Exciting news! As part of implementation of a new and comprehensive integrated website and membership system to be rolled out in stages, we need to migrate the website. This starts from Wednesday the 24th of February, and although the website will be back very shortly, there will be temporary inconvenience for users who want to log in to the Members section. Please accept our apologies, we will be communicating further to keep you informed of the progress. This move will bring substantial long-term benefits both for the organisation and the membership.
22 Feb 2016
2016 BFE Committee Elections – Student Liaison
The British Forum for Ethnomusicology is seeking nominations for the position of ‘Student Liaison’ on the BFE committee. This is an important position in the organisation, providing a valuable link to our student membership while offering significant professional experience to the successful candidate.
It is expected that you are a current BFE member, a graduate student resident in the U.K. (preferably undertaking a PhD), and that your term will last for two years from April 2016.
In order to stand for election you must be nominated by a BFE member (other than yourself) and your nomination must also be seconded by another BFE member.
- attending 2-3 BFE committee meetings each year;
- staying in email contact with the committee;
- liaising between the student membership and the BFE committee;
- helping to organise the annual BFE/RMA graduate student conference (this involves attending 3 conference committee meetings and the conference itself each year)
- helping to organise other events;
- liaising with student representatives from other learned societies;
- sourcing and updating information on the BFE website about ethnomusicology provision in UK higher education.
The role averages approximately two hours per week, though some times are substantially busier than others. All positions on the BFE committee are on a voluntary basis but related expenses such as travel are paid by the BFE or the local arrangements committee of the BFE/RMA graduate student conference.
If you wish to stand for election you must send a proposal of no more than a single side of A4, which will be forwarded to the BFE membership prior to online voting. The proposal should include:
- your name;
- your institution;
- the names of two BFE members, one who has agreed to nominate you and one who has agreed to second the nomination;
- a statement outlining why you think you are the right person for the position of ‘Student Liaison.’
It is recommended that applicants not be absent from the country for long periods during the time in post. However, if any significant absences due to fieldwork etc. are foreseen, please provide details of how duties will be carried out during this time. If the liaison is unable to see to responsibilities personally during the term, the appointed student liaison would be expected to find a deputy.
Nominations must be emailed to the BFE Chair, Barley Norton (chairbfe.org.uk) by midnight on Monday 7 March.
Should you have any enquiries, please email the current Student Liaison, Lyndsey Hoh (Lyndsey.hohmusic.ox.ac.uk) about the role, or our administrator Fiorella Montero Diaz (adminbfe.org.uk) regarding the application process.
1 Feb 2016
The BFE recently launched a Fieldwork Grants Scheme to support the fieldwork of doctoral researchers in ethnomusicology. We are delighted to announce that three fieldwork grants have been awarded under the 2016 Scheme. Many congratulations to Tamara Turner, Saeid Kordmafi and Maya Youssef, who are the first grant recipients. Tamara, Saeid and Maya introduce their research projects below and we look forward to hearing more when they are back from the field.
My research provides the first ethnomusicological study of Algerian diwan, a music ritual tradition that coalesced out of the trans-Saharan slave trade through the segregation of displaced sub-Saharan populations. These communities were heavily influenced by the local religious practices and socio-political organization of Sufi lineages. Consequently, diwan developed into a syncretic, Afro-Maghrebi ritual practice predicated on saint veneration, trance, and ritual healing. I approach diwan by attending to the "heavy lifting" that music does in ritual and consider the dynamics of music and transe though the agency of public emotionality and the aesthetics of illness and healing.
The project proposes a descriptive theory emerging out of what classical Arab musicians currently do in their metric practice. I plan to carry out ethnomusicological fieldwork in Beirut to examine library-based studies and musicological analyses of metric materials of the classical repertoire. Moreover, working with musicians and scholars, I will be seeking a deeper understanding of their theoretical approaches to the rhythmic-metric system, as well as the ways which metric cycles are perceived by musicians.
In a time of deep suffering for my homeland, Syria, words have fallen short of offering refugee children a way to touch on and come to peace with what they have seen and witnessed. Music stands out amongst all mediums in its ability to go to the heart of human emotion. I will take my kanun, my music and a story on fieldwork trips to the refugee camps in Germany, Lebanon and Denmark, where I will facilitate workshops in the hope of bringing an opportunity for these children to begin a process of healing whilst also contributing to the humanist line in ethnomusicology.
The main tasks of the Conference Liaison Co-Officer include:
- Being responsible for organizing specific BFE conferences, study days and other events in conjunction with the other Conference Liaison Officer (post currently held by Dr Byron Dueck) and local conference arrangement committees.
- Contributing proactively to BFE strategies and initiatives, especially in regard to conference activities and the BFE conference handbook.
