EthNoise!

The Music, Language, and Culture Workshop

January 14, 2021
by Varshini
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EthNoise! presents Classical Music in the Time of COVID-19

Welcome back to Winter Quarter! Join us tonight at 5:00 pm for a panel presentation discussing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the classical music world. We’ll be hearing from:

Audrey Slote: “Sounding Resilience: Freelance Musicians in the Time of COVID-19”
 
Melani Shahin: “Rehearsing Together Alone: An Examination of Virtually Mediated Music-Making and Socialization in College Orchestras during the COVID-19 Pandemic”
The COVID-19 pandemic presents unique challenges for performers and scholars of music. Restrictions on travel and gatherings have led to necessary adaptations in the ways we produce and consume music, particularly classical music. Many classical musicians face an unprecedented level of precarity in their careers. Yet for many of us, music and the arts feel more essential than ever before. The resilience and determination of performing musicians to continue making and sharing their art stands out against a bleak backdrop of uncertainty and isolation.
We look forward to seeing you tonight!

December 3, 2020
by Varshini
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EthNoise! presents Dr. Philip V. Bohlman

Please join us this evening at 5:00 pm for the final EthNoise! of the fall quarter!
 
“Forgetting, Forgetting, Forgetting: Recording the Wounded Dialectic in Heiner Müller and Heiner Goebbels’s Wolokolamsker Chaussee
The teaching piece (Lehrstück) and radio play, Wolokolamsker Chaussee (Volokolamsk Highway), was created by the East German playwright, Heiner Müller, in the waning years of the Cold War. Müller had long collaborated with the West German composer, Heiner Goebbels, so it was hardly surprising that they should again work together to transform the radio play into a recording that would be broadcast during the months of transition from the Fall of the Wall to German reunification (1989–90). Recordings of the performances, made at different radio stations in the West and East, were engineered by the ECM recording studio and released as an LP that metaphorically sounded the healing and further collapse of modern German and European identities. It is the ECM recording itself—a passing record of history—that is the subject of a new monograph by Phil Bohlman in the Bloomsbury series dedicated to reflections on single popular-music albums, “33 1/3.” The recording itself raises multiple ontological questions about the nature of a musical and dramatic work that exists only as a recording, sutured together from multiple fragments of text, narratives, and genres of music. Reimagined in traditional epic style, Wolokolamsker Chaussee is a parable of modernity and the violence it brings to history and humankind.
Hannah Judd, a PhD student in ethnomusicology, will serve as the respondent. You can join us on Zoom (password: modern). We look forward to seeing you then!

November 12, 2020
by Varshini
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EthNoise! presents Dr. Elliott H. Powell

This evening, EthNoise is excited to welcome Dr. Elliott H. Powell for a presentation on his recent publication, Sounds from the Other Side: Afro-South Asian Collaborations in Black Popular Music.

Elliott H. Powell is a Beverly and Richard Fink Professor in Liberal Arts and Associate Professor of American Studies and Asian American Studies at the University of Minnesota. He is an interdisciplinary scholar of U.S. popular music, race, sexuality, and politics. His first book brings together critical race, feminist, and queer theories to consider the political implications of African American and South Asian collaborative music-making practices in U.S.-based Black Popular Music since the 1960s. In particular, the project investigates these cross-cultural exchanges in relation to larger global and domestic sociohistorical junctures that linked African American and South Asian diasporic communities, and argues that these Afro-South Asian cultural productions constitute dynamic, complex, and at times contradictory sites of comparative racialization, transformative gender and queer politics, and anti-imperial political alliances.

Dr. Powell will be in conversation with Thalea Stokes, a Ph.D. Candidate in Ethnomusicology at the University of Chicago.

You can join us tonight at 5:00pm on Zoom (password: miles).

