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.

The BFE Student Prize for 2018 recognises an outstanding paper presented by a student at this year’s BFE Annual Conference, hosted by the University of Newcastle, 12-15 April 2018. We are delighted to award the prize to Katie Young (Royal Holloway, University of London) whose paper is described below. We would also like to thank everyone who submitted a paper this year, and all BFE student members are encouraged to submit papers for next year’s conference at the University of Aberdeen in 2019.

Katie Young – ‘“If You Know Arabic, Indian Songs Are Easy For You”: Hindi Film Songs and the mawlid in Tamale, Northern Ghana.’

This very well researched ethnographic paper provides fascinating insights into memory and pedagogy in Hindi film reception in cinema halls post-1957 by African Muslim audiences in Tamale, Northern Ghana. Young examines how modes of listening learned in Qur’anic schools have affected active response to Hindi film in terms of audition and recitation.  The memorisation of both Arabic religious texts and Hindi songs are revealed to have meanings not associated directly with context but rather with the act of sounding and re-sounding these texts. Young’s original primary research undertaken in 2016 and 2017 on the adaptation of Hindi song melodies in Tamale’s Islamic schools demonstrates how mawlid praises in Arabic have been set to well known Hindi film songs, a practice her interviewees describe as natural due to the similarities of the two non-native languages and the timbral and decorative vocal styles of both the call to prayer and Hindi film song performance.

Young makes a powerful contribution to a range of fields including the study of Islam, linguistics, music learning, (post)colonialism, and South-South cultural flows. Most importantly, through this paper Katie Young suggests an innovative approach to ‘listening’ that combines pedagogy with pleasure and religious doctrine with popular culture, in ways that challenge longstanding boundaries within our research fields. The original and imaginative paper brings together a thorough historical account with lively first-hand descriptions, also supported by very illustrative audio-visual extracts.

This paper makes a valuable contribution to the discipline, and is a pleasure to read.


Dr Fiorella Montero-Diaz (Chair BFE Student Prize Panel)

Dr Sue Miller

Dr Ioannis Tsioulakis


Congratulations to BFE member Frances Wilkins, who has released a new book publication in the SOAS Musicology Series called Singing The Gospel Along Scotland's North-East Coast, 1859-2009 (Routledge 2018). This volume will be of interest to anyone with an interest in various aspects of ethnomusicology, including sacred singing traditions, congregational singing, Scottish ethnology, hymnody, group singing. music and revival, history of Scottish music in worship. 

Frances will be officially launching the book during the BFE annual conference in Newcastle in April 2018, and further details about the book (including a link to purchase the volume in both Hardback and eBook formats) follow below. Well done Frances!

Frances Wilkins, Singing The Gospel Along Scotland's North-East Coast, 1859-2009, Routledge, SOAS Musicology Series, 2018

Following three years of ethnomusicological fieldwork on the sacred singing traditions of evangelical Christians in North-East Scotland and Northern Isles coastal communities, Frances Wilkins documents and analyses current singing practices in this book by placing them historically and contemporaneously within their respective faith communities. In ascertaining who the singers were and why, when, where, how and what they chose to sing, the study explores a number of related questions. How has sacred singing contributed to the establishment and reinforcement of individual and group identities both in the church and wider community? What is the process by which specific regional repertoires and styles develop? Which organisations and venues have been particularly conducive to the development of sacred singing in the community? How does the subject matter of songs relate to the immediate environment of coastal inhabitants? How and why has gospel singing in coastal communities changed? 

These questions are answered with comprehensive reference to interview material, fieldnotes, videography and audio field recordings. As one of the first pieces of ethnomusicological research into sacred music performance in Scotland, this ethnography draws important parallels between practices in the North East and elsewhere in the British Isles and across the globe.


Following last year's call for applications to the BFE Fieldwork Grant Awards scheme, we are delighted to announce that a total of four fieldwork grants have been awarded for 2018. Once again, the standard of applications was extremely high. We offer huge congratulations to Sara Selleri, Georgette Nummelin, Gabrielle Messeder and Soosan Lolavar, who are the 2018 grant recipients. The winners introduce their exciting research projects below, and we look forward to hearing more about their work when they return from the field.

Sara Selleri (SOAS, University of London)

My research explores dynamics of inclusion, representation and discrimination in society at large and within higher education music institutions and curricula in Puerto Rico. I look at how music transmission practices and academic institutions can be a product of the socio-cultural background they operate in, and how historically constructed and culturally inherited factors such as internalized colonization, gender discrimination etc. play an important part in determining “which music” or “whose music” is taught and recognized a higher status in academia and society. I’m interested in uncovering where there are correspondences or differentiations in such interrelationships, questioning the repercussions one has on the other in (re)constructing and perpetrating present discriminations of historically excluded groups, both in society and in music.


Gabrielle Messeder (City, University of London)

I'm researching contemporary practices of Brazilian music and dance in Lebanon. Focussing primarily on the genres of samba, bossa nova and música popular brasileira (MPB), I aim to trace their development from the bossa-influenced sound of recordings by Fairouz and Ziad Rahbani in the 1970s to the bands and blocos that perform in Lebanon today. I'll explore the unique, ambivalent and sometimes contested space that the performance of Brazilian music by both Brazilian and non-Brazilian performers occupies in the cosmopolitan Lebanese musical milieu, and discuss how issues of cultural conservatism, exoticism and stereotyping shape the production, performance and reception of Brazilian music and dance in Lebanon today.



Georgette Nummelin (SOAS, University of London)

My project explores how contemporary music can be used to support the maintenance and revitalisation of Ainu language and identity. My fieldwork will take me to Japan to engage with professional and amateur performers and composers, and with the diverse audiences that engage with the music. Additionally, I will be engaging with Ainu language learners of both Ainu and non-Ainu heritage. The aim of my research is to draw on these participants’ experience of learning, creating and performing contemporary Ainu identity through music and language, and to document how these practices can affect the revitalisation of cultural traditions and the Ainu language.





Soosan Lolavar (City, University of London)

My research brings together the methodologies of composition and ethnomusicology to explore a new movement in music in Iran in which musicians and composers combine aspects of Iranian classical music with ideas more commonly associated with Western music. My work will present both a written ethnography and portfolio of compositions considering the creative, social and political effects of drawing from these two forms, particularly against the backdrop of a post-revolutionary Iran in which objects of Western culture are often associated with the imperialism and colonialism. 

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."