- Providing oral reports on conference activities at BFE committee meetings (2-3 BFE Committee meetings are held each year).
- Contributing to the written report on past conference activities as part of the annual Chair’s Report.
- Engaging in regular email communication with the Committee.
Please email an expression of interest with a brief CV to B.Nortongold.ac.uk by FRIDAY 12 FEBRUARY 2016. The Conference Liaison Co-Officer would be a member of the BFE Committee and the standard term of service is three years. Once expressions of interest are received it will be necessary for candidates to stand for election to the Committee.
Chair, British Forum For Ethnomusicology
In all these contexts, Morad draws the reader into vibrant experiential accounts of the use of music and dance by gay men that open up interlocking meanings and functions of performance, performativity, gender and sexuality. Working in the period from the 1990s, the book explores the rapid economic, social and cultural changes in Cuba arising in response to the crisis following the loss of support from the Soviet Union. One such development is the opening up of the country to tourism, with the book growing from an initial visit by the author in 1994.
Fiesta de diez pesos is both a distinguished contribution to the ethnomusicological literature on sexuality, and an outstanding example of ethnographic fieldwork that is warm, human, engaged, unpretentiously reflexive, and strikingly perceptive. It is informative and compelling, and succeeds in analysing its subjects and their musical behaviour in close detail, but without ever othering them.
Congratulations to Hettie Malcomson (University of Southampton) whose article ‘Aficionados, Academics, and Danzón Expertise: Exploring Hierarchies in Popular Music Knowledge Production’ (Ethnomusicology, 2014) received a special mention for the Bruno Nettl Prize at the 60th annual meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology in Austin, Texas. The purpose of the Bruno Nettl Prize is ‘to recognize an outstanding publication contributing to or dealing with the history of the field of ethnomusicology, or with the general character, problems, and methods of ethnomusicology’.
The abstract of the article reads as follows: Amateur scholars, such as aficionados, fans, intellectuals, are rarely valued in the twenty-first-century academy, despite their often-encyclopedic knowledge. In this paper, I focus on Mexican aficionados of the popular Cuban music danzón to explore how these mostly older men manage social contexts where they are often marginalized. Drawing on Bourdieu, I examine how danzón aficionados negotiate their field of expertise by employing overlapping strategies: accumulating myriad “facts” and “truths”, creating the possibility of ignorance in others, and competing for hegemonic masculine capital. I analyse danzón aficionados’ relationships with musicians and dancers, consider power dynamics between these aficionados and academics, and draw on Léon and Romero to discuss relationships between regional and hegemonic scholarship more broadly. I argue that beyond reflexivity and criticism, collective activism is required to reconfigure value systems and symbolic economies, and to fight institutional pressures to reproduce existing power structures.
By Liam Barnard, lab43kent.ac.uk
2015 marks the 10th Anniversary of the foundation of the Arts and Humanities Research Council and its predecessor, the AHRB. As part of the commemorations, the Anniversary Research in Film Awards were held to great fanfare in the plush surroundings of the BFI South Bank on the 12th November, where delegates from across academia and beyond were gratefully wined and dined. Out of a field of over 200 entries, BFE stalwart, SOAS Ethnomusicologist and Radio 3 broadcaster Lucy Duran’s film, ‘The Voice of Tradition” triumphed in what was probably the most prestigious of the five categories, claiming the ‘Anniversary Award for Best AHRC/AHRB-Funded Film Since 1998’. Although Lucy was not able to attend the awards ceremony in person to collect the not insubstantial glass trophy, the applause suggested that hers was a popular winner. The evening proved to underline the AHRC’s commitment to the wider field of ethnographic documentary, with Anna Sowa’s gorgeously shot film, ‘Kanraxel: The Confluence of Agnack’ taking home the title of ‘Best Research Film In the Last Year’, a double endorsement for SOAS.
Other award winners included Northumbria University Jacqueline Donache’s ‘Hazel’, picking up ‘The Doctoral Award’, the entertaining animation ‘The Adventure of the Girl with the Light Blue Hair’ earning Ronan Deazley and Bartolomeo Meletti from Create University of Glasgow ‘The Innovation Award’ for best film in the last year, and the public award of ‘Inspiration Award’ for best film inspired by Arts and Humanities Research was awarded to Myriam Rey’s ‘This Island’s Mine’.
The success of ethnographic documentary films with exotic locations and the resultant first class cinematography in this competition should bring some comfort to those of us who work and train as ethnomusicologists, worried by the squeeze in funding for research into the Arts and Humanities in general. Hopefully this interest in supporting ethnographic inquiry will guarantee the place of ethnomusicology in the pantheon of AHRC funding commitments beyond the near future.
