the early 21st century. My research will thus bring together the anthropology of oil and the study of digital media in Africa to analyze changing musical practices, aesthetics, and ontologies. My broader goal is to understand how music is a mediator of musicians’ perceptions, expectations, fears, and hopes relating to oil and the digital and neoliberal world order; and how such an approach can help to theorize capitalism, precarity, and uncertainty in Africa and beyond.


Katie Young

My upcoming fieldwork focuses on the influence of Hindi film songs in the Mawlid festival in northern Ghana. Performed by Tijaniyyan Muslims across Chad, The Gambia, Guinea, Mali, Niger, northern Ghana, northern Nigeria and Senegal, the Mawlid festival throughout West Africa includes drumming, dancing and vocal texts used to praise and celebrate the birth of the Prophet Muhammad. In northern Ghana, the majority of the Mawlid repertoire sets Quranic texts to Hindi film song melodies. As Islamic festival performances are strongly influenced by regional musical and linguistic traditions, my fieldwork seeks to explore how Hindi film songs are employed as extra-Islamic music in defining a “localized Islam” in the northern Ghanaian context.




Congratulations to BFE Member Moshe Morad! His latest book 'Fiesta de diez pesos: Music and Gay Identity in Special Period Cuba' (SOAS Musicology Series) is the winner of the 2016 Marcia Herndon Prize, awarded by the Gender and Sexuality Section, SEM.
From the Marcia Herndon Award Committee:
"Morad's 'Fiesta de diez pesos' is a splendid book; a wonderful read, deep in ethnographic detail, and a major contribution to ethnomusicological literature. Well-written, rigorously researched and valuable, giving the lie to the implicit suggestion in so much ethnomusicological work that only heterosexuals make or consume music in those "Other" locales."
One of our senior committee members writes:
"The chapter on 'gay' or 'effeminate' men and their centrality in Santeria worship is something I will add to my syllabi. As the inaugural winner of this new prize, 'Fiesta de diez pesos' exemplifies the highest qualities of writing, ethnography, provocative interpretation, and commitment to political justice."
Moshe adds:
"In perfect timing the book's paperback version just came out by Routledge (making it much more affordable:)..."
Well done Moshe - what a fantastic achievement!