November 5, 2020
by Varshini
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EthNoise! presents “Fieldwork Adaptations in the COVID-19 Era”

Take a break from refreshing the news and join us tonight at 5:00 pm for a panel presentation on the contemporary challenges and possibilities of ethnographic fieldwork. We’ll be hearing from:

Fiona Boyd: “Negotiating Curatorial and Artistic Relevance through Performance and Space on NPR’s Tiny Desk and Tiny Desk (Home) Concert Series”

Erol Koymen: “Ethnography in Distinctive Virtual Spaces: The 2020 Istanbul Music Festival”

How have music scholars’ research questions and methodologies had to adapt in light of the current pandemic? What new possibilities are afforded by socially-distant approaches to musicking, and what new tools and resources become available or necessary? How has the role of the ethnographer changed in its transition to the virtual realm? Join us on Zoom (password: fieldwork) for a lively discussion of the contemporary moment and its implications for our work as scholars.

October 5, 2020
by Varshini
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EthNoise! SEM Dry-Runs Thursday, October 8

Welcome back to the 2020-21 academic year! This year, EthNoise! is meeting entirely online via Zoom. We kicked off our EthNoise! season early with two summer sessions, where we heard from several of the students who will be presenting at this year’s Society for Ethnomusicology annual conference. This Thursday, join us for the final round of dry-runs, where we’ll be hearing from:

Joseph Maurer: “Nonprofit Organizations, Music, and Heritage in Immigrant Chicago”
David Wilson: “Diplomatic Dances: Ideology and Reception in the Shanghai Ballet’s 1977 Canadian Tour”
You can find the Zoom link here (password: SEM3). A brief note that this session will be recorded. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns before then, and we look forward to seeing you!

November 15, 2019
by dfwilson
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Jun Lee presents on post-War Japanese singing traditions on Nov. 21

For the final EthNoise of the quarter, we are excited to welcome back history PhD candidate Jun Lee to present “Dual History of Utagoe: The Cases of Utagoe Kissa, 1995 to the Present.” Jun will be presenting the introduction to the final section of his dissertation, and will discuss the link between Utagoe, a mass singing movement in post-War Japan, and commercial coffeehouses that provide a space to perform this movement’s repertoire. The chapter he is presenting can be found here. The password is Utagoe.

Jun Hee Lee is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at the University of Chicago. His doctoral dissertation, titled “A Singing Voice for Our Times: the Utagoe Movement in Postwar Japan and Processes of History-Making,” follows two musical phenomena in post-World War II Japan: Nihon no Utagoe (Singing Voice of Japan), a singing movement that has maintained varying degrees of relationship with the Japan Communist Party, labor unions, socialist states, and musical professionals; utagoe kissa (“singing voice café”), a singing venue where patrons could sing songs together with instrumental accompaniment, whose repertoire included songs born from or introduced by the Utagoe movement.

October 10, 2019
by dfwilson
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Alumnus Chun-Bin Chen to present in EthNoise!

EthNoise! is thrilled be collaborating with the Arts and Politics of East Asia workshop to welcome Professor Chun-Bin Chen of Taipei National University of the Arts to present on his current research, “Highway Nine Musical Stories: Musicking of Taiwanese Aborigines at Home and in the National Concert Hall.”

 

Abstract:

Taking “On the Road,” a musical theater production of Taiwan’s National Theater and Concert Hall as an example, this paper deals with musical modernity of Taiwanese Aborigines. Premiered in 2010, “On the Road” was a collaboration between Taiwan National Symphony Orchestra and Puyuma Aboriginal musicians from Nanwang Village. Located on the southeast coast of Taiwan, this village is connected with the National Concert Hall by Highway Nine, at a distance of about 230 miles. Beneath the simple plot of the musical about how a Han-Taiwanese musician brought the Aboriginal musicians to perform at the Hall, there seems to be another story being narrated through the performance of the songs. This hidden story is an Aboriginal musical story spanning the time from the period of Japanese colonial rule (1895-1945) to recent years when Aboriginal musicians have achieved recognition in Taiwan’s music industry. By examining how the songs were composed and how they were performed at the both ends of Highway Nine, I aim to trace trajectories of contemporary Puyuma Aboriginal music. The trajectories indicate impacts of the Japanese school song education, assimilation policies of Japanese and Chinese governments, and the Modern Folksong Movement. The Aborigines’ musicking, however, demonstrates a form of aboriginality celebrating family values and indigenous identity as a response to the musical modernity related to the settler impacts. This study thus may help us understand how socio-cultural interactions between the Aborigines and settlers shape contemporary Aboriginal music and how the Aborigines create, convey and perceive its meanings through musicking.

 

Professor Chen earned his PhD in 2007 from the University of Chicago ethnomusicology department, where his dissertation was titled “Voices of Double Marginality: Music, Body, and Mind of Taiwanese Aborigines in the Post-Modern Era.”

October 10, 2019
by dfwilson
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First EthNoise! of 2019-2020 AY

On October 3rd, EthNoise! was pleased to welcome ethnomusicology doctoral students Varshini Narayanan and Jacob Secor, who presented on their summer fieldwork. This was an exciting opportunity to learn about research interests of current students in the department, to discuss questions of fieldwork methodology and data organization, and to meet new members of the department and community!

May 7, 2019
by Jon
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EthNoise! To Meet This Thursday, May 9

Dear all,

I’m writing to remind you that EthNoise! will meet this Thursday, May 9, from 5-6:20 pm in Rosenwald 301. Our presenter will be Dr. Anna Schultz, the newest faculty member in ethnomusicology in the Department of Music. Dr. Schultz will be presenting “Rehearing the Past: Identity and Indenture in Indian Guyanese Music,” an abstract for which appears below. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out before then if you have any questions at all. I look forward to seeing you soon!

Sincerely,

Jon Bullock

“Rehearing the Past: Identity and Indenture in Indian Guyanese Music”

150 years after the end of indenture in the British Caribbean, its spectre lingers in the music of East Indians in Guyana and twice-diasporic Indian Guyanese people in North America. For many Indian Guyanese performers, the past is a reminder of indenture’s traumas, while for others, it is painful for its erasures, for the cultural disruptions wrought of forced and coerced relocation. For still others, the past is an embarrassing site of rural stereotypes. Political theorists have emphasized the role of tradition and historical imagination in nationalist formations, but how do Indian Caribbeans construct nationalist and diasporic identities when the past is so fraught? In this talk—with examples drawn from YouTube slideshows, U.S. Guyanese Hindu temple performance, and current chutney-soca hits—I argue that Indian Guyanese performers adopt a range of musical strategies to re-imagine a past shaped by indenture. Through creative recontextualization and remediation, singers transform trauma into heritage, they rob stereotypes of their power, and they look to India when Caribbean pasts prove too painful.

April 29, 2019
by Jon
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EthNoise! To Meet This Thursday, May 2, at 5 PM

Dear all,

After several weeks off, EthNoise! will resume our more regular workshop schedule beginning this Thursday, May 2, at 5 PM. We will meet in Rosenwald 301, and the speaker will be Dr. Kaley Mason, former UChicago faculty and Assistant Professor of Music and Area Coordinator for World Music at Lewis & Clark College. Dr. Mason will be presenting “Mollywood at the Borderlands: A Song of South Indian Solidarity with Latinidad,” an abstract for which is included below.
“The people of Southwestern India have experienced widespread economic emigration since the Malayalam-speaking state of Kerala was formed in 1956. After electing India’s first communist government in 1957, Kerala’s strong unions discouraged investment in industry, which prompted many workers to seek economic opportunities abroad. As a result, nearly every family has an archive of stories about migration and encounter, themes that have figured prominently in the region’s film industry, Mollywood. Until recently, the cinema focused on migration to the Middle East, but the 2017 film, Comrade in America, portrays a young Indian communist leader who travels to Nicaragua to join others on a journey to the Mexico-US border. Drawing on conversations with the film makers, this paper will examine the repurposing of a popular communist anthem to express solidarity with asylum seekers and refugees against the backdrop of the Trump Administration’s anti-immigration policies.”
Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns, and I look forward to seeing you on Thursday!
Sincerely,
Jon Bullock