All in all, a fantastic evening of quality film, quality networking, and a genuinely friendly party atmosphere was had by all. Let’s raise a glass to the next ten years and indeed, beyond…
Congratulations to Noel Lobley who began a tenure-track position as Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Virginia. Also, many congratulations to Noel for being invited to give the RAI Curl Lecture 2015. Great achievement Noel!
Congratulations to Fiorella Montero Diaz who in September took up a position as Lecturer in Music at Keele University. Many congratulations!
Hindi films and film songs have dominated Indian public culture, and have made their presence felt strongly in many global contexts. While the existence of songs in Hindi films is commonly dismissed as ‘purely commercial’, this book demonstrates that in terms of the production process, musical style, and commercial life, the parent film powerfully shapes and defines the film songs and their success. Analyzing Hindi film songs in cinematic context, Anna Morcom reveals that they are situational, dramatic sequences, inherently visual and multi-media in their style and conception - pop songs conjoined with cinema.
This book is uniquely grounded in a wealth of ethnographic material from the Hindi film and music industries as well as detailed musical and visual analysis of Hindi film songs, song sequences, and films. Its findings lead to highly novel ways of viewing Hindi film songs, their key role in Hindi cinema, and how this affects their wider life in India and across the globe. With a new preface updating the reader on recent developments, this book will remain indispensable to scholars seeking to understand Hindi film songs, Hindi cinema, and Indian popular music more broadly. The book caters for both music specialists as well as a wider audience.
11 Oct 2015
BFE Fieldwork Grants
The British Forum for Ethnomusicology (BFE) is pleased to announce the launch of a fieldwork grant scheme.
Purpose of the Grants
The BFE Fieldwork Grants are intended to support doctoral candidates conducting ethnomusicological field research in the UK and abroad through making a contribution towards the costs of travel and subsistence. Up to 3 grants collectively totalling up to £1500 will be awarded for the 2016 scheme.
The BFE Fieldwork Grants scheme is open to all students enrolled on a PhD programme at a university in the UK who are conducting ethnomusicological research. Applicants must also be a student member of the BFE at the time of application for the scheme. Only one application per person is permitted and fieldwork must start during 2016.
The criteria of evaluation are: the quality, originality and significance of the research and its potential contribution to ethnomusicological knowledge, theory and debate; the feasibility and importance of the fieldwork for achieving the stated research aims and outcomes; the need of the applicant, i.e. the likelihood of the applicant being unable to obtain fieldwork funding from other sources. There is no preference for particular geographical areas or topics.
To make an application, the following should be submitted:
- A letter addressing the grant criteria. The letter should also provide a clear indication of: the fieldwork schedule; the expected costs; the amount of funding requested from the BFE scheme; and other sources of research funding received and/or applied for. The letter must not exceed 2 pages in length.
- A short CV, not exceeding 1 page in length.
- A short reference letter, not exceeding 1 page in length, in support of the application from the applicant’s PhD supervisor.
Applications must be sent in electronic form by email to Barley Norton, Chair of the British Forum for Ethnomusicology at: b.nortongold.ac.uk. Supervisors may wish to send their reference letter by email directly to the Chair.
Application Deadline and Decision Notification
Applications must be submitted by email by the end of Friday 11 December 2015. Applications will be evaluated by a BFE panel and applicants will be informed of the outcome of the awards by Monday 18 January 2016. The decision of the panel is final, and the BFE regrets that it is unable to provide feedback on applications and decisions made by the panel.
Payment of Grants for Successful Applications
Successful applicants must liaise with the BFE Treasurer (bfetreasurergmail.com) before grants are disbursed. Payment will be made via bank transfer.
Successful applicants are requested to submit a short fieldwork report – up to 500 words in length, accompanied by other media materials if appropriate – within 3 months after the completion of the fieldwork. Fieldwork reports are likely to be made public on the BFE website, social media etc. Grant awardees may also be requested to do a short presentation about their fieldwork at BFE meetings such as the AGM. Any publications resulting from the fieldwork should acknowledge receipt of a BFE Fieldwork Grant.
30 Sep 2015
Edited by Jim Samson, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK and Nicoletta Demetriou, Wolfson College, University of Oxford, UK (Ashgate, October 2015)
Music in Cyprus draws its authors from both sides of the divided island to give a rounded picture of musical culture from the beginning of the British colonial period (1878-1960) until today. The book crosses conventional scholarly divides between musicology and ethnomusicology in order to achieve a panorama of music, culture and politics. It is the first book to consider the different kinds of music found in Cyprus, and the first one to include Greek Cypriot, Turkish Cypriot, and international scholars.
For more information